The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other healthcare agencies, including Swope Health Services, are partnering to raise awareness about HIV with National HIV Testing Day on June 27.
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system and is spread through body fluids.
This virus can lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, better known as AIDS.
It’s important to know if you have the virus so you can be treated. It’s important because once you have HIV, the virus stays in your body forever.
It’s important because there is no cure for AIDS, but it can be controlled with proper care.
“At SHS, HIV testing is available every day,” said Dan Gillen, Nurse Practitioner in Adult Medicine, and Director of Medical Informatics. “We encourage everyone to get tested. It is important to know if you are HIV positive so you can start treatment and prevent giving HIV to others.”
He continued, “Once you know your HIV status, you can make decisions based on facts. If you test negative for HIV – you don’t have HIV – you can make healthy decisions to avoid getting HIV. If you test positive for HIV – you have HIV – you can get connected to the resources and providers to help treat it as soon as possible.”
SHS partners with the Kansas City CARE Clinic, which specializes in HIV and AIDS primary care.
Services include disease monitoring and treatment, clinical and behavioral research and a range of supporting services like health education, peer support, counseling and case management.
HIV testing is important also because more than a million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, but one in seven of them don’t know they have it, according to HIV.gov.
And, the CDC reports that African Americans account for a higher percentage of HIV and AIDS diagnoses compared to other racial or ethnic populations.
If you are interested in learning your HIV status, come in for a visit. HIV testing is available during regular hours with a walk-in or scheduled appointment.
The test is fast and confidential, and takes only a small amount of blood to screen for antibodies, the telltale signs of the virus. If the test is positive, typically a second test is ordered to make sure. Testing is covered by most insurance programs and may be free to qualified individuals.
Call 816-923-5800 to make an appointment or walk-in and talk with your provider about any questions you have about HIV and AIDS. We’re here to help.