When it comes to HIV, you can’t rely on symptoms to know whether or not you have the virus. In fact, you can look and feel perfectly healthy and still have HIV.
That’s because HIV often has no symptoms. Tis means the only way to know your status for sure is to get tested.
“The good news is getting tested for HIV is quick, easy and confidential,” Melissa Brennan, Family Planning’s Director of Health Center Operations, said.
And for the next week at Family Planning — it’s also free.
In honor of World AIDS Day, observed annually on Dec. 1, Family Planning of South Central New York will offer free rapid HIV testing and counseling from Monday, Dec. 2 through Friday, Dec. 6 at four of our five local medical centers.
Those center locations include:
Binghamton: 117 Hawley Street
Norwich: 5 Cortland Street
Oneonta: 37 Dietz Street
Sidney: 37 Pleasant Street (Tuesday only)
The test is a painless finger prick for a drop of blood. Results are ready in only a matter of minutes. Patients also receive counseling on how to identify and reduce their risk of HIV infection.
“Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help you take steps to keep you and your partner healthy,” Brennan said.
In addition to offering rapid testing, Family Planning also offers PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, to help prevent HIV infection.
PrEP is for people who do not have HIV but remain at risk for getting the infection from sex, such as an HIV negative person with an HIV positive partner, or injectable drug use.
The medication, one pill a day, can stop the virus from taking hold and spreading throughout the body.
“But it all starts with knowing your status,” Brennan said. “Don’t wonder. Know.”