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HIV Testing To Become Standard At One Chicago Hospital

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Chris Martinez Chris Martinez
Chris Martinez is a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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(CBS) – It’s an alarming number: More than 1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV and don’t know it.

It’s the reason behind a big push to get more people tested.

CBS 2’s Chris Martinez reports on what one Chicago hospital is doing to make sure people know their status.

Inside UIC Medical Center, Cammeo Medici bears a message of both caution and hope. She’s talking about the latest stats on HIV that show one in five people infected have no idea.

“Those 20 to 25 percent of people are responsible for over 50 percent of the new infections,” Medici says.

It’s in part what’s fueling new policy at UIC, where soon HIV testing will be standard in the ER for anyone who has blood drawn.

“That’s going to be a test that gets ordered unless you’ve told us you don’t want it,” Medici says.

It’s thought in the first year that will lead to some 15,000 tests –- an effort applauded by a new citywide coalition called Step Up Get Tested.

It aims to shatter the myth that HIV is only a gay man’s disease.

“African-American women are the second most affected group in Illinois and nationwide,” says David Ernesto Munar of Howard Brown Health Center. “It does not discriminate.”

It’s thought there are about 50,000 new infections of HIV in the U.S. every year.

Helping the effort to get people tested is Walgreens, which is offering free testing at 27 of their Chicago locations Friday and Saturday.

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