By Cathy Carter
Today is National HIV Testing Day, and communities throughout the region are encouraging at-risk residents to seek out free screenings.
The Whitman-Walker Clinic in D.C. is just one of the facilities offering expanded HIV testing to mark this 16th annual National HIV Testing Day.
Pernell Williams is the clinic's Community Health Manager.
He says that one of the ways to erase the stigma surrounding HIV is for families to get involved, and encourage testing.
"People don't neccesarily listen to strangers just as well as they would listen to a father figure, a mother figure, a brother, a peer," he says.
Williams worries about people becoming complacent about the virus. He hopes this year's event will mark the beginning of a new movement.
"That it began on this weekend, on this National HIV Testing Day, and that it was indeed the beginning of the end for HIV," he says.
The clinic will sponsor free rapid HIV testing at their 14th Street location, and at various mobile testing centers District-wide.