HIV PLUS Magazine: Virginia Activist Provides Free HIV Tests to Teens, Angers Some Officials

Full article: Virginia Activist Provides Free HIV Tests to Teens, Angers Some Officials |


JUNE 10 2013 4:18 PM ET

For John Chittick, providing teens with free, over-the-counter HIV testing kits is a no-brainer. “I see the greater good as getting the tests done,” the leader of TeenAIDS-PeerCorps told The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk.

Last October, his Norfolk-based AIDS education group started a testing effort using home test kits approved last summer by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The oral swab tests, OK’d for people age 17 and older, provide results in 20 minutes. With tests readily available, Chittick and his volunteers go out on public streets and in city parks, talking to teens and young adults.

What’s more, he invites the media along and equips the volunteers from TeenAIDS-PeerCorps with cameras.

Chittick has tested about 50 people — two testing positive for HIV, one with a false positive — and many of these have been caught on camera. But officials in some cities have objected to Chittick’s effort, worrying about the consequences of media exposure and the public availability of test results.

Two weeks ago Virginia Beach city officials stopped Chittick and volunteers from trying to enter a public skateboarding area. In April, after a parent questioned him in a Norfolk city skate park, police officers showed up. In both incidents, police concluded that no laws were broken. Read more…


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