HIV Testing & InformationHIV Rapid Testing with Results in Minutes
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). An HIV test will tell you whether you have been infected with the HIV virus.
We offer a rapid test which is performed on a specimen of blood. The results are available to you in about one hour. If you test negative on this test no further testing is necessary and you are negative.
If you test positive on this rapid test, we must send the specimen out for a confirmation test called a Western Blot test. This Western Blot test is necessary to confirm and be absolutely certain that you are infected with HIV. It takes about 10 working days to get the confirmation Western Blot results back to you. You will be told you are Rapid Test Positive with confirmation results pending. We do not have the ability to do Western Blot testing in the office. The Rapid test is not considered positive for HIV unless the Western Blot test also reads positive. This is because there is a slight chance (about one in five hundred) that the rapid test alone can be falsely positive.
A confirmed positive test means that you have been exposed to the HIV virus. It is recommended that if you test positive for HIV, whether here or any other clinic, that you get retested with a new specimen just to be absolutely certain. The HIV test will not tell you how long you have had the virus or how advanced the disease is. Further testing will be necessary to determine what state of the disease spectrum you are in. Most people will test positive within three months after exposure. Rarely, it is possible to take longer for the test to become positive after the exposure. Some authorities state you will test positive within 25 days after exposure. We advise to use the 3 month time frame after exposure to know whether or not you have been infected from a given episode.
The HIV virus is commonly spread through sexual contact (vaginal, anal, or oral sex). It is also commonly spread by sharing of dirty needles while using intravenous drugs. An infected mother may infect her baby during pregnancy, at time of birth, or while breast feeding. Very rarely, contact with blood and other body fluids may also spread the virus. You cannot get infected with the virus by donating blood.
Whether or not you are tested at our office is your decision.
HIV counseling and testing should be considered by anyone who meets any of the following:
• People who may currently have a sexually transmitted disease.
• People who currently use intravenous drugs or who have a history of intravenous drug use.
• Men who have engaged in sexual activities with other men.
• People who have had more than one sex partner.
• People who have had sex with prostitutes (male or female).
• People who received blood products or blood transfusions between 1978 and 1985.
• Woman with identifiable risks, who are pregnant, or who have considered pregnancy.
• People who have had significant exposure to the blood or body secretions of someone who may be infected.
• People who have had sex with any of the above, particularly with intravenous drug users.
At our clinic you will be tested anonymously and confidentially unless you request otherwise. It is our understanding that anyone tested here has requested the test to be done on a confidential and anonymous basis unless we are told otherwise. You can choose to have the test performed here and paid for by your insurance company. It can not be done confidentially and anonymously if it is billed to the insurance company. You can opt to have the test done at the local health department or other free testing site if desired.
If you test positive you will not have your name released to anyone. For statistical reasons, we are required to report your age, county of residence and probable route of infection to the Health Department. If your HIV results need to be released, beyond the requirements of the law, you will be asked to sign a separate release form stating this.
There are virtually no medical risks in drawing a small sample of blood to get tested. Before you are tested, you should carefully think about to whom you will tell the results and what emotional and other support systems are available to you should you test positive. As with any health problem, some people who have taken the test and discovered they are infected with the HIV virus, have experienced emotional problems.
We are aware of support programs for people who do test positive. We additionally have a network of psychological health care providers who are experienced in HIV to assist you.
You have the right to not request your tests results at any time. At this office we do not make any attempts at contacting you to receive your test results. If you test negative, you can learn through counseling how to protect yourself from infection in the future so that you can remain negative and HIV infection free.
If you test positive, you can take action to benefit your health and the health of others. Early detection and intervention will help you live with HIV infection. By managing a good state of mental and physical health, you can reduce the risk of progressing. Most patients do well with HIV, especially if they take their medications as directed without any interruption. It is suggested that you maintain good nutrition, exercise and adequate rest. Emotional support and work on managing stress could be invaluable in keeping you healthy. Eliminate (or at least reduce) recreational drugs, alcohol, and smoking. Avoid contracting sexually transmitted diseases and reduce the chance of infecting others by the use of latex condoms with water-soluble lubricants. If you inject illegal drugs, you should stop. The next best practice would be not to share needles or “works”. At the very lease, you should learn to clean your needles or “works”. There should be no blood donation or organ donation. We will be happy to discuss this with you further.
If you test positive you need to inform current, past and future sexual and needle sharing partners about your positive tests so that these people can get tested and take precautions to protect themselves the best way possible. This is both a legal and moral obligation. If desired, we can provide you with assistance in notifying partners. We can assist you and have these contacts told without them knowing who exposed them. All health care providers, both medical and dental, who are providing you treatment should also be notified. This will help them care for you and will reduce the possibility of infecting others.
Finally, be careful about who you tell about your infection with HIV. Some people may not understand the nature of the infection or how it actually is spread. This may lead to misunderstandings and create problems with friends, co-workers or others. Please feel free to discuss any other concerns with us, or ask us any questions that you may have. We will be happy to provide the answers to your questions. You should feel free to call the statewide AIDS information hot line (1-800-872-AIDS) if there is any other information that you need.
Your treatment: Testing for HIV at this office does not obligate you to continue your medical treatment here if you do indeed test positive. Dr. Benson is Board Certified in Family Medicine and is accredited as an HIV Specialist by the American Academy of HIV Medicine. He has a special interest in providing complete primary health care for HIV patients since 1980. The management of HIV has improved tremendously over the last several years to the point of where it has become a manageable disease. In addition, we have a network of sympathetic and caring health care specialists to assist in your care if it is deemed necessary.
Dr. Benson, being a primary care provider, is able to handle many of the routine HIV related problems and provide non HIV related services without having to send you to different specialists, such as sending you to a dermatologist for a routine skin biopsy. It is the philosophy of total health care that Dr. Benson gets to know you well and treat you in the best way possible, specifically for you. We will be happy to discuss this philosophy of medicine with you should you have any questions about it.
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