Baltimore County Now
Gregory Wm. Branch, M.D., MBA, CPE
Director, Department of Health and Human Services
Health Officer and Director, Department of Health
Are you someone who likes to start the New Year on a promising note? Have you fallen into the trap of making goals or resolutions that you cannot meet? Well, Baltimore County has a number of tools that may be just the thing for you!
If you live, work, or play in Baltimore County, use the following tips to become a STAR and shoot towards a healthier you. If some of the tips don't apply to you, don't sweat it. Instead, share them with someone you know who could benefit from them.
If you are thinking about quitting or want to quit, Baltimore County has a number of different programs at various times and locations that may work for you. And, even better our smoking cessation classes are free.
Take the Test
What you don’t know could hurt you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone ages 13 to 64 know their status. You can get free, anonymous testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases at a Department of Health clinic. Sharing this information is great, spreading an infection is not.
Adopt a Pet
Owning a pet can help reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In addition, it’s a great antidote for loneliness that can also increase opportunities for exercise, outdoor activities and socialization.
There are numerous pets in Baltimore County that are in need of someone who will love and care for them. Consider opening your heart and home to an adoptable pet.
Remember to Schedule an Appointment
January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Women can take care of their cervical and breast health by scheduling an annual mammogram and routine Pap test. These screenings may be available free of charge to income eligible women. Men, take care of the women you love, by reminding them to schedule these live-saving tests.
For more information about these tips, contact the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services by calling 410-887-BCHD (2243).
Stacey Dyce, MHS, HIV Prevention Specialist and Educator
Baltimore County Department of Health
If there is one thing that the HIV/AIDS has taught us, it’s that it doesn’t discriminate. So it’s important to know your HIV status. And, there’s no better time than now! In observance of National HIV Testing Day, the Baltimore County Department of Health will be offering free, HIV testing at seven sites on Saturday June 14. National HIV Testing Day is a nationwide effort to encourage people of all ages to get tested.
All HIV tests are quick and provide results within 15 to 20 minutes. Unlike those in the past, current HIV tests require only a swab of the mouth or a prick of the finger. Knowing your HIV status empowers you to take control of your life and your treatment to maintain optimum health.
More than 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, with about 1 in 5 unaware that they are infected; therefore, it’s important that everyone - regardless of age - who is sexually active, get tested. Contrary to popular belief, HIV and sexually transmitted infection tests are not routinely included in an annual physical or gynecological exam. So the first step in taking control of your health is getting tested and learning your status.
So, please, make plans to join us on June 14 by walking in to one of our seven sites. If you are not able to get tested on June 14 why not schedule a time and date that works for you? For more information, visit: www.baltimorecountymd.gov/go/gettested or call 410-887-2437.