Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The CARE Program and HIV Testing


Donna Shubrooks, RN
STD Program Coordinator at HGLHC


Ask Donna…

Why does the CT Health Department need to be notified if I test positive for HIV or an STD?  Isn’t that just my own business?

--Seeking Privacy in the Big Picture

Dear Seeker,

Of course that is your private business, and that info is always treated with complete confidentiality.  Each state health department is dedicated to serving the public, and that means YOU!  Think of it this way…if the water in the reservoir was dangerously contaminated in YOUR town, YOU would EXPECT the Health Department to notify everyone to keep people safe.  If YOU worked in a factory with dangerous toxic fumes or rode on an airplane beside someone with active TB, YOU would EXPECT the Health Department to warn YOU that safety precautions were needed, or testing and treatment was required for YOUR benefit.  RIGHT?  That level of care is expected and deserved by all residents in every state.

So… when a new case of a contagious disease or infection is detected (such as TB, Measles, Encephalitis, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia or HIV), people who may have been exposed deserve to be notified that they should be tested and treated.  There is no judgment about “HOW” that infection may have been transmitted.  This is where the CARE Program comes in.  CARE Program counselors are specially trained to help people infected with HIV as well as their partners.  The counselor will help tell your sex or needle-sharing partners that they may have been exposed to HIV. ALL INFORMATION DISCUSSED WILL REMAIN CONFIDENTIAL.  The counselor will notify your partners at risk without revealing ANYTHING about YOU!  They cannot say your name, age race, even your gender or when they may have been exposed.  This program is there to help YOU, in a few different ways:  1.  A CARE counselor can tell your partners FOR you.
2.  A CARE counselor can be WITH you when YOU tell your partners.
3.  If you want to tell your partners by yourself, the CARE counselor can 
     help you practice how to tell them. They can be sure you understand
     the FACTS about HIV so you can answer any questions your partner
     may have.

Why do your partners need to know?  Remember, they DON’T need to know anything about YOU!  But,
·       they should know that they might have HIV and could choose to be tested. 
·       they can get early medical care if they have HIV.
·       they can learn how to protect themselves and others from HIV
·       they can get free testing and treatment for other STDs.

Don’t forget, we’re ALL in this together.  We care about our community and want people to be safe.  ANY consensual sex practices have consequences.  We indeed ARE each responsible for our own sexual health, but wouldn’t YOU want to be told if you had been at risk and could be easily tested and treated? 

THINK ABOUT IT!   Have fun, but play safely.  Know the rules and protect YOURSELF.  That protects others too.

For more info about the CARE Program or how to get tested, call 860-509-7920 or the National AIDS Hotline 1-800-342-2437.

The Health Collective is here for you too.
Call us at 860-278-4163.



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