Testing for HIV in Sanibel, FL
HIV testing is just one facet of comprehensive HIV services that you will find in our Fort Myers, FL clinic and Mobile Testing Unit. The services we offer at The McGregor Clinic Community Services building are state-of-the-art in every way. We have come a very long way in understanding this disease and what can be done to prevent it. From same-day rapid HIV testing appointments, education, advocacy and counseling services, we are here to answer all your questions about HIV and what you can do for yourself.
We put our clients first in everything we do. Testing for HIV in Sanibel is just one of the many things we offer as part of our individualized services.
HIV Testing and Basics for Those in Sanibel
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It weakens a person’s immune system by destroying important CD4 cells, which fight disease and infection. There is no cure for HIV, but proper medical treatment and care can control it. The first step is HIV testing in Sanibel.
HIV is a virus spread through certain body fluids that attacks the body’s immune system. The virus specifically targets CD4 cells. Over time, if enough of these cells are destroyed, you can no longer fight off infections and disease. Left untreated, dwindling CD4 cells make it increasingly difficult to stay healthy. A very weak immune system will result in an AIDS diagnosis. At that time, care and treatment is even more critical.
HIV affects people of all ages and backgrounds. Finding out your status should be priority #1. That is where our prevention team and laboratory services come into play. Testing for HIV is free, confidential, and provided using rapid testing technology. You can come to our Community Services building or utilize our Mobile Testing Unit, which can be found at various locations throughout the community.
Only you can decide if the time is right for you or if you should consider being tested again.
Should You Be Tested for HIV?
Our counselors are always available to speak with you about any and all concerns you have about testing for HIV. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that every person be tested for HIV at least once. If you are wondering if you should be tested, here are some things to consider.
People who should be tested include:
- Any person who has had unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with men who have sex with men, multiple partners or anonymous partners.
- Any person who has exchanged sex for drugs or money.
- Any person who has injected drugs or steroids or shared syringes, needles, and other equipment with others.
- Any person who has had sex with someone whose history of sex partners and/or drug use is unknown.
- Any person who has been diagnosed with or treated for hepatitis, tuberculosis (TB) or a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
- Any person who has had unprotected sex with anyone in any of the above categories.
- All women who are pregnant should be tested during each pregnancy.
Types of HIV Tests in Sanibel
Our clinic and mobile testing unit offers an HIV rapid test in Sanibel, which tests for HIV antibodies. With a rapid test, you receive results in as little as 15 minutes. Once you know the results, our counselors will be there to guide you every step of the way and to connect you with the best resources available.
When we test for HIV, we test your blood, measuring for antibodies, chemicals in the immune system that recognize invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Once these elements are prevalent, they increase your body’s way of fighting off infections. Their presence can alert our medical staff if you have HIV in your body.
When Should You Be Tested for HIV?
If you have been exposed to HIV or suspect you have, detectable antibodies will develop in your body within two to eight weeks. Even if you have tested before, we recommend getting tested again. Every time you begin a new sexual relationship or needle-sharing experience, you should be tested for HIV.
While there are many HIV testing centers out there, our clinic serving Sanibel offers you a comprehensive HIV primary care plan to suit your needs should you test positive. Our health services are in-depth. We do not administer testing and leave it at that. Our prevention team will link you to the services you need as quickly as possible.
What Are the Symptoms of HIV/AIDS?
HIV is a virus and has no symptoms. However, a weakened immune system paves the way for illnesses which may present as the flu. These symptoms will come and go over a 2-4 week period. More acute symptoms may appear, including:
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Night sweats
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers
If you leave these symptoms untreated, the immune system will further deteriorate. HIV becomes more likely to progress to AIDS, leading to opportunistic infections (Ols). Ols are severe and can eventually become fatal without intervention.
Treatments for HIV in Sanibel
If you test positive on an HIV rapid test and you are ready to get into care, the primary treatment is antiretroviral therapy or ART. ART manages the HIV infection and reduces the risk of spreading it to other people. You will be prescribed a combination of medications that will keep your blood levels of HIV low or undetectable, which slows the damage to your immune system.
You can live a long and healthy life with HIV and ART. The McGregor Clinic team is comprised of HIV specialists who will ensure that you receive the care that you need.
Our HIV primary care plan puts each client first by providing a Patient Centered Medical Home to ensure we are treating the person and not just their diagnosis. We have the medical, psychosocial, and supportive expertise not found elsewhere to help you meet any challenges living with HIV in Sanibel. Do not wait! Find the information and help you need today by contacting The McGregor Clinic in Fort Myers or our Mobile Testing Unit today.