BG Daily News (Bowling Green, KY) (01.09.13)
The Barren River District Health Department in Bowling Green, Ky., is increasing its HIV testing to include the Medical Center Health and Wellness Center at Chandler Park. In 2010, the Barren River Area Development District recorded 265 cases of HIV and AIDS, with 139 of them located in Warren County. Beginning Friday, January 11, the center will begin providing free testing from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the second Friday of each month. Individuals must pre-register to be tested; those who are interested should call (270) 745–0942 or (270) 781–8039, extension 154 for more information.
The center offers rapid testing in which a gum swab is used to find HIV antibodies in the body. Results are available in 20 minutes. While awaiting results, center staff discusses risk factors and possible results, asking how the people being tested may have gotten HIV. By asking these questions, health educator Ashley Lillard explains that staff can detect a person’s level of risk and develop a risk reduction plan for them. Risk factors include having sex, having sex with multiple partners, or coming into contact with blood. Lillard emphasizes that the test is especially important for men having sex with men, particularly African-American men, who are among the fastest growing population with HIV/AIDS. She urges people to take charge of their health by getting the correct health education information.
Even if the test does show antibodies, it cannot be termed “positive” until a confirmation test is performed in Frankfort, Ky., for which results take 7 to 11 days. Staff meets with the person one-on-one regardless of the test’s outcome. An indeterminate or invalid test signifies there is either another virus in the body or something is wrong with the test. Those who receive such results must return for testing in four to six weeks. Center staff emphasizes, in regard to people engaging in risk factors, that negative test results do not indicate that the person does not have HIV. It is possible the body has not made HIV antibodies yet—a process that could take weeks. Staff recommends that these people get re-tested in three months.
HIV testing is still available at the health department. The cost is $5. For more information about HIV, call CDC-INFO at (800) 232–4636, or visit www.cdc.gov/hiv.