On June 27, 1995, National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) was first observed as a day to encourage people to get tested for HIV, know their status, and get linked to care and treatment. Matrix Human Services is doing its part to ensure metro Detroiters are tested and aware of NHTD, by hosting a Client Appreciation Day Thursday June 28 from 9-8 p.m. at the Matrix MAC Health in Ferndale (429 Livernois 48220).
Free walk-in HIV testing will be provided, and no appointment is necessary. There will also be free condoms and lube available. Light refreshments will also be served from 5-8 p.m. and those who take a HIV test will be registered for a $100 gift card. You do not have to be present to win.
The NHTD 2018 theme is “Doing It My Way, Testing for HIV.”
“People are still becoming infected in 2018 at an alarming rate,” said Matrix Human Services Community Health Counseling and Testing Supervisor Kathie Griffin-Futch. “HIV testing should be there right along with all the other screenings. So, if you screen for diabetes once a year, you should add in HIV screening.”
“The only thing is, usually, when people go to the doctor, they automatically assume HIV is part of their physical. HIV is a test that has to be requested. It is a test that should be on everybody’s radar.”
HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system and can be contracted by anyone. The most common ways are from unprotected sex, intravenous drug use, or at birth. Matrix Human Services is seeing an increase in African-American men under the age of 30 testing HIV positive with high viral loads and low CD4 (white blood cells called t-cells) counts, which means they have been HIV positive for longer than 30 days before getting a diagnosis. And according to a report, over 3,600 African-American men in Detroit are living with HIV.
People should be tested for HIV as often as they put themselves at risk and Matrix Human Services is extending its hours today and Thursday, so that anyone who wants to take a test is able to do so. Matrix Human Services passes out condoms and lube every day and provides testing throughout the week. The difference is, no appointments will be needed for tests on June 28.
“Stigma is still attached to HIV,” said Griffin-Futch. “People aren’t as willing, I feel, to take a HIV test because of the stigma that’s attached to it. Our Client Appreciation Day is open to anyone who wants to be tested and we are here to help you at Matrix.”
Matrix Human Services is also having a career fair July 11 at its main offices in downtown Detroit (1400 Woodbridge 48207) from 10-7 p.m. There will be on-the-spot interviews and job offers for jobs ranging anywhere from teachers and mental health therapists to case managers and custodians.
“There are a host of positions that we’re looking for and we’re looking to fill them as soon as possible,” said Kerrie Mitchell, Vice President of Marketing and Development for Matrix Human Services. “We’ll have our HR staff readily available to ensure we get everyone in here as best we can. We just want to get the word out to let people know, if they’re interested in working for a non-profit, and they have the desire to help change the landscape of Detroit, this will be a great place for them to work.”
Applicants are encouraged to go to MatrixHumanServices.org to look at all of the jobs that are posted. They should also bring multiple copies of their resume and any other documents that would help qualify them for the job.