HIV 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.
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.
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
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.