HIM program staff are able to offer Clearview Rapid HIV 1/2 Antibody Testing. This rapid HIV test, like other traditional HIV antibody tests, detects the presence of HIV antibodies in a person's body. The test is highly accurate (99.7% accurate) three months after your last risk (such as unprotected anal, vagina and/or oral sex) and only requires a drop of blood from your finger. Results are available in 20 minutes.
Reactive (positive) HIV tests are confirmed by blood draw, with confirmatory results available in two weeks. HIV test results are never mailed or given to a patient over the phone.
HIV testing is available on a walk-in basis at the clinic, but you can schedule an appointment with HIM Program staff to avoid long waits in the lobby. When you arrive at the clinic for your appointment, let the receptionist know you are here for an appointment with HIM staff and they will get you registered for confidential testing.
CAN I GET TESTED FOR SYPHILIS AT THE SAME TIME?
Yes. In response to the recent rise of syphilis in the Twin Cities gay/bi men's community, HIM Program staff are able to provide both syphilis and rapid HIV testing in the same appointment. Syphilis testing is only available during confidential testing, so if you opt to test anonymously for HIV, then you will need to set up another appointment to get tested for syphilis.
We also tag team with nurse practitioners at the clinic to offer full STD exams, available alongside confidential HIV and syphilis testing (but not with anonymous HIV testing).
HOW IS MY PRIVACY PROTECTED?
Your privacy is very important to us. Any and all information you provide during your visit is kept private and protected by Data Practices Law and HIPPA regulations. During a confidential visit, copies or your results are available after signing an information disclosure form available at the front desk. We do not mail you anything from our clinic. We do not call you from our clinic (so don't forget to call us for your results!).
More information about your privacy can be obtained by contacting HIM Program staff or during the registration process at the clinic.
WHAT QUESTIONS WILL I BE ASKED?
You will meet with someone from the HIM Program who can answer your questions about HIV, syphilis, STDs, gay/bi men's sexual health, safer sex and other related issues. You will be asked to provide general information about yourself, drug use, sexual practices, and other activities that might put you at risk for HIV and other STDs.
This information will help us provide the best counseling around your risk and assess whether this test is a good test for you (i.e. outside of the three month window period for HIV testing).
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I TEST?
If you are sexually active, it is recommended that you get screened for HIV on an annual basis. HIV is spread through unprotected anal, vaginal and oral sex, so depending on your risk (how many partners, condom use, etc.), a person may need to test more frequently than once per year.
However, because of limited resources, we can't test individuals more than once every three months.
HIV takes over 5-10 years on average to significantly affect a person's immune system, and is therefore not diagnosed by symptoms. The only way to know if you have HIV is to get a test.
If you've had a recent risk or currently exhibiting symptoms and have questions regarding when you should get tested, contact us.
WHAT IS THE COST OF AN HIV TEST?
A donation of $20 is requested for an HIV test, though no one is ever turned away due to an inability to pay. Finances should never prevent someone from seeking sexual health services at our clinic.
WHAT IF MY HIV TEST IS REACTIVE (POSITIVE)?
If the test result is positive, you will be counseled by HIM Program staff about what the test result means. A confirmatory blood draw will be taken and a recommendation to do syphilis and full STD testing will be made.
In addition to the HIM Program, staff in the CAPS Program (a Red Door program for newly diagnosed HIV+ individuals) are available to provide brief emotional support and go over questions about seeking medical care, followup, insurance, management of your HIV infection, telling people in your life, sexual safety and what community support services are available.
Whether you test confidentially or anonymously, we are required by law to report all positive test results to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). If your test is positive, we will ask you for personal information, including your name, address and birth date. You are not required to give this information if you test anonymously, but your cooperation helps MDH accurately track new HIV infections. Your information will not be released outside of MDH as they are bound by the same medical privacy laws as our clinic and even within MDH very few people have access to the information. Please ask the person conducting your test if you are unsure about which test to choose. They are here to help you decide which test is best for you.
HOW DO I TELL MY PARTNERS I TESTED POSITIVE?
Telling your sexual partners you have tested positive for HIV is an important step in helping control new infections in our community.
It might not be easy, but HIM Program staff are happy to provide referrals for partner notification services, as well as help strategize around talking to sexual partners (whether someone you've been partnered to for 10 years or someone you met online last week).
Check out InSPOT to notify your partners if you test positive for HIV. You can send them an E-card either with your information or anonymously. Also, partner notification services are available through the Minnesota Department of Health. Call them at 651.201.4021 to get help notifying your partners.
WHAT IF MY HIV TEST IS NON-REACTIVE (NEGATIVE)?
The test looks for antibodies to HIV. If a person was infected with HIV the body can take three to six months to make the antibodies. This period of time a person has to wait to get an accurate HIV test is also known as the "window period." At three months, an HIV test has an accuracy of 97% and is the recommended guideline by the CDC for getting tested after a risk for HIV. The full 99.7% accuracy is achieved at six months.
If your last risk for HIV (such as unprotected sex or needle sharing) was less than three months ago, it is uncertain whether you have HIV. Another test would be recommended at three months to close your window period.
If your last risk for HIV was more than three months ago, you are not HIV infected. If there is a known risk for HIV and you test negative at three months, it is recommended to get a follow up test at six months to verify your HIV status.