HIV Testing & Linkage to Care
Know Your Status – Get Tested for HIV
Where can you be tested or linked to care by the JACQUES Initiative?
In partnership with local business and community partners, The JACQUES Initiative offers free HIV testing, linkage to care, and other health services at various sites in the community.
Click here to find out the locations and times of our "regular" sites. All are welcome. Services vary.
The Importance of HIV Testing
HIV testing represents an initial step in the Journey to Wellness. We understand the fears, stigma, and concerns around even being tested, but believe that regular testing is in everyone’s best interest. Consider the following two reasons:
- Personal health: HIV is a very treatable disease. Ignoring or hoping it will go away only allows the virus to cause further damage to your body. Your health is important to us. Everyone should be tested.
- Community health: It is believed that 54% of new sexually transmitted HIV infections are transmitted from those who are unaware of their status. This means that the best way to love your partner, your family, and your neighbors, is to be tested for HIV.
It is recommended that everyone be tested once a year for HIV. For those who have been tested before, we strongly encourage another test if you have participated in the following activities since your last test:
- Unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex
- Substance abuse, such as sharing any needles or 'works' including the water
- Body piercing
- Infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy or delivery, and through breast feeding. But entering treatment can substantially reduce the risk of spreading HIV to the child
Testing can be done several ways. One way is an oral test, by running a swab over your gums. The results are ready in twenty minutes. If this test comes back positive a second test is conducted, a blood test known as a western blot test, to confirm HIV (positive or negative) diagnosis.
Linkage to Care
Linkage and engagement in care are a critical step on the Journey to Wellness. Many people who know they have HIV are not receiving regular care for their disease. There are many reasons for this including fear, stigma and multiple barriers such as substance abuse, lack of housing or other psycho-social challenges that make regular care difficult. The JACQUES Initiative provides a Safe Place to work with a team of caring, dedicated staff who will help walk you through the process of not only getting into HIV care but overcoming the challenges that you face to staying in care.
For more information about HIV Testing and Linkage to Care Contact the JACQUES Initiative at 443-682-1401 to speak to a specialist.