City Health Commissioner Vickie Ionno declared that Ohio’s New Philadelphia City Health District’s free HIV testing program has been going extremely well. Offered since March 1, 2012, the program tested more than125 people last year, with no one testing positive. So far in 2013, the program has tested 97 people, with only one person testing positive. CDC has recommended that everyone be tested, particularly baby boomers.
The health district’s program also has been testing Tuscarawas County Jail inmates for HIV, a first for the city as well as the county. The county jail began testing on January 3. Health officials conduct the tests the first and third Thursday morning of each month, and have tested approximately 40 persons so far. Ionno noted that the program tests only inmates who volunteer. She commented on the importance of the inmates’ testing, since incarcerated persons often take part in risky behaviors—tattooing and intravenous drug use—in unsterile environments. Ionno commended Lt. Jeremy Everett of the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Department for his cooperation in making the program possible for inmates. The program keeps all testing and results confidential.
The Canton City Health Department funded the free testing through the Ohio Department of Health. Last year, Ionno applied for and obtained a grant for the free testing.