National HIV Testing Day
By: Michelle Ward, Manager of Programs and Social Services, Whittier Street Health Center
On Wednesday, June 29th, 2022, Whittier Street Health Center will honor National HIV Testing Day (June 27th) by encouraging everyone to get tested for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), the virus that causes AIDS. You can get tested in our Infectious Disease Special Population (IDSP) Department on the 3rd Floor, Green team any time between 9:00am – 4:30pm. Results are given in 20 minutes. Walk-ins are welcome or you may call (617) 308-0060 for an appointment.
The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested. Many people with HIV do not have any symptoms. Approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. have HIV. About 13 percent of them don’t know it and need testing.
Even if you do not feel sick, getting early treatment for HIV is important. Early treatment can help you live a longer, healthier life. Treatment can also make it less likely that you will pass HIV on to other people.
Am I at risk for HIV?
HIV is spread through some of the body’s fluids, like blood, semen (cum), vaginal fluids, and breast milk. HIV is passed from one person to another by:
- Having sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) without a condom or dental dam with a person who has HIV
- Sharing needles with someone who has HIV
- Breastfeeding, pregnancy, or childbirth if the mother has HIV
- Getting a transfusion of blood that’s infected with HIV (very rare in the United States)
Under the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010, insurance plans must cover HIV testing. Talk to your insurance company to learn more.
Free HIV testing is also available at some testing centers and health clinics.
At Whittier, we have created a unified model of care that integrates primary care with public health prevention to lessen the burden of HIV in Boston’s underserved and minority communities, and to decrease health care costs. Our IDSP department works with our primary care clinics to optimize our prevention and care continuum (early detection, treatment adherence, retention in care, viral load suppression and decreased hospitalizations).
For more information about our IDSP Department, please visit our webpage or call 617-989-3013.