AIDS Services Coalition offering new incentives for HIV testing

AIDS Services Coalition offering new incentives for HIV testing
Hattiesburg's AIDS Services Coalition is offering incentives like gift cards and free movie passes to boost the numbers of people who get tested for HIV. Photo credit WDAM.

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg's AIDS Services Coalition is increasing incentives for people to get free HIV testing.

The organization will be giving away movie passes and gift cards in the hope more people will get checked for HIV.

The goal is to provide care for those who need it.

This week, the group offered $20 Walmart gift cards to the first 100 people who showed up to be tested.

"I wish we didn't have to incentivize people to get tested, because it is for their health to get tested," said Kathy Garner, executive director of the AIDS Services Coalition. "Forrest County is number two in the rate of new infections in the state, we're struggling to figure out how to encourage people to get tested in a state where stigma rules."

The organization does nearly 600 free HIV tests each year.