Free HIV testing, counseling clinic offered

SALEM- The Salem City Health District will host its first free HIV testing and counseling clinic from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. April 16.

“This is a new initiative working with our sister boards of health,” city Health Commissioner Richard Setty said.

The free and confidential service will be offered in the Salem Health Department offices in the Kent State University Salem City Center. According to Setty, the intent is to hold a session every month around the middle of the month.

No appointments need to be made. People can just walk in and request the testing, which consists of a blood test. The service will include investigation and follow-up if necessary. Part of the counseling will include education.

The service is being provided in conjunction with the Alliance City and Mahoning County Health Districts. Kathy Dugan, Director of Nursing for the Salem Health District, will work with the Alliance City nurse.

A representative from Mahoning County will focus on investigation and followup.

Anyone with questions about the program can call Dugan at 330-332-1618.

Setty said the department was approached by Alliance City some time ago about extending their program into other health districts. Both Alliance and Mahoning County received grant funding to provide the service, which is being offered to Salem at no cost.

National Public Health Week

While preparing for the clinic, the Salem city health district is using this week to focus on National Public Health Week, which begins Monday. Setty said they have no specific activities planned to commemmorate the week, but he thought it would be a good time to remind residents that many diseases and health conditions, whether chronic or acute, are dependent on lifestyle.

“We need to look at lifestyles to control these conditions,” he said.

Some of the precursors to those conditions can include smoking, drinking, not getting enough exercise and not watching diet. He said some of what happens, people bring on themselves.

“We do it to ourselves,” he said.

He said it takes “individual initiative to look at lifestyle and make changes.”

The website at describes in detail the daily themes for this year.

According to the website, those daily themes include:

– Monday, April 7: Be healthy from the start. From maternal health and school nutrition to emergency preparedness, public health starts at home.

– Tuesday, April 8: Don’t panic. Disaster preparedness starts with community-wide commitment and action.

– Wednesday, April 9: Get out ahead. Prevention is now a nationwide priority.

– Thursday, April 10: Eat well. The system that keeps our nation’s food safe and healthy is complex.

– Friday, April 11: Be the healthiest nation in one generation. Best practices for community health come from around the globe.