All HIV testing is done in conjunction with counseling about sexual risks for HIV and STDs. We will do an assessment with you about what you know about sexually transmitted diseases and what you perceive your risks for infection to be. We can answer any questions you might have about risks and ways to reduce or eliminate risks. This counseling occurs while you are waiting for your test result.
- RAPID-HIV: Blood test with results in 15 minutes!
- SYPHILIS: Blood test with results in 2 weeks!
frequently asked questions about HIV testing
Why should I get an HIV test?
Everyone, and we mean everyone, should find out their HIV status. It’s the only way to know if you have HIV, to know if someone else has HIV in its early stages. The HIV virus can live in our bodies for a very long time before any symptoms appear, 10-12 years on average.
Do I have the Flu or HIV?
A few weeks after infection, people often develop symptoms similar to those of the flu. This may last for a week, and then they are symptom free. That’s why many people who become infected don’t know they are infected; they simply think they had a bad case of the flu. Fever, swollen lymph glands, fatigue, and night sweats. Sometimes a rash across the abdomen. Get tested. Find out whether you had a flu virus or have the HIV virus. And remember, not everyone develops those symptoms after infection.
If I got infected last night, will it show up on a test today?
Not on the test we do. When a person is infected with the virus, at first the body is stunned. Think of your body and the virus as two different countries. One day, without warning, one country attacks. The other is stunned, and it takes a while to marshal forces for a counterattack. 25 days on average. And then the body reacts by producing antibodies to fight the infection. That’s what we are testing for, the antibodies. For some people, it can take up to three months for the body to start producing those antibodies. That’s why we recommend testing anytime after an exposure (to semen, blood, or vaginal fluid) and then again 3 months after exposure. But remember: every time you have an exposure, that three month clock starts ticking all over again.
How often should I get an HIV test?
For some people, it can take up to three months for the body to start producing those antibodies. That’s why we recommend testing anytime after an exposure (to semen, blood, or vaginal fluid) and then again 3 months after exposure. But remember: every time you have an exposure, that three month clock starts ticking again.
What does a Rapid test involve?
It involves a pin prick on the tip of your finger for a drop of blood that is placed in a vial of solution with a test strip. The test strip is checked in 15 minutes, and if HIV antibodies are detected in the blood sample, your test result is labeled a preliminary positive. In this case we follow up the test with an Orasure test to confirm the preliminary finding. The Orasure test is done at our site and then sent off to a lab for results. Results are returned to us in three working days.
There are tests that can determine very soon after exposure if a person is infected with HIV. Those tests look for the virus itself, not the antibodies. But those tests are more expensive and, because they require more sophisticated testing equipment, are available only through physicians and hospitals.
When can I get a test?
The Project staff do walk-in testing on Tuesdays from 11am – 7pm (closed between 2pm - 3pm) and Fridays from 11am - 3pm.
How much does it cost?
It’s free. Our funding for testing is provided through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Can I test Anonymous?
No. State regulations require that all Rapid Tests must include the person’s name, address, and phone number. These confidential test results are linked to you and reported to the state health department, who by public law cannot reveal your test results to anyone without your written permission.
Why do you say that a negative HIV test result does not mean I am HIV negative now?
Because if you were infected, let’s say a couple weeks before your HIV test, and your body had not yet started producing antibodies to fight the infection (25 days on average), your test result would be HIV-negative even though you were HIV-positive. And some people take up to three months for their bodies to produce antibodies to fight the infection. That’s why we keep saying you can never really know if a partner is HIV-negative. Even if he got an HIV-negative test result that very day, it doesn’t cover his last three months. The only way to know is to (1) have him get tested, (2) make sure he has no exposure in the next three months, and (3) have him get tested again. Number 2 is the tricky part in that program. Kinda hard to enforce. That’s why we say: Regard every partner as HIV-positive. Don’t expose yourself to anyone else’s blood, semen, or vaginal fluid.
What if I am found to be HIV+?
We will talk with you about what that means for you, what your support systems are, what you know about the current state of medical treatment for HIV. We will provide you with referrals to local HIV medical specialists who can assess your current immune system functioning and advise you on the best treatement program for you. We can also refer you to a case manager who can help with insurance and financial assistance if needed. We have therapist referrals as well for persons who want to explore the ways HIV may impact their lives.
Do you provide any support services for HIV+ people?
Yes. Please visit our Support page for more information.
Who should get a syphilis test?
You should get tested regularly if you are pregnant, are a man who has sex with men, have HIV infection, and/or have partner(s) who have tested positive for syphilis.
What does the syphilis test involve?
We do a blood draw, called veni-puncture, from your arm (same process as if you were at your doctor's office).
How long does it take?
How much does it cost?
As with our Rapid HIV test, the syphilis test is free of charge.
How long does it take to receive the results?
Typically, it can take up to 2 weeks for the lab to process the result. We will only contact you if the test result is positive.
For more information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Disease Prevention Syphilis website.