EAST LIVERPOOL - The city health department will become the first testing site in the county for HIV, starting with confidential testing July 30.
Health Commissioner Jelayne Dray told the board of health last week testing will be done in a confidential location in the health department between 9 and 11 a.m. the last Monday of every month beginning on that date.
There will be no charge for the test, which requires swabbing the mouth of participants, who will have their results before leaving. The test requires about 20 minutes and are free of charge.
Dray said referral for treatment, if necessary, will also be available through the health department for those who are tested.
People can make appointments for the test, but walk-in clients are welcome, Dray said, saying she is "very excited" to be able to offer this service, which is being made available through the Canton and Youngstown health districts' AIDS/HIV divisions.
More information is available by calling Stephanie Summers, R.N., director of nursing at 330-385-5123 or Dray, R.N., B.S.N., at 330-385-7900 during regular business hours.
According to information provided by Dray, someone in this country is infected with HIV every 9.5 minutes.
Summers also reported on her vaccination program, saying she is wrapping up the 2011-2012 flu season and preparing for the 2012-2013 season, having ordered vaccine from the state earlier in the day.
She also reminded parents that back-to-school may mean some students need vaccinations, including those entering kindergarten, who will need the mandated DTaP, polio, MMR and Varicella vaccines.
Any child entering seventh grade is required to receive the Tdap vaccine, according to Summer, who said there are also a few newer vaccines available which are not required but recommended for pre-teens and teens.
She said one especially worth considering is meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV) to prevent meningitis, a deadly disease that causes inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.
"It can be so aggressive, that someone can feel fine one day and be dead the next," Summer said, saying it mainly targets adolescents and college freshmen and can be spread through coughing, kissing and sharing drink glasses.
For an appointment or more information on these vaccines, Summers can be contacted at the number above.
The local health department will also now be offering nutritional education and Women and Infant Children (WIC) intake services at its offices in City Hall, offering space to county WIC staff to accommodate local residents.
Dray said the hope is she and Summers will be trained in the future to offer these services themselves.
Dray participated as an active public health representative and as a registered nurse from East Liverpool City Hospital in the Beaver Valley power plant live drill last week at the Columbiana County Emergency Operation Center. Mayor Jim Swoger reported that county Health Commissioner Wes Vins sent a letter, commending Dray for her participation in the mock drills.
"We're very proud of her. She participates and keeps East Liverpool in the loop. We weren't always there and now we are," Swoger said of Dray.
In her monthly report, Dray noted she and registered sanitarian Jim Ferguson conducted food service inspections for the Pottery Festival, verifying those mobile units already licensed in other areas and inspecting and licensing one mobile and three temporary food operation facilities.
The board's next regular meeting is at 4 p.m. July 19 in council chambers at City Hall.