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HIV Counseling & Testing

ABOUT

ctHIV impairs the ability of the body to defend itself from life-threatening illnesses and infections. It can eventually develop into AIDS, a potentially fatal condition that further weakens the immune system. No cure currently exists, but recent medical advances have enabled people living with HIV to live full, longer lives. 

You may opt for counseling and testing at one of our Health Services clinics, or, if you meet certain criteria, through one of our HIV/AIDS Services programs.

COUNSELING

A typical visit lasts approximately 45 minutes. You will first have a brief session with a counselor, who will discuss safer sex practices and explain your risk for infection regardless of your potential result. The counselor will then discuss how the HIV test works. Our counselors are trained professionals who will help and support you. 

TESTING 

The rapid HIV test for oral fluid uses a sample collected by a cotton swab rubbed between your cheek and gums. It does not draw blood. Results can return in as little as twenty minutes. 

There is a sliding fee scale for the test, though you may qualify for free testing if you: 

  • Have ever injected illegal drugs 
  • Are a man who has had sex with another man 
  • Have had sex since your last HIV test with a person who was HIV-positive 
  • Meet other criteria based upon income and risk assessment

RESULTS

A non-reactive (negative) result means that you are not showing signs of infection at this time. Yet, in the event that you could have been infected very recently, the test might not detect HIV virus. In this case, the counselor might schedule an appointment for another test at a later date.

A reactive (positive) result means that you may be showing signs of HIV. A counselor will arrange for you to have a blood test to confirm the result, for which you will be asked to return to the clinic at a later date to get the result. If the blood test returns positive, you will receive referrals for any necessary medical and support services, such as primary care doctors and HIV specialists. Remember that testing positive for HIV only means that you have the virus that can lead to AIDS. It could be years, even decades, before you develop any symptoms of AIDS.

PREVENTION

Abstinence from sex is the only way to protect yourself from contracting HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or you can have sex with a single partner who you know is free of infection. If you do have sex, use a barrier method, such as a male or female condom, every time for protection. Our clinicians recommend using barriers in combination with other methods of birth control to strengthen your protection.

Our Clinics

Amherst, 27 Pray St
(413) 548-9992 Map

Great Barrington, 777 South Main St #3
(413) 528-4238 Map

Greenfield, 80 Sanderson St
(413) 773-5403 Map

Holyoke, 306 Race St
(413) 536-8777 Map

North Adams, 77 Hospital Ave #210
(413) 664-5659 Map

Northampton, 16 Center St #415
(413) 586-2539 Map

Pittsfield, 100 Wendell Ave #1
(413) 443-2844 Map

Springfield, 1985 Main St #1
(413) 733-6639 Map

Our Programs

HIV Client Services/Greenfield
80 Sanderson St, 2nd Fl, Greenfield
(413) 773-8888
Map

HIV Client Services/Springfield
130 Maple St, Lower Level, Springfield
(413) 363-9472 Map

La Voz
130 Maple St,
Lower Level, Springfield
(413) 363-9472 Map

Needle Exchange
15A Main St, Holyoke
(413) 315-3732 ext. 1 Map

Needle Exchange
16 Center St #423, Northampton
(413) 586-0310
Map

Tapestry Health

296 Nonotuck Street
Florence, MA 01062
Tel: (413) 586-2016, (800) 696-7752
Fax: (413) 586-0212
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