Free HIV Testing at Walgreens: Five Reasons to Get Tested

Walgreens is all kinds of sexy lately. In March, it became the first pharmacy to carry the female condom, a plastic pouch that gives females the power of putting up their own STI-barrier. Now for the first time ever, Walgreens is offering free HIV testing for three days, on June 22-24 from 3-7 p.m. Lest you think prayers and Rick Perry will save you from HIV, do us all a favor and go get tested. Here are five reasons why. (All statistics are from AIDS Foundation Houston.)

5. It's a romantic first date There's nothing better than lying down with someone freshly diagnosed as "negative." (Or, in the case of a positive test, knowing what you need to do to keep yourself safe.) Most everything else you can cure with a pill -- syphilis, chlamydia, babies -- but HIV is tougher, even though great strides are being made.

4. Uh, you live in Houston Chances are if you grew up in Texas's pubic schools, you didn't learn much in the way of sex ed. Houston has the highest infection rate in Texas and one of the highest in the country: There's one new infection every seven hours. Even so, only 14 percent of Texans were screened for HIV in 2009.

3. Your youth is no excuse Young and invincible? Think again. Two new HIV infections are transmitted every day in Houston among youth under age 30.

2. It's National HIV Testing Month! it's practically your patriotic duty. I mean, you celebrated National Masturbation Month in May, right?

1. It's in the same aisle as your Pride supplies As you stock up on rainbow condoms, double up on safety and get tested, too. Men who have sex with men (MSM) account for just 4 percent of the U.S. male population, but the rate of new HIV infection is more than 44 times that of other men, according to AIDS Foundation Houston.

Only three Walgreens locations in Texas are providing free tests, and two of them are in Houston. Visit the Walgreens on Hawthorne and Montrose Blvd., or Fondren Road and Bellfort.

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Mandy Oaklander
Contact: Mandy Oaklander