Free HIV Testing in Oklahoma

Free and low-cost testing locations near you.

Oklahoma is a U.S state in the south-central region of the Country. In terms of area, Oklahoma is the 20th biggest state and 28th most populated state. The state has a total population of 3.957 million, with a majority of white Americans. For the last few decades, HIV/AIDS has been a cause of significant concern for health experts in the state. The virus was first discovered in Congo in the 1950s but found its way to the United States in 1981. It is estimated that around 35 million people worldwide have died because of HIV/AIDS. Compared to the rest of the Country's states, Oklahoma has a relatively higher number of HIV/AIDS.

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Why Does Testing Matter?

HIV is a severe and life-threatening condition that can affect people of all genders, ages, races, and sexual orientations. In 2018, 1,039,680 adults and adolescents were living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, and during the same year, 37,864 people were newly diagnosed with HIV.

A prolonged and undiagnosed HIV can lead to severe complications like AIDS, which is life-threatening. If the virus is diagnosed in the early stages, people can live long, healthy and happy lives. Taking an HIV test is the only way to know if you have contracted the virus. The virus stays silent upon entering the human body, and the symptoms of the virus and AIDS can take a lot of time to develop, so it is essential to get tested for HIV even if you are feeling alright.

The virus spreads quickly, and the modes of transmission are through bodily fluids like semen and blood. This means that the most common ways to contract HIV is through unprotected sexual contact or using syringes and needles. Since the transmission of the virus is easy and spreads rapidly, CDC recommends individuals of all ages and genders get tested for HIV at least once during their lifetime. In cases of individuals belonging to the risk groups and those living with HIV, populated areas should include HIV testing as a part of their annual routine.

Knowing your HIV status is the only way to start early treatment and protect others from contracting the disease. According to CDC, one out of every seven HIV positive individuals is not aware of their HIV status. Around 40% of the newly diagnosed cases usually come from people who aren't aware of HIV positive. Therefore, getting tested for HIV is the only way to keep yourself healthy and your loved ones safe.

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HIV Rates in Oklahoma

According to the state health profile of Oklahoma by the Centers for Diseases Control, 2015, an estimated number of 39,393 people in the United States were newly diagnosed with HIV. According to the same report in 2015, a total of 319 adults and adolescents were newly diagnosed with HIV in Oklahoma alone. CDC ranked Oklahoma as the 27th state having the highest number of HIV diagnoses in the Country.

The Centers for Diseases Control further reported that in 2015, the state had a total of 319 newly diagnosed cases in both adults and adolescents. CDC has ranked Oklahoma as the 27th state for having the highest number of HIV positive individuals. According to the report from AIDSVu, in 2018, the number of cases in the state had slightly reduced, and the total number of new diagnoses in the state was estimated at 280. AIDSVu report indicates that in 2018 a total number of 6244 people were living with HIV/AIDS in the Country. In the same year, 280 individuals, both adults and adolescents, were newly diagnosed with HIV in Oklahoma.

According to the HIV epidemic plan by the government of Oklahoma, comparing the stats from 2013 to 2017, there has been a 12% decrease in the newly diagnosed cases of HIV in the state. Of the total numbers of diagnoses, male residents accounted for 84% of the new cases, while 16% of the cases were from females.

HIV Initiatives in Oklahoma

The State of Oklahoma has launched a program with two primary goals. One goal is to connect the newly diagnosed people with HIV to the HIV care providers within two weeks of the diagnosis and ensure that the individuals from the risk groups who were still HIV negative have access to a daily pill called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV. The diagnosed patients with HIV would be given expedited linkages to medications, lab testing's, counselling and case management.

Rain Oklahoma is one of the nonprofit organizations working in the state to serve and support individuals and communities affected by HIV/AIDS. This organization provides primary medical care for HIV patients, HIV testing facilities, and housing to low-income HIV affected individuals. Rain Oklahoma also creates awareness regarding the virus and provides education and outreach services.

Ryan White Plan B and AIDS drugs and assistance program, ADAP, are two federal initiatives that help HIV positive individuals belonging to the low-income groups by providing essential medication, case management, financial assistance and housing. These programs also fund several other organizations to provide counselling to the patients and their families.

Age, Gender and Ethnic Disparities

According to the HIV epidemic plan for Oklahoma, comparing the data from 2017 to 2019, there was a decrease in the newly diagnosed cases of HIV in the state. As per the report, male’s cases were 84%, while 16% were females. Individuals from the Hispanic background experienced an increase of 104% from the total newly diagnosed cases. The Lawton Metropolitan area of Oklahoma had an increase of 117% in the newly diagnosed cases.

According to the data from AIDSVu, there were 280 people newly diagnosed with HIV in Oklahoma in 2018. Of the total number of newly diagnosed cases, 81.8% were males, and 18.2% were females. White Americans accounted for 42.9%, 17.1% of the newly diagnosed cases were reported from Hispanic and Latin background people, while 21.1% were Black Americans living in Oklahoma. On average, most cases were reported in people of the age group, 25 to 34 years (35%).

Data from the same report indicated 63 HIV related deaths in Oklahoma, while the rate of death per 100,000 population was calculated at 2. The most popular modes of transmission of the virus in males were male to male sexual contact (80.3%), followed by 4.8% from heterosexual contact and 7.4% from contaminated syringe use. In female categories, heterosexual contact accounted for 72.5% of the spread, while 27.5% of the cases were reported due to contaminated needles use.

References

Reviewed by Debby R, MD. Last updated on Jan 13, 2022

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