Starting this weekend, five local HIV/AIDS service partners (Action AIDS, Bebashi, GALAEI, Mazzoni Center and Philadelphia FIGHT) will provide free, drop-in, rapid screening HIV tests every weekend at the store’s new 300-square foot HIV Testing Center, which is distinctly timed to open in celebration of AIDS Education Month. In addition to testing, the partner organizations will provide quality, confidential counseling, education, and referral services for support.
“For ten years, Philly AIDS Thrift has supported local HIV/AIDS service organizations with over one million dollars in funding from thrift store sales,” said PAT Co-Founder and Co-Manager Christina Kallas-Saritsoglou. “The new HIV testing center will take our fight against HIV to the next level by providing a safe, welcoming and easily accessible place for early detection, counseling and referrals.”
The center, which will be decorated with items right from the Philly Thrift shop, is located on the second floor of the building, and will have both stair and elevator access, plus a reception area. It’s a niche concept that is trying to take HIV awareness to the streets, so to speak.
“You might see outreach teams on South Street in the middle of a busy Saturday,” said Kallas-Saritsoglou. “We can reach a whole new audience that would be more apt to get tested knowing it is just a block away and takes less than an hour of their time.”
Hours for the new center will be will be from Noon to 4 pm on the first and third Saturday and Sunday, and the second and fourth Friday and Saturday. Hours for the fifth weekend will be announced. For more information, visit the Philly AIDS Thrift website.