LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Health, through its second year partnership with the Black AIDS Institute (BAI) and Greater Than AIDS, is bringing free HIV testing to three cities in Arkansas on Thursday-Saturday. 

Testing tour sites include: Conway, West Memphis and Texarkana. During the tour, the Arkansas Department of Health will administer free HIV and syphilis testing and provide educational materials, a series of give-way items and food to attendees. 

This year’s testing tour schedule is as follows: 

Conway, 2:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Thursday at the University of Central Arkansas Student Center.

West Memphis, noon-4 p.m. Friday at West Memphis Neighborhood Center at 1300 East Polk St. 

Texarkana, noon-4 p.m. Saturday at Bramble Park at 1002 Ferguson St. Texarkana, Ark. 

The Arkansas Department of Health, HIV/STD/Hepatitis C Section works to reduce and eventually eliminate illness and deaths due to HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and to assure that an up-to-date continuum of care services is available to all HIV-infected persons living in Arkansas. Black AIDS Institute is a grantee of the Arkansas Department of Health HIV Prevention Program.

Through the combined efforts of the Arkansas Department of Health staff, citizens of Arkansas, and BAI, approximately 150 Arkansans were tested for HIV and approximately 30 received syphilis screenings during last year’s tours. 

"Our goal is to drastically reduce the spread of HIV across the State of Arkansas and educate communities about preventive measures," said Tina Long, Section Chief of the Arkansas Department of Health HIV/STD Hepatitis C Section. "This year’s tour demonstrates our commitment to improving the health of Arkansans. We look forward to visiting each city and testing more citizens than ever before."  

Special guests from the Black AIDS Institute, Chauncey Beaty (poet and AIDS activist) and Carl Jackson (HIV-positive author of "The Set Up, A Testimony by Carl"), are slated to speak during the tours. For more information about the Arkansas Department of Health HIV testing tour, contact Courtney Hampton at 501-661-2749.