Shaking Hands is dedicated to reducing the number of Americans unknowingly infected with HIV and the key to making a difference is offering an alternative to testing. Shaking Hands provides free OraQuick in-home HIV tests as a first step for those stifled by the stigma and embarrassment imposed by incorrect public perception and myths. This approach can be costly, but we believe it is a necessary alternative to increase willingness to get tested.
According to the CDC, Georgia falls within the top 10 states with the highest reporting number of HIV diagnosis in 2017. As far as prevalence rates, in 2016 for adults and adolescents in the state of Georgia, it was 31.8 per 100,000 people. These rates are comparable to happenings in third world countries, which makes the need for testing very pressing. We need to act with a sense of urgency in the attempt to normalize testing and bring comfort to those going through this process. Shaking Hands has a unique goal of reaching all types of people including demographics and subpopulations typically not targeted by HIV organizations. Historically, certain demographics and subpopulations are more affected by HIV than others. Many organizations nationwide and in Atlanta focus on these communities. The efforts of these organizations are critical and have contributed greatly to the HIV successes over the past 40 years. To continue making strides there is an opportunity to reach other communities and end the spread of HIV. Shaking Hands focuses on reaching demographics and subpopulations that do not perceive HIV as a threat, under-resourced rural areas and younger generations. Reaching these groups is critical to decreasing the new infection rates. In many cases these groups are living in a fabricated world not threatened by HIV.
Unlike any other organization in Atlanta, Shaking Hands has a narrow focus to deliver in-home tests free of charge to Georgia residents. This program allows us to reach the entire state, especially rural areas that are underfunded by HIV organizations. Through this program, people are given the option of being tested in the convenience of their own home. Results are provided within 20 minutes of taking the test. Shaking Hands believe that this confidential alternative testing option is a gateway to getting people tested sooner and more frequently.