TUCSON, Ariz. - The Aunt Rita's Foundation, an Arizona-based organization, is now providing vouchers for free HIV tests throughout Arizona.
The organization provides funding to local HIV/AIDS service agencies that give essential services to those that need them while providing outreach and awareness campaigns.
The vouchers allow for those interested to get tested for HIV in one of two ways.
The first kind of voucher allows people to go to a participating Walgreens, Safeway or Albertson's in Arizona and get a free at-home HIV test.
The second kind of voucher allows people to go to a participating Sonora Quest Laboratory and get an HIV test through blood testing.
Glen Spencer, the Executive Director for the Aunt Rita's Foundation told KGUN9 that while offering a way to get free HIV tests is a big deal for them, it's giving people the option to get tested privately or somewhere they feel safe he believes is most helpful.
“There are individuals who would just not be comfortable walking into a HIV service organization or a county health department to get an HIV test even if that HIV test is free at that location because they just are not comfortable doing it," Spencer said.
In 2018, there were more than 18,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Arizona, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
That year there were 774 new cases of HIV/AIDS, and the incident rate was 10.8 cases per 100,000, according to the 2019 HIV/AIDS in Arizona annual report.
Spencer added another big reason the foundation decided to offer these vouchers is simply to increase the number of Arizonans who are getting tested.
He said his hope is by offering people the option to go to a trusted community store or lab to get tested, more people will actually be inclined to do so.
In the Tucson and southern Arizona area there are nine Sonora Quest Laboratories participating in the program and one Safeway.
Below are the addresses of these locations.
Sonora Quest Laboratories:
- 1848 E. Innovation Park Dr.
- 1925 W. Orange Grove Rd., #100
- 1773 W. St. Mary's, #101
- 1940 E. Broadway Blvd.
- 620 N. Alvernon Way, #200
- 6565 E. Carondelet, #255
- 603 N. Wilmot Rd., #141
- 6360 E. Golf Links Rd.
- 1440 W. Valencia, #130
- 1940 E. Broadway
To get a voucher, all you have to do is go to this website.