HIV & Hepatitis C Counseling & Testing
Knowing your HIV status is the first step in seeking medical intervention and gaining access to effective strategies to prevent the spread of HIV. AIDS Project Worcester tries to make the process of counseling and testing a simple, easy, and nonthreatening process to navigate. There are certain questions that you might ask yourself before you get tested; see some below on this page. Anonymous testing is currently offered at APW Monday through Friday 8:00am to 4:45pm.
**No appointments are necessary for any HIV or Hepatitis C testing. ALL HIV and Hepatitis C testing is FREE**
In addition to two types of HIV tests, we are offer a Hepatitis C test:
- HIV: Unigold (Rapid Test) Testing is a finger stick blood sample with a preliminary result in 10-20 minutes.
- HIV: Blood Testing is a traditional blood draw with results usually available after 7 days.
- Hepatitis C: We now offer Oraquick HCV Rapid Antibody test for the qualitative detection of antibodies to Hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) in fingerstick specimens. Results in 20 minutes.
AIDS Project Worcester offers free HIV testing at college campuses and health fairs. If you are interested in setting up such a service, please call Marilyn Rodriguez, Counseling & Testing Coordinator, at 508.755.3773, ext. 22 or email her at email@example.com
Off-site testing is also free of charge.
WHY SHOULD I BE TESTED?
Knowing your HlV status has two vital benefits. First, if you know you are HlV positive, you can discuss treatment options with your physician before symptoms appear. Second, if you know you are infected, you can take all the precautions to prevent re-infecting yourself and possibly infecting others with the disease.
It takes approximately 4-6 weeks for you body to develop antibodies for HIV after infection (all HIV tests are detecting the antibodies for HIV). If you think you may be at risk for HIV, consider an HIV test. The only way to be sure is to get tested.
CAN I KEEP MY TEST RESULTS PRIVATE?
APW offers both confidential HIV testing and anonymous HIV testing.
Confidential HIV Testing means that any identifying information that is shared with our testing counselors during a testing session (including results) will be kept completely private and will not be shared with anyone without your written permission.
Anonymous HIV Testing means that no name is given to the testing center. Instead, the person receiving the test is given a unique identifier code (a number). Using this number means that no one can link you to the HIV test. The person tested is the only one who is made aware of the test results.
WHEN AND HOW OFTEN SHOULD I BE TESTED FOR HIV?
Because the tests commonly used to detect HIV infection actually look for antibodies produced by your body to fight HlV, you should wait a reasonable period of time before being tested. Most people produce detectable antibodies within 4-6 weeks after infection (the average is 25 days). This is commonly referred to as the sero-conversion period.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET THE RESULTS?
Results from the most commonly used HlV antibody screening test results are usually available in 7 days. In the case of the Rapid test, you can have a preliminary result in 10-20 minutes.
HOW ACCURATE ARE HIV TEST RESULTS?
The tests are more than 99% accurate. The most commonly used tests are the ELISA and the Western Blot. If the ELISA shows the blood sample is positive for HlV, then the Western Blot is done to confirm the initial results.
IF I THINK I'VE BEEN EXPOSED TO HIV THROUGH UNPROTECTED SEX OR SHARING NEEDLES, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
There are post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) medications that can be administered within a 72 hour period after you think you have been exposed to HIV. PEP is most effective if administered within the first 48 hours after possible exposure. PEP is generally recommended for those who have had unprotected (no condom) receptive (bottom/receiving partner) anal and/or vaginal sex with someone they know to have HIV or has a high likelihood of being HIV infected. PEP is also recommended for individuals who have shared needles/syringes to inject drugs with someone who is known to have HIV or is highly likely to be infected with HIV. HIV PEP involves taking anti-HIV medications for a month, and a doctor will monitor your blood for signs of HIV infection. Someone can access HIV PEP through their physician or a hospital emergency room.
WHERE CAN I GET CONDOMS, SAFER INJECTION SUPPLIES, AND OTHER RISK REDUCTION ITEMS?
Condoms and other risk reduction material can be obtained freely in the lobby of AIDS Project Worcester, Monday through Friday, during normal business hours. Our address is 85 Green St., Worcester.
For more information on anonymous testing through AIDS Project Worcester, call Marilyn Rodriguez, Counseling and Testing Coordinator, at 508.855.3773, ext. 22. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org