HIV Testing Thursdays
Frequently Asked Questions
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS if not treated. Unlike some other viruses, the human body can’t get rid of HIV completely, even with treatment. So once you get HIV, you have it for life.No effective cure currently exists, but with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. The medicine used to treat HIV is called antiretroviral therapy or ART. If taken the right way, every day, this medicine can dramatically prolong the lives of many people infected with HIV, keep them healthy, and greatly lower their chance of infecting others. Before the introduction of ART in the mid-1990s, people with HIV could progress to AIDS in just a few years. Today, someone diagnosed with HIV and treated before the disease is far advanced can live nearly as long as someone who does not have HIV (Centers for Disease Control, 2017).
Everyone ages 13-64 should get tested for HIV at least once. The focus is typically on those most at risk for HIV infection.
In New Mexico, those populations are:
- Men who have sex with men (MSM)
- Injection Drug Users (IDUs)
- Heterosexuals at risk (HAR)
Some sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent testing (every 3 to 6 months).
If you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant, get tested as early as possible to protect your baby.
You should get tested at least once a year if:
- You’ve had sex with an HIV positive partner.
- You’ve had more than one partner since your last HIV test.
- You’ve shared needles or works to inject drugs.
- You’ve had another STD, hepatitis or tuberculosis.
- You’ve had sex with anyone who has done anything listed above or with someone whose sexual history you don’t know.
The test is not anonymous, but it is confidential.
The presence of HIV antibodies in the blood.
Schedule an online appointment:
- Testing is by online appointment only and limited to certain Thursdays. To schedule an appointment, visit the SHAC Health Portal. You cannot walk in or call the Reception Area to schedule testing. If you need assistance navigating the portal, please call SHAC at 277-3136 during normal business hours.
Note: Appointments fill up quickly. If you need to cancel your appointment, please click on the "Cancel" button next to the scheduled appointment so that someone else can have the time slot.
- At the time of your appointment: Go to the SHAC Reception Area and sign in at one of the self-check-in computers, and have a seat.
- A nurse will obtain a verbal consent, explain the procedure, and obtain a blood sample via finger stick.
You will receive your results during your appointment. Results will be available 20 minutes after the finger stick and completion of educational counseling with the nurse.
If the test result is Negative: The nurse will discuss a follow up plan and retesting window.
If the test result is Positive: The nurse will discuss a followup plan and initiate medical care. The rapid HIV test is 99.9% accurate and a confirmatory blood test is indicated and you will see a SHAC provider.