Prevention = Testing
Call (617) 533-2228 to talk with a prevention specialist
Know your status! The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested.
Harbor Health’s THRIVE Clinic offers FREE, confidential HIV rapid testing with results in 20 minutes or less. Our kind and caring prevention specialists provide risk counseling and support before, during, and after HIV testing.
They also talk about how an HIV test works and answer questions like:
- What do I do if my test comes back positive?
- What do I do if my test comes back negative?
- What are my chances of getting HIV?
The THRIVE Clinic offers HIV testing by appointment or walk-in. We can also help connect you to HIV testing and prevention resources in your community.
Why Should You Get An HIV Test? Knowledge Is Power!
Knowing your HIV status helps you choose options to stay healthy and protect your partners.
About 1 in 7 people in the U.S. have HIV and do not know they have it.
People with HIV may not experience symptoms at first. Even without symptoms, the virus can still spread through sex and sharing of needles. Testing helps stop the virus from spreading to other people.
Untreated HIV can turn into AIDS
If you have HIV and you don’t know it, the virus can hurt your immune system and turn into AIDS. Early detection means you can get the treatment you need to manage the virus.
How Often Should You Get Tested?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care.
People who may be more vulnerable to HIV exposure should get tested more often. A general rule for those with risk factors is to get tested one a year. Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent testing, such as every 3 to 6 months.
According to the CDC, you should get an HIV test as soon as possible if you were HIV-negative the last time you were tested, the test was more than one year ago, and can answer yes to any of the following questions:
- Are you a man who has had sex with another man?
- Have you had sex—anal or vaginal—with a partner who has HIV?
- Have you had more than one sex partner since your last HIV test?
- Have you injected drugs and shared needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment (for example, cookers) with others?
- Have you exchanged sex for drugs or money?
- Have you been diagnosed with or treated for another sexually transmitted disease?
- Have you been diagnosed with or treated for hepatitis or tuberculosis (TB)?
- Have you had sex with someone who could answer yes to any of the above questions or someone whose sexual history you don’t know?
You should get tested as soon as possible if you are concerned that they have been recently exposed to HIV. Contact your healthcare provider right away.
How to Get Tested
The THRIVE Clinic offers FREE and confidential HIV rapid testing.
We offer two options for testing. One is an oral swab test and the other is a finger stick test. Please do not eat or drink anything 30 minutes before your appointment for the oral swab test.
If you cannot come to the clinic or need help at another time, please call us and we will connect you with other options.
What to Do If Your Test Is Positive
If your test is positive, we can connect you to care at Harbor Health or help you talk to your regular primary care provider.
Care Provided by Harbor Health
We will help you:
- Schedule follow up lab tests. We will schedule follow up confirmatory lab tests immediately.
- Schedule primary care appointments. We will help schedule follow-up appointments with a care provider within 24 hours.
- Get additional support from medical case management. The medical case management team will help you find the resources that you need. Visit HIV Support Services to learn more about Medical Case Management.
Care by Other Providers
If you prefer to speak with your regular primary care provider, THRIVE clinic staff can provide information to help you talk with your provider, schedule appointments, and lab tests. We will follow up with you in 72 hours to make sure that you have seen a health care provider.
What to Do If Your Test Is Negative
If your test is negative tests, our prevention specialists can help you learn about ways to protect yourself from HIV. They can talk with you about PrEP, provider free safer sex supplies, and offer other community resources.
Have More Questions About HIV Testing?
If you have more questions about HIV testing, please call Harbor Health’s THRIVE Clinic at (617) 533-2228.
You can also watch the videos below to hear from people who get tested regularly.