The Importance of HIV Testing
June 19, 2018
With National HIV Testing Day rapidly approaching, our Prevention Program Manager, Imani Nunley, shares the importance of testing and how the process works.
For all the progress made towards HIV care and prevention in the last 30+ years, one thing remains constant – the stigma still attached to HIV and getting tested. There are many misconceptions about testing and HIV in general. I have heard many times behind my office doors, “what I don’t know won’t hurt me.” This could not be further from the truth. Not only can HIV affect you, but it can affect your partners as well. No longer a gay disease, HIV does not discriminate when it comes to new infections. That is why it is important to have an open dialogue about HIV testing and prevention. Here at The Damien Center, we are here to help and dispel any negative stigma surrounding HIV and testing.
Know Your Status.
The process of getting tested is simple. In the Joseph F. Miller Testing Center, we provide rapid, free and confidential testing that requires no appointments. Just walk in and we will help you based on your needs. At The Damien Center, we administer two types of HIV tests. The first testing method is an oral swab. OraQuick results take about 20 minutes – the test is painless and does not require the use of any needles. Once the tester takes a swab from the inside of your mouth, we quickly deliver results. The second method is the BioLytical INSTI test and results are ready in 1 minute! This test requires the use of a needle through a lancet and finger stick. Both tests will test for HIV 1 and 2 antibodies and can detect HIV in as little as 4 to 6 weeks. However, keep in mind that it can take up to 3 months for the body to produce enough antibodies to be detected. This means if you were exposed to HIV and tested sooner than 3 months after potential infection, it is wise to get retested at the 3 month mark.
The process can seem scary and we understand if some anxiety builds up. Not knowing can cause more damage. Knowing your status not only helps protect you and your partners, but it can dispel the stigma around HIV and testing. At the Joseph F. Miller Testing Center, we are here to help. Come in and see one of our testers. Not only are they well equipped to provide free and confidential testing, but can help with prevention counseling as well. The Damien Center is a judgement free zone and we are always happy to help educate.
In addition to our free and confidential HIV testing, The Damien Center also offers STI testing for individuals ages 13-45, pregnancy testing and other prevention services such as PrEP and PEP.
Questions? Do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] or give us a call at 317.632.0123.