Prevention and Testing
The first step of prevention is understanding how the virus is transmitted.
HIV is transmitted through contact with blood, semen, pre-cum, vaginal secretions, and breast milk.
Sexual Activity is the primary mode of transmission. If you’re going to have sex, make it safe!
- Ask your partner’s HIV status
- Always use latex condoms from beginning to end of sex, regardless of status, if you’re not in a faithful, monogamous relationship
- Use a different condom for each sex act
- Use dental dams for oral sex
- Use finger condoms (or gloves) for finger sex
- These are provided by the health department
Alternatives to Having Sex
Be sure not to touch your partner’s genitals after touching your own if there was contact with any sexual fluids.
Make certain that neither you nor your partner have any open sores or cuts in the mouth, since the virus is transmitted through blood. Closed mouth kissing is always safe.
Body to body rubbing is safe as long as no fluids are exchanged.
This activity stimulates the mind and the body without posing any risk of transmission.
HIV is also transmitted through blood and blood products:
Don’t share drug injection equipment
If you must share equipment, clean it with water and bleach before each use.
Protect open sores, cuts, your mouth and eyes from exposure to blood
Even small amounts of blood in fluids like saliva, which usually does not cause
transmission, can infect a person if it passes directly into the bloodstream
HIV can be transmitted from a mother to her baby:
Take antiretroviral medication (ARV’s) if you are a pregnant woman and tell your healthcare provider about your status to minimize the risk of transmitting the virus to your baby, especially during delivery.
You should also abstain from breastfeeding, as the virus is passed through breast milk.
Use Good Judgment
Be careful when using drugs or alcohol
When alcohol or drugs are added to a sexual situation, the risk of contracting HIV
greatly increases. This is because alcohol affects judgment and decreases
inhibitions, allowing a person to do things that they wouldn’t do when sober.
Whether you’ve been using Prevention Techniques or not...
So many people are living with the virus that causes HIV/AIDS and do not know it. Thus, we are spreading the virus unknowingly to our wives, husbands, lovers, friends, as well as strangers.
- The ELISA is a screening blood test. This test looks for antibodies that the body produces to fight HIV. There are other conditions that may produce a false positive result (like lupus, Lyme disease, and syphilis). A positive ELISA must always be confirmed with a Western Blot test.
- Western Blot
- The Western Blot is a more specific blood test. This test will confirm that a person is truly HIV positive by testing for the actual virus.
- Rapid Test
- Rapid tests are oral tests that, like ELISA, screen for HIV antibodies. The test results are available within 20 minutes. Also, like ELISA, these positive results must be confirmed by the Western Blot test.
- Positive Result
- A positive test result (Confirmed by a second test) means that a person has HIV. It does not necessarily mean that he or she has AIDS yet or will get it soon.
- Negative Result
- A negative test result means the test did not find signs of HIV. However, a person may have to be retested if testing was done soon after possible exposure. It may take the body about 3 months (6 months in rare cases) to make enough HIV antibodies for the test to detect.
- Remember that you have options
- You can have standard blood tests and receive your results in a few days
- You can have a “rapid” HIV test to receive your preliminary results during the same visit
- All tests are confidential.
- You can have anonymous testing at some sites – this means you don’t have to give your name and no one but you will know your results
- We provide Testing and Counseling at HUH CARES
- We provide Testing and Counseling Monday through Friday from 8 am to 12 noon, and Monday though Thursday from 2 pm to 4pm
- We provide direct referral into our service programs for all DC residents who test positive
- Testing Services are also provided at other locations throughout the city:
HIV Testing Sites
Andromeda 1400 Decatur Street
9 am - 5 pm (Mon -Sat)
Carl Vogel Center 1012 14th Street
4 pm - 7pm (Mon, Walk-in)
4 pm - 6 pm (Wed)
4 pm - 5 pm (Thurs -Fri)
La Clinica del Pueblo 2831 15th Street
9 am - 5 pm (Mon, Tues, Fri)
9 am - 9 pm (Wed, Thurs)
10 am - 2 pm (Sat)
Planned Parenthood 1108 16th Street
9 am - 4:30 pm (Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri)
8:30 am - 4:30 pm (Thurs)
9 am - 2 pm (Sat)
University of the District of Columbia - Health Services (Faculty & Students only) 4200 Connecticut Avenue,
Building 44, Room A33
9:30 am - 6 pm (Mon - Fri)
Us Helping Us 3636 Georgia Avenue
10 am -4 pm (Mon - Thurs)
Whitman-Walker Clinic 1701 14th Street
9:30 am - 6:30 pm (Mon)
9:30 am - 7 pm (Wed)
9:30 am - 4:30 pm (Tues, Thurs, Fri)
Women's Collective 1436 U Street, Suite 200
9 am - 5 pm (Mon-Fri)