Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Testing
Red Door Services of the Hennepin County Public Health Clinic include 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) and only requires a drop of blood from your finger.
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.
HOW DO I CHECK IN?
HIV testing is available on a walk-in basis or by appointment. Appointments are available Tuesday through Friday. When you arrive at the clinic, let the receptionist know you are here for HIV testing and they will get you registered and start a private, confidential medical file for you.
We also offer STD testing, available alongside
confidential 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. More information about your privacy can be obtained during the registration process at the clinic.
WHAT QUESTIONS WILL I BE ASKED?
You will meet with a clinician who can answer your questions about HIV and 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. 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, we are unable to provide testing to individuals more than once every three months.
If the sexual risk you are worried about was less than 3 months ago, it may be too soon to test. It takes 3 months to get a highly accurate test (97% accuracy at 3 months). If you have sex or share needles with someone known to be HIV-positive, you are welcome to return at 6 months to receive an additional test (99.7% accuracy at 6 months).
If you or your partner have had unprotected sex or shared needles in the last month or two, it may be too early to test.
It is important to know that HIV takes over 5-10 years on average to significantly affect a person's immune system, and is therefore not diagnosed by symptoms. You cannot tell by looking at someone if they have HIV. The only way to know if you have HIV is to get a test.
If you 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.
WHAT IF MY HIV TEST IS REACTIVE (POSITIVE)?
If the test result is positive, you will be counseled by your clinician about what the test result means. A confirmatory blood draw will be taken and a recommendation to do full STD testing will be made.
Staff in the CAPS Program (a Red Door program for newly diagnosed HIV+ individuals) as well as the HIM Program (a Red Door program for gay and bisexual men) 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 also what community support services are available.
The "Positive Perspectives" HIV Aftercare Support Group , facilitated by the CAPS Program, is available to those who test positive, with a special focus on chemical health and recovery from addiction. CAPS Staff will conduct a brief, confidential pre-registration or can refer you to other support groups and services near you.
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, but your cooperation helps MDH accurately track new HIV infections. Your information will not be released outside of MDH (even within MDH very few people have access to the information). Please ask the person conducting your test if you are unsure about how to proceed.
Check out InSPOT for tools to help you notify your partners if you test positive for HIV. You can send them an E-card either with your information or anonymously.
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 unsafe 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.