Knowing your status means knowing whether or not you're HIV positive, and is important for your health. While it's important for your own well-being, it's also critical to share your status with your sex partner(s).
Know Your Status
In order to know your status, you have to get tested for HIV/AIDS. HIV tests are typically fast, free, and confidential. You can get one at Apicha CHC by requesting an appointment here.
Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help you take steps to keep you and your partner healthy.
Your sexual behaviors play a large factor in how often you should be tested, as well as whether or not you are part of a group that is particularly high risk.
Everyone should get tested annually if have been sexually active in the last year. Other reasons you might need to get tested include sharing needles or other drug injection paraphernalia, or if you have had another STI/STD in the past year.
If you’re having sex with multiple partners or engaging in other risk behaviors, you should get tested every 3 to 6 months. This is important because, in New York State, about 1 in 10 people who have HIV are unaware they are infected, so you or your partners could be unknowingly passing on the infection.
Know The Signs of Early HIV
Early HIV is the first stage of HIV, right after HIV infection occurs.
During early HIV, the virus is reproducing very rapidly and HIV can be easily passed to others via sex or sharing injection equipment.
Early signs of HIV are sometimes called acute HIV infection.
Signs and Symptoms of Early HIV:
- Sore throat
- Swollen glands
- Joint and muscle aches
- Mouth sores
These symptoms can begin 2 to 4 weeks after you are infected and can last for just a few days or weeks. Because the signs and symptoms of early HIV infection are similar to that of other common illnesses like the cold or flu, testing for HIV becomes even more important to the health of you and your partner.
For The Love Of Your Partner
Even though it may not be an easy decision to make, communicating with your partner(s) about your HIV status means you can take steps to keep both of you healthy and protected.
If you're nervous about disclosing your test result, you can ask your doctor or the local health department to help you tell your partner(s) that they might have been exposed to HIV. Health departments do not reveal your name, they will only tell your partner(s) that they have been exposed to HIV and should get tested.
The more practice and knowledge you have on disclosing your HIV status, the more prepared you will be. There are an abundance of resources that can help you learn ways to disclose your status to your partners, like the CDC's Start Talking. Stop HIV. campaign. Find additional tips on how to best share your status here and here.
Don't let your financial situation put yourself and others at risk. Apicha CHC offers affordable, sliding scale STD/HIV testing at their clinic in Manhattan.
Not in NYC? Use this locator to find a testing center near you.
Prevent The Spread
As science and technology evolve, so does the number of prevention methods for HIV. If you think you are at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, or want to put your and your partner's minds at ease, consider these prevention options:
If You Are HIV Negative
If you are HIV negative, talk to your medical provider about pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. PrEP greatly decreases your likelihood of contracting HIV.
In many studies, individuals who consistently took PrEP were 92% less likely to contract HIV. PrEP also has few side effects, with the most severe recorded side effects being upset stomach or loss of appetite.
Learn more about PrEP and how Apicha CHC can help you get it here.
If You Are HIV Positive
If you are HIV positive, the best way to prevent passing on the infection is to start HIV treatment. Not only will HIV treatments like antiretroviral therapy (ART) decrease your risk of passing on HIV, it will help you lead a normal life.
If You Are Sexually Active
Whether you are HIV positive or negative, you should ALWAYS use protection if you're sexually active. Not only will protection like latex condoms decrease your risk of HIV infection or your risk of passing on infection, it will also protect you against pregnancy or other kinds of STIs/STDs.
There are more HIV prevention options than ever before. Start talking about the options that work for you, and for the love of your partner, know your status.
How Apicha CHC Can Help You
At Apicha CHC, we are very proud of our viral load suppression rate for all our patients, the number of our patients on PrEP, and the number of people we get tested.
Our healthcare providers are specialists in HIV prevention, treatment, and care. If you come for testing and remain for care at our community health center, you will receive consistent treatment from a healthcare provider who can attend to all of your health needs including HIV.
There are three ways we can help:
1. HIV Testing
We provide completely confidential HIV testing services at Apicha CHC. To sign up for our HIV Testing services, click here and select HIV/STD testing from the drop down.
2. We can get you PrEP
If you become part of Apicha CHC's PrEP Program, you will be assigned a medical provider at Apicha CHC who will assess whether PrEP is right for you and will prescribe you Truvada as PrEP.
Our PrEP staff can also help you:
- Enroll in insurance or sign you up for special PrEP cost programs
- Set up your appointments
- Remind you when your pills are running out
- You can easily pick-up your prescription at Apicha CHC's brand new in-house pharmacy or you can use our free delivery service!
You can request an appointment to get started on PrEP here. Be sure to select appointment type as "Access to PrEP/PEP".
3. Become a part of our HIV Clinic
If you know you're HIV-positive and don't currently have a medical provider or aren't happy with the one you do have, feel free to become a part of the Apicha CHC family.
You can request an appointment here. Be sure to select appointment type as "Primary Medical Care".