Memphis woman with HIV shares importance of testing - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis woman with HIV shares importance of testing

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(WMC-TV) - Many organizations and people in Shelby County took part in the cause on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Thursday.

Including one Memphis woman who shared her story.

Nicole Odum has had HIV for 16 years.

She was infected by rape.

"If you're having unprotected sex, you need to get tested on a regular basis," said Odum.

Nicole Odum is an HIV survivor and is an advocate for safe sex.

She said getting tested for HIV only takes about twenty minutes.

The test itself requires no needles and no blood work.

You have to be responsible for you, because a lot of people won't tell you they're HIV positive," added Odum.

In Shelby County, 88 percent of all new HIV infections diagnosed in 2011 were among African-Americans.

"The biggest population we're most concerned with is with African American who have sex with men," said Jennifer Warren with Planned Parenthood.

Warren said that's why it's important to get tested.

The GetWell Community Clinic is just one of the locations offering free testing.

In fact, Warren said she'd already done 18 HIV tests before noon Thursday.

"It's not at all like it used to be. It's much more manageable. It's kind of like a chronic disease now," continued Warren.

Free HIV testing is available through Planned Parenthood each week.

For more information on location and times, call them at 901-725-1717.

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