Free HIV testing, Milwaukee Health Dept. teams up with Walgreens

While getting tested for HIV may sound scary, it's a preventative measure that can keep you and others safe.

"Testing positive for HIV is not a death sentence, not at all," said Caitlyn Stockhausen, Disease Intervention Specialist Coordinator for the City of Milwaukee.

It's a message meant to be heard today, June 27, HIV Testing Awareness Day.

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Free HIV testing

"HIV you don't really have too many symptoms until later stages, so you don't want to rely too much on expecting symptoms," added Stockhausen.

The Milwaukee Health Department is partnering with Walgreens today to provide free testing.

"We had somebody come in right away, so we had a couple tests so far, and we've done a lot of distribution of materials," added Stockhausen.

Those materials like condoms, prevention services, and of course, testing.

HIV testing kit

"In 2023, the numbers dipped slightly, but they're always pretty stable over the last five years, but having things such as rapid testing events where we can let people know about their status and get them into care is really important," said Stockhausen.

The process is simple. You come in, you sit down, and you get a pinch from a needle, and then you wait 20 minutes to get your results.

Since 2021, the City of Milwaukee Health Department has recorded a total of 361 people who have tested HIV-positive.

Milwaukee HIV Cases:

  • 2024 – 42 positive cases so far
  • 2023 – 92 positive cases
  • 2022 – 120 positive cases
  • 2021 – 107 positive cases

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Clinics on the city's south side are working to make testing more accessible, like providing bilingual services and support to expand access.

"When we are talking about HIV testing, the specific focus should be on taking action and what those action steps can be," said Abby Gorecki, Vice President of Community Health.

It is recommended to get HIV tested at least once a year. For more HIV resources, click here.