PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The nonprofit group Bebashi Transition to Hope is in its 30th year of educating people about HIV and AIDS, as well as providing crucial services to low-income residents.
The group will spend World AIDS Day offering free HIV & AIDS tests to the public, something they do each year.
“We’ve done outreach, we do educational workshops, and teach people about HIV,” says executive director Gary Bell. “We still don’t have a vaccine, we still don’t have a cure, and we still have a lot of work to do.”
The group was the first in the country to primarily serve the African-American community, who often face difficulties getting their hands on life-saving drugs or access to health insurance.
“Each year we serve roughly 800 people who are living with HIV,” Bell says. “The majority of them are men, but the number of women is growing. The average income for our clients is $365 a month.”
He says the test is quick, and only takes 20 minutes to get the results. Bell says it is so important to get tested.
“We encourage people that it is better to know than not know,” he says, “because if we can get people into care soon enough, they can live productive lives.”
The Bebashi group will provide free testing at two locations:
–1217 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123
8am – 4pm
–ShopRite 52nd & Parkside Avenue (West Philadelphia)
10am – 3pm