The Importance of HIV Testing

We understand the fears, stigma, and concerns around being tested, but believe that regular testing once a year is in everyone’s best interest. HIV is a very treatable disease. Ignoring or hoping it will go away only allows the virus to cause further damage to your body. 

In addition, it’s believed that 54% of new sexually transmitted HIV infections are transmitted from those who are unaware of their status. This means that the best way to love your partner, your family, and your neighbors, is to be tested for HIV.

It’s recommended that everyone be tested once a year for HIV. For those who have been tested before, we strongly encourage another test if you have participated in the following activities since your last test:

  • Unprotected sex, either, oral, vaginal and anal sex

  • Substance abuse – sharing any needles or tools including the water

  • Tattooing or body piercing

  • Getting pregnant: Infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy or delivery, and through breastfeeding

Testing can be done several ways. One way is an oral test – this is similar to running a swab over your gums. The results are ready in twenty minutes. If this test comes back positive a second test (known as a western blot test) is conducted and blood is drawn for this test to confirm the HIV (positive or negative) diagnosis.

You can also have blood drawn from the beginning, if you prefer to do so, and an ELISA test (or Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay) will be performed. If this test comes back positive, we will follow up with the confirmatory western blot test.

JACQUES Initiative Office Testing

You can be tested or linked to care free of charge Monday through Friday 9 a.m to 5 p.m. at the JACQUES Initiative:

UMMC Midtown Campus
Professional Building
N. Eutaw Street, Suite 209
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Call for information: 443-552-2933

Emergency Department Testing Program

Through collaboration with the Baltimore City Health Department and the Infectious Disease and Environmental Health Administration, the JACQUES Initiative does rapid HIV testing in the Emergency Department of the University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus.

To make an appointment or to learn more about the services we offer, call 443-552-2933.