HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – Marshall Health is teaming up with the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, Harmony House and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to offer residents free and confidential HIV testing at the health department between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1.

The event is set to coincide with World AIDS Day. Health experts say the screening is important because the HIV virus can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS, if it is not treated. Neither disease can be cured, but they are treatable. According to the CDC, approximately one out of seven people with HIV in the U.S. do not know they have the virus.

“Increased testing, education and resources for those with positive tests and community prevention are vital to decreasing the spread of HIV,” said Jessica Ford, D.O., pediatric hospitalist fellow at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

Marshall Health officials say insurances will not be billed for the free and quick testing and appointments are not necessary. According to health officials, there is no age restriction for the tests and parental consent for the tests is not required by law.

Officials with Marshall Health also say free flu and COVID-19 vaccinations will be available at the HIV testing event. For the flu and COVID-19 vaccines, parental consent is required for those under the age of 18.