|by Sal Seeley|
|Rapid Testing Comes to CAMP Rehoboth
This past summer, I received a disturbing e-mail from the Department of Public Health. They wanted me to return all of my Orasure AIDS test kits because the manufacturer ran out of an important reagent to read the tests. Those tests were simple, and we did a lot of them. Suddenly, at the beginning of the summer, I had to send anyone who wanted to be tested to the health department so blood could be drawn.
Now the good news. Rapid testing will be available at CAMP Rehoboth by the end of October. CAMP Rehoboth is the only non-profit organization in eastern Sussex County currently approved by the state to offer this test.
Rapid testing is even better than the old way. No more worrying for two weeks. You get your results in 20 minutes.
Don't get the wrong idea. We are not opening a drive-in window to get your testing done, but we will offer you some of the fastest and best service available at the beach.
From start to finish the whole thing takes about 30 minutes. You come in and answer some preliminary questions, and we talk about the test. Then you stick a small swab in your mouth and around your gums. Then I drop it in a developer and we talk. But, you won't get off the hook that easily. While we wait for the developer to give us your results, we'll talk about risk reduction and safe sex. It is not a sermon; we'll talk about tools to keep you safe. It is simple, effective, caring, and confidential.
If we get a positive result then we do more tests to be sure. But it cannot get much easier! The test is 99% accurate for testing for antibodies, and I like those odds.
One thing that I must caution you about, however, is that while the test is 99% accurate for testing for the presence of antibodies, it does not mean that you and your partner can then go off and play without any protection. The window of infection is still there. Sometimes it can take 3 to 6 months for your body to develop antibodies, so you may have still been infected. A negative result is not a license to go and play without protection, but neither were the old tests. This is just a better tool to give you needed information with less pain and aggravation.
The test is free, confidential and fast. Come see us! We are here and better equipped to serve you!
Sal Seeley is Program Director of CAMPsafe, an HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention program funded through a contract with the Delaware Division of Public Health. Free, anonymous HIV testing is offered at CAMP Rehoboth, 37 Baltimore Avenue. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Sal Seeley at 302-227-5620 or e-mail email@example.com.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 14 October 14, 2005