Have you been thinking about getting tested for HIV and/or other STI’s but don’t know what to expect? Maybe it’s been awhile and you’re getting cold feet. That’s ok. Here at the Project we are here to help you feel comfortable and relaxed. Here are just a few insights into how our testing appointments work.
Confidential and judgment-free
When you come in for a testing appointment, we start by reviewing a couple of key points:
- Everything we talk about is confidential. Although state law requires us to report positive HIV/STI test results, our testing conversations are governed by HIPPA, which means we are held to the highest standards of confidentiality. We know your privacy is important and we take it seriously.
- We are a sex positive clinic. That means we support any consensual sexual behaviors you enjoy and practice.
- We are a judgment-free zone. We see all kinds of people who are sexually interested in all kinds of people! We feel strongly about the fact that each of our clients deserve dignity and respect. In short, no matter who you are or what you do, we think you’re pretty darn cool.
After we review these key points and answer any questions, we’ll ask you to complete a little paper work. This is primarily so we can be in touch in case any results require your attention.
Testing and results
Next, we take a brief sexual history. This helps us to make smart recommendations about which HIV/STI testing to do. The questions are pretty limited and we don’t ask any more than we have to in order to make good recommendations. Here is the testing we offer:
- HIV – We recommend everyone get tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime. People who have sex with new partners or more frequently should get tested once a year. Men who have sex with men, trans people, people who inject drugs, and others who may not use condoms should get tested every 3-4 months.
- Chlamydia and gonorrhea – These are common and easily treated sexually transmitted infections.
- Syphilis – This STI is more common in men. If not treated it can become very dangerous. Thankfully, it can be pretty easily treated.
- Hepatitis C. Hepatatis C testing is recommended for people who inject drugs or have partners who inject drugs.
- Genital herpes and HPV. We do not provide testing for these infections. That is because they can be hard to detect in a blood test and require a medical provider to provide a physical exam.
We’ll be able to provide you with preliminary results for HIV and Hepatitis C during your testing appointment. If a test returns positive while you’re with us, we’ll need to draw some additional blood and send it to the laboratory for confirmation. If this is the case, we’ll set you up for a follow-up appointment to review the results in person (HIV) or over the phone (Hepatitis C).
We are unable to provide a physical exam or treatment during your testing appointment. If you are experiencing symptoms and want to seek treatment, you can schedule an appointment with our medical clinics. Results for other STI’s can take up to a week. Usually, no news is good news. If we don’t call you, it means everything came back clear.
Healthy sex, PrEP, and free supplies
For people at risk of acquiring HIV, PrEP is a treatment that can reduce the risk of infection by up to 99% when taken daily! It’s hugely beneficial in the fight against HIV, and it can give you a lot of peace of mind when it comes to having healthy sex. We’ll walk you through the process, help you schedule an appointment with a medical provider, and walk you through ways to pay for the medication. In fact, most of our patients don’t pay anything for PrEP.
Do you know the five body fluids that can transmit HIV? Did you know that someone living with HIV who is on effective treatment cannot pass on HIV? We’ll talk about these and other basic facts so you can make smart choices.
Oh! And don’t forget, all the free condoms and lube you could ask for. (Don’t be shy, take as much as you want.) We also offer free bleach kits and sharps containers.
We’re here to help
We know getting tested for HIV and other STI’s can be scary. We do everything we can to help you feel at ease and comfortable. Remember, we’ve heard most every kind of background story, situation, or concern you bring to us, and we’re normal people just like you. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll find someone who does. We also have an onsite behavior health consultant for urgent mental health needs and medical providers if your in an emergency. We have strong connections to local social services like domestic violence centers, housing support, and harm reduction organizations. We’re here for you.