BOISE -- Saturday is World AIDS Day. It's meant to raise awareness to those who are fighting the disease and honor those who lost their lives. Part of that, a Boise a non-profit is offering free HIV-AIDS tests.
HIV/AIDS is an issue and a discussion that a lot of people just don't want to have. But today people are having that conversation, hoping to not only raise awareness, but save some lives as well.
Inside a small second hand store near 10th and Bannock in Boise, Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS, or A.L.P.H.A, has one mission.
To test and to educate, said Scott Weisenberger, a volunteer coordinator for A.L.P.H.A.
Scott Weisenberger is talking about AIDS and HIV.
It's still a big problem, that's why we're here. We're here to test and make sure everybody is educated, said Weisenberger.
That's why he offers free testing at his office everyday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., but Saturday, they took it to another level.
I'm here to support A.L.P.H.A.'s efforts in trying to reach out to people who don't know their status regarding HIV, said Judy Thorne.
Judy Thorne works for Idaho State University's Meridian Health Science Campus - she also does rapid HIV-AIDS tests.
That's why we're out here, we want to talk about it. We want it to be an open dialog with everyone, and everyone should know their status, said Thorne.
The latest numbers Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show, nationwide, there are 50 thousand new HIV infections every year, with 26 percent of them coming from 13 to 24 year olds, and 72 percent coming from gay and bisexual men.
We have to do a better job of talking to our young people about how to protect themselves and make good decisions in life, said Thorne.
Thorne says currently, there are 1,366 Idahoans are known to have the disease. National statistics suggest another 20 percent on top of that number carry the disease. That's why Thorne is asking people to take this simple test, with on-the-spot results.
We are considered a low prevalent state, so one, we think we certainly need to do more testing to assure that's the case, and then if it is the case, and we know that, let's keep our numbers low, said Thorne.
If you weren't able to make it out today to either A.L.P.H.A. or were able to run into this mobile unit and you still want to get tested for HIV/AIDS, there are other opportunities. You can find those by clicking here, or here.
Boise State also offers free testing every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. And at most pharmacies, you can even buy a take-home kit that costs about $40.