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 an infection.

That’s because HIV often has no symptoms. And this means the only way to know your status for sure is to get tested.

“It’s all about the power of knowing: knowing your vulnerability, knowing your status and knowing your prevention and treatment options,” Allison Swift, N.P., Family Planning’s Director of Patient Services, said. “Thankfully, getting tested for HIV is quick, easy and confidential.”

And for all this week at Family Planning — it’s also free.

Free Testing Week

In observance of National HIV Testing Day on June 27, Family Planning of South Central New York will offer free confidential rapid HIV testing and counseling for the entire week — from Monday, June 21 through Friday, June 25 — at the independent nonprofit’s local medical centers.

Those center locations include:

  • Oneonta: 37 Dietz Street

  • Norwich: 5 Cortland Street

  • Binghamton: 117 Hawley Street

  • Sidney: 37 Pleasant Street (Tuesday only)

The rapid 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 to an HIV infection,” Swift said.

One Pill A Day

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; however, remain vulnerable to 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.

“We have the power to stop HIV — with PrEP and other tools,” Swift said. “But prevention and treatment starts at square one: knowing your status. So talk with us. We’re here.”