Confidential HIV/AIDS Counseling and Testing
TAN provides FREE confidential HIV/AIDS counseling and testing:
The Prevention and testing center is located at 1495 N. 7th Street in Beaumont. The office is open M-T 9:30-11:30 for walk-ins, all other times by appt., Tuesday evenings we are open until 7pm for testing.
If you are unable to come in during these hours, feel free to call (409) 832-8648 and we will be happy to make other arrangements to provide the counseling and testing that you may need, or to ask about other testing venues.
Should you get an HIV test?
If you have engaged in risky behavior, the only way to tell if you have HIV is by getting the HIV antibody test. The HIV antibody test is not a test for AIDS. It tests for antibodies to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. If you have HIV antibodies, it means that you are infected with HIV and that you can infect others.
What is considered risky behavior?
HIV is present in BLOOD, SEMEN, VAGINAL SECRETIONS, and BREAST MILK. If any of these fluids from another person get inside of your body, you are at some risk for HIV. HIV must get into your bloodstream. Activities that involve the exchange of these body fluids include sharing needles, sex, or pregnancy. THERE IS NOT A RISK of getting HIV from another person's SALIVA, URINE, FECES, OR PHLEGM. You can't get HIV from animals, either.
Why get tested?
If you know you have HIV, you can take steps to protect your health. There are clear benefits to early treatment, even though there is no cure for HIV infection. People with HIV can add years and quality to their lives by getting help early. Knowing you have HIV infection will help you weigh the benefits of having children. It also will help you protect your sexual partner(s) from HIV infection.
Who should get tested?
The Public Health Service recommends that you get tested if you have engaged in any of these risky behaviors since 1978:
Had any sexually transmitted diseases (not a behavior)
Shared needles for injecting drugs
Are a man who has had sex with another man
Had sex with a male or female prostitute, or if you
Had sex with anyone who has done any of these things.
Received a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985, or
Have tuberculosis (TB) disease or have tested positive for TB infection and meet any of the above criteria.
When should you get tested?
The HIV antibodies don't form in your body immediately after being exposed. You should wait three months after you think you were exposed before getting the test. During this waiting period, it is important that you avoid any risky behaviors that would cause another exposure.
About the test:
At TAN's AIDS Counseling & Testing program, an HIV counselor will help you decide if you should get tested. If you decide to take the test, a small amount of blood will be drawn from your arm or finger. The blood will then be sent to a laboratory for testing.
Your test result will be back from the laboratory about two weeks after you take the test. It is important that you return to the test site for the result. If you decide to test without giving us your name, address or phone, and don't return for the result, there is absolutely no way for us to give your results to you. Your test result cannot be given to you over the phone, only in person.
What do the test results mean?
The HIV test is very accurate. All positive tests are repeated and confirmed before the result is given to you. A positive test result means that you are infected with HIV and that you can infect others. It does not mean that you have AIDS. People with HIV can live with good health for many years with no signs of illness.
If you test positive, the HIV counselor will refer you to TAN's case management and other organizations in the community that can help you. You will be encouraged to tell your sex or needle partners about the infection. This can be done for you by trained health professionals if you choose.
You also will be referred for a medical exam to check your health status. You will want to know what treatment choices there are. Early treatment has helped many HIV-positive people remain healthy and delay symptoms of AIDS.
Women who test HIV-positive and are pregnant (or are considering pregnancy), should talk to their doctor about the risks. HIV can be passed to the baby during pregnancy, at birth, or through breast feeding. Pregnant women who are HIV-positive can take AZT or other drugs, which can reduce the risk of transmission of HIV from the mother to the baby. With medical intervention transmission rates may be reduced to under 2%.
A negative result does not mean that you don't have the virus. There is a chance that you have HIV, but your body has not yet made the antibodies that can be found by the test. You may have to repeat the test later. Ask the counselor if you should have the test repeated.
A negative test result does not mean you are immune from HIV. You can still get infected if you practice risky behaviors, but you can prevent getting infected!