The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has stopped providing free HIV/AIDS testing for most Kansas counties.
The KDHE used to provide services free HIV testing kits to 40 counties in the state. But since January 1, the health department only provides those services to the 10 most populous counties. The department's HIV/AIDS program director Ralph Wilmoth Ralph Wilmoth says the state is using resources where they are most needed. He added that there are just 2,750 people living with HIV in Kansas, and in some counties, the HIV infection rate is so low that spending money on testing in those areas "made no sense."
Wilmoth says the new federal Affordable Care Act is expected to provide HIV testing for people who previously were not eligible.
Donna Sweet, University of Kansas director of internal medicine education at Via Christi Regional Medical Center in Wichita, says people in small, close-knit communities may be unwilling to discuss their concerns with a primary care doctor. Sweet believes the reduction in testing will certainly affect poor Kansans who can not afford medical care. Free testing will still be offered in Johnson, Sedgwick, Wyandotte, Shawnee, Crawford, Pratt, Riley, Saline, Thomas and Trego counties.