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The Prevention Services Team at Positive Link offers a wide variety of programs designed to reach individuals at risk for HIV infection throughout our region. Early intervention of HIV infection can make a drastic difference in the health outcomes for the individual infected. By promoting education and testing in at-risk populations, Positive Link assists individuals in determining their HIV status and educating the community on ways in which risk for infection can be reduced.
Staff from Positive Link are available to provide group level educational presentations on HIV, STIs, and Hepatitis. While we are unable to fulfill every request for a speaker, we will do our best to provide your organization or group with education. Our primary target audiences for outreach education are those with substance use issues, men who have sex with men, and African American females.
COUNSELING, TESTING, AND REFERRAL
Positive Link offers free testing for HIV antibody testing to anyone in the community. We suggest those who have access to primary health care receive testing through their physician, but do not require this. Positive Link uses a variety of FDA approved screening tests, which may include:
- Phlebotomy (blood draw) Test – this test takes two weeks for results, but provides a Western Blot confirmatory of result
- OraQuick Rapid Test – this test uses an oral swab and results are achieved in 20 minutes.
- Chembio Rapid Test – this test uses a finger stick and results are achieved in 20 minutes
Positive Link provides most testing at sites in our community. Limited walk-in hours and appointments are available at our office. For more information on testing hours and locations, please call 812.353.9150 or 812.353.3169.
SHOULD I BE TESTED FOR HIV?
It is recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that all adults between the ages of 18 and 64 be tested for HIV through their physician during annual physicals. However, we are aware that not all physicians currently follow this guidance. It is recommended that people with the following risks be tested for HIV
- Having unprotected sex (anal, vaginal, or oral) with an HIV-infected person,
- Have contracted other sexually transmitted infections and have not been tested for HIV (the presences of other STIs makes it easier to transmit the HIV virus
- Sharing needles, syringes, rinse water or other equipment with another injection drug user
WHEN SHOULD I GET TESTED?
Because Positive Link uses antibody testing, a positive result will not show immediately. While there are variances in each individual, a standard guideline to follow is that antibodies will not typically be present in the blood for up to 28 days. For most people, antibodies will appear sometime between 1 and 3 months. Outliers may not have antibodies appear for up to 6 months. (For example, if a person were infected today, they would not test positive for HIV antibodies until at least 1 month from now, likely within 3 months, but perhaps not until 6 months from now).
In addition to testing for HIV, Positive Link offers testing for Hepatitis C and Syphilis for persons with risk factors for infection.
COMPREHENSIVE RISK COUNSELING SERVICES
CRCS is a Center for Disease Control program providing short-term, risk reduction case management to decrease the spread of HIV disease. Case managers can work with either individuals who are currently HIV negative but are engaging in behaviors that increase their risk for HIV or individuals who are currently HIV positive and are engaging in behaviors that increase their risk of spreading the disease to others.
SPECIAL POPULATION SUPPORT PROGRAM
SPSP is a program to provide early disease intervention for those in our community using substances. SPSP staff provides education and testing at locations where the substance using community may congregate, decreasing the barriers to health care for that population. This program is active in 2 regions, both Bloomington and surrounding areas as well as Terre Haute and the surrounding areas. In addition, Supportive Care counseling is available for people living with HIV who struggle with substance use or abuse (see Client Services for more information on Supportive Care.