BACKGROUND: With an estimated 1-in-5 HIV-positive Americans unaware of their infection, increased opportunities for testing are critical. Worldwide, 2.6 million people were newly infected with HIV and 1.8 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2009. Populations most at risk of HIV infection include injecting drug users, sex workers, men who have sex with men and transgender people. This same population also has the least access to much needed HIV prevention, treatment and care services. (SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
20 MINUTE TESTING: The saliva test is as easy to use as a home-pregnancy kit and is as accurate as the blood tests. Typical HIV tests require a vial of blood and are sent to a laboratory that returns results in 2 to 14 days. With saliva testing, a toothbrush-like device is inserted into the mouth and gently scraped and the saliva is tested for the presence of HIV antibodies. In 20 minutes time, results are available. If one line appears on the strip, it means that the person is not infected with HIV. If two lines appear, the person is likely infected. If the result is positive, it has to be confirmed with an additional, more specific test that can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Like the standard blood antibody tests, you must wait 6 months after your last possible exposure to the virus for the most accurate test result. (SOURCE: World Health Organization)
MOBILE PREVENTION: More than 33 million people were living with HIV worldwide in 2009. As rates of HIV infections continue to rise in many parts of the country, mobile testing units have been blossoming, driving from city to city offering free HIV testing. Gaining access to these rural and inner-city communities where adolescents and adults are typically hard-to-reach has proven quite beneficial. These mobile units are able to provide knowledge of one's HIV status and encourage people to make informed personal choices and decisions about prevention and care. (SOURCE: www.stopaids.org)
NOW WHAT?: One of the lynchpins of so-called mobile prevention is the link these units hold with stand-alone labs across the country, and thusly an integrated network of counselors. Once test results are returned as “positive” – those diagnosed meet with a counselor immediately, while their test results are confirmed in a stand-alone lab. This approach provides a quick and accurate response.
ï€ª For More Information, Contact:
Bambi Gaddist, DPH
South Caolina HIV/AIDS Council
(Information provided by: Ivanhoe)
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