HIV can be spread through infected semen, vaginal fluid, blood, or breast milk. Anyone can get HIV, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, race, or socio-economic status. You cannot get HIV from just being around people with the virus, or through sharing drinks, hugging, kissing, or sharing utensils with an HIV positive person.
The best way to reduce your risk of HIV infection is to limit the number of sexual partners, use barrier methods like condoms or sex dams with sex and refrain from sharing needles. There is also a medication that you can take daily to reduce your risk of becoming infected with HIV if you are in a high-risk group (HIV-positive partner/s, high number of sex partners, in high-prevalence area/network, sharing injection needles/equipment, history of inconsistent or no condom use, or if you are a sex worker) See PrEP section under services we provide
While anyone can be infected, gay and bisexual men, transgender women, people ages 13-24, and communities of color are more likely to become HIV positive than the general population. These communities also tend to face unfair stigma and discrimination, which only makes preventive education and procedures more inaccessible. It is especially important for people in these communities to find ways to know about safer sex and get tested regularly to ensure that they are healthy, and begin treatment as soon as possible if tested positive.
Getting tested is the only way to know your status. It’s important to get tested regularly if you’re sexually active or have other risk factors. Sometimes symptoms for HIV don’t show for a number of years, and the only way to be sure you don’t have it is to get tested.
At Equality Health Center, we offer nonjudgmental and confidential HIV testing.
Appointments for rapid HIV testing are scheduled by phone. The appointment will take approximately 30 minutes. Included in the appointment is an opportunity to sit with a healthcare worker to discuss HIV risk and to develop a plan to reduce risk, but this is not mandatory.
The test consists of taking a swab from your mouth. This test works by detecting antibodies to HIV, which are usually detectable between 2 to 8 weeks after becoming infected with HIV. The test results are available 20 minutes from the start of the test. Test results are either “non-reactive” or “reactive”. If your results are “non-reactive” this means you are negative for the HIV virus. If your results are reactive, this means you might be infected with the HIV virus. If this happens, we will then take a blood sample and send it to a laboratory. This HIV test called an Antigen or RNA test is able to detect presence of the HIV virus itself. This type of test can detect HIV as early as 1 to 3 weeks after HIV infection. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled in one week to review the final test results.
HIV Educational Resources/Links
www.thebody.org www.aidsinfo.org www.projectinform.org www.sfaf.org
Talkline for HIV 1-800-448-0440 weekdays 12-5 est.
New Hampshire State Resources
Ryan White Care Program Federal money available through NH Division of Public Health Dept of Health & Human Services to assist with price of HIV medical services and prescriptions 1-800-852-3345 ext 4480 or 4502
NH STD/HIV/Viral Hepatitis Prevention 1-800-852-3345 ext 4502
AIDS Services Organizations:
Northwest NH HIV/HCV Resource Center www.acornvtnh.org 603-448-8887
Seacoast AIDS Response-Seacoast (ARS) www.aidsresponse.org 603-433-5377
Southwest NH AIDS Services for the Monadnock Region (ASMR) www.asmronline.org 603-357-6855
Manchester NH Greater Manchester AIDS Project (GMAP) www.mvap.org 603-623-0710
Concord NH Merrimack Valley Assistance Project & Lakes Region AIDS Project www.mvap.org 603-226-0607