TESTING SERVICES OVERVIEW
HEAL offers free, confidential HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) rapid testing at all our office locations and other sites across the state. HIV tests are performed using an oral swab of the upper and lower gum lines and HCV tests are performed using a blood sample from a finger prick. No blood draw is required and results are available in just 20 minutes!
During the wait period, our trained prevention specialists with talk with you about transmission factors and provide risk reduction counseling in an anonymous and relaxed setting.
Testing is done at all of our office locations. While we can accept walk-ins, making an appointment ahead of time is highly recommended. Community testers are also available to come to you on an appointment basis!
WHAT IS HIV/AIDS?
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus that attacks your body's immune system. If left untreated, HIV can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). HIV and AIDS affect your CD4 cells, or T cells, which help your body fight off infections and disease.
The human body cannot get rid of HIV virus and there is no known cure. However, modern medical treatments can help manage HIV. If you are HIV+, you can live a happy and healthy life with proper care and support!
HOW IS HIV TRANSMITTED?
HIV is passed from person to person through contact with the following bodily fluids:
Pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum)
In order to transmit HIV, the above bodily fluids must enter a person's bloodstream or make contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue.
Using protection during sex, using your own clean needles, talking with sexual partners about their testing history, and getting tested yourself are all ways to reduce your risk of contracting HIV!
The only way to know your HIV status is to get tested.
WHAT IS HEPATITIS C (HCV)?
Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is a blood-borne virus that affects the liver. HCV is curable with proper medical treatment. Left untreated, HCV can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure. Symptoms of HCV typically do not appear until years after infection.
HOW IS HCV TRANSMITTED?
HCV is transmitted through contact with blood of
someone who is HCV positive. The most common
means of transmission is injection drug use. Less
common, but possible, is transmission through
sharing of at home tattoo needles, piercing needles,
razors, organ donation or blood transfusion prior to
1992, or having sex with an HCV positive person
during which blood-to-blood contact was made.
It is not possible to infect yourself with HCV (the virus must be passed from the blood of an HCV positive person) Using new, clean needles for every injection is critical because used needles can lead to other skin and blood infections.
The only way to know if you have contracted HCV is to get tested.