First, I want to honor the fact that getting tested for HIV is stressful. But, we also know that Knowing is Better; in fact it is a must and can save not only our lives but the lives of others. That is why we urge you to get tested as soon as possible.
Why is testing for HIV sooner rather than later so Important?
Knowing your HIV status, regardless of the result, is a life saver.
- Early detection of HIV infection can lead to a longer and healthier life. Having HIV does not mean that you are going to get sick and die. There is no cure for HIV, but new drugs are available that can help you stay healthy.
- If you know you have HIV, you can take steps to prevent passing HIV to others.
- In case of an HIV negative result, you can make smart decisions about your behavior in order to remain HIV negative.
What you should know about our HIV Testing Services?
- We offer confidential HIV testing,
- At no cost to you; nor do we bill your insurance company.
- We offer HIV testing in more than 20 locations conveniently located near you.
- You can just come in without an appointment or make an appointment if you like.
- The HIV test we offer does not require needles or the drawing of blood.
We do a two step process that uses a sample of oral fluids, which is as reliable as any blood sample test.
HIV Screening: First, we screen for HIV exposure (20 minutes); if the screening is “Reactive” to exposure for HIV then we do a confirmatory test.
Confirmatory Test: The confirmatory test will determine if you have been infected with HIV. The results for this test are usually available within three working days.
If your tests results are…
- Negative, we will continue to support you so that you may remain free of HIV.
- Positive, we will be there for you to support you with accessing prompt medical care and emotional support services.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition in humans in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections. HIV primarily infects vital cells in the human immune system specifically known as CD4+ T cells leading to low levels of these. When CD4+ T cell numbers decline below a critical level; the body becomes progressively more susceptible to opportunistic infections (OI’s).
If untreated, eventually most HIV-infected individuals develop AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). OI’s usually do not happen in people with a healthy immune system. OI’s usually develop in people with a damaged or weak immune system. OI’s can also occur in people who are not HIV positive. “When an HIV infected person develops OI’s or the CD4 count goes below 200 means that has developed AIDS, a late and life-threatening stage of the HIV infection”.
How is it transmitted?
First, it is important to know that the only body fluids that present risk for HIV infection from an infected person to another are:
- Semen (cum)
- Vaginal Discharges
- Breast Milk
HIV may be transmitted from one person to another when one or more body fluids (listed above) of a person living HIV come into direct contact with an open wound or with the mucous membranes of the genitals (penis and vagina), the rectum (anus), and/or mouth of the other person. The following present the greatest risks for HIV infection:
- Sharing needles to inject drugs, tattoos, and body piercing.
- Unprotected Vaginal or Anal Sex
- Mother-to-child during pregnancy and/or birth
- Breast feeding.
- Oral sex when there are cuts or bleeding of the mouth.
How can I reduce the risk of infection?
- By not sharing needles, razors or toothbrushes.
- By using latex condoms and dental dams during sex
- By knowing and limiting the number of sexual partners.
Whate are the most common symptoms?
The initial infection with HIV generally occurs after transfer of body fluids from an infected person to an uninfected one. The first stage of infection, also known as the primary or acute infection, is a period when the HIV virus replicates rapidly in one’s system immediately after infection. Acute infection is generally present within 2-4 weeks after exposure leading to high levels of HIV in blood. During this period, most individuals develop flu-like symptoms: fever, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, rashes. These primary symptoms are not used to diagnose HIV infection as they do not develop in all cases and because many are caused by other more common diseases. It is important to note that HIV is highly transmissible during acute infection. When untreated, most HIV-infected individuals develop AIDS and their lives are shortened.