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The Aliveness Project and Walgreens offering free testing on National HIV Testing Day

1-in-7 people infected don't know they have the disease. In Communities that KARE, we're highlighting a local nonprofit offering free innovative testing.

MINNEAPOLIS — While the world focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic, The Aliveness Project wants you to know about another health crisis.

"Unfortunately, Minnesota is living through an unprecedented HIV outbreak," said executive director Matt Toburen. "We have the knowledge and the tools to end HIV in Minnesota; this is unacceptable."  

The south Minneapolis-based nonprofit serves thousands of people living with HIV, helping with everything from housing to food and basic needs.

"One of the most important and critical things that we can do is get people tested so that they know their status," said Toburen.

That's why the Aliveness Project, Walgreens, and Greater Than AIDS are teaming up for free and confidential testing at three Minneapolis locations:

  • Walgreens - 4323 Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Walgreens - 4547 Hiawatha Avenue, Minneapolis, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 
  • The Aliveness Project - 3808 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

"It's just a finger prick. We draw a little blood. The test itself takes about one minute. Results [are] on the spot," said Joe Franco, the prevention manager at The Aliveness Project.

Counselors are also on-site to help anyone with a positive result. 

"We will help you get linked to care; we will do everything with you. We'll take all of the steps with you," Franco emphasized.

That also includes finding the proper medication.

PrEP is a drug The Aliveness Project is excited about. "It's transforming our fight in preventing and ending HIV in Minnesota," explained Turben. 

He also said the nonprofit is offering the drug for free. "In order to get as many people at high risk on PrEP and to keep people healthy, and we are doing that at no cost," said Toburen. 

"HIV is not a death sentence. All we have to do is get you on medication and make sure you make it to your doctor on a regular basis, and you can live a healthy life," added Franco.

If someone feels uncomfortable going out to get tested, the Aliveness Project says to give them a call.  They can mail you an at-home test that can give you results in 20 minutes.

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