Boone County Department of Public Health to expand HIV testing hours

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COLUMBIA - In honor of National HIV Testing Day, Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services will expand their HIV testing hours on Monday. 

"Knowing your status is incredibly important to limiting the spread of HIV and AIDS, so taking the opportunity to go out and get tested, especially when it's free, especially when we're expanding the hours to get tested is incredibly important," Public Information Officer Andrea Waner said. 

The department will host free HIV testing on Monday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Usually, the department hosts free HIV tests on Mondays between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. and Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

"It's all about encouraging people to get tested and removing the barriers to testing so it could be no one could come in at that time or they could come later in the day. So expanding hours and making sure people know that we're available all day and the testing is free, sometimes setting up an event on a national day encourages people come out and get tested," Waner said.

According to Waner, 12,134 people in Missouri are living with HIV with 236 of them living in Boone County as of June 2015.

"We know that number can seem small in retrospect, but we also know that we don't want that number to increase at all so we want to provide that utmost opportunities for people to come in and get tested," Waner said.