Programs that offer HIV tests which are used to identify individuals who have been infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and are at risk for developing AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) or which are used to measure progression of the disease in people known to be infected. The most common HIV screening test is the enzyme immunoassay (EIA) which most frequently uses peripheral blood drawn from the arm or a finger as a sample, but can also be conducted using serum, oral fluids or urine. Repeatedly reactive EIA tests are confirmed using the Western blot or the immunofluorescence assay (IFA). The most common test that is used to measure disease progression is the PCR (polymeraise chain reaction) or viral load test. Many programs that provide HIV testing also provide pre-testing and post-test counselling which includes information about AIDS/HIV, reducing risks for HIV transmission, emotional support to help the individual deal with the testing process and test results, and information about and referral to other AIDS-related services.
Programs that distribute condoms, lubricants, dental dams, bleach kits (ammonia or bleach for cleaning needles and instruction for use) and/or other supplies that can be used to help stop the spread of AIDS, other blood borne infectious diseases and sexually transmitted diseases among high-risk populations. Individuals who have a history of injection drug use, sex with a person with HIV/AIDS, sex with a man who has sex with other men, sex with an injection drug user, a sexually transmitted disease, or are exchanging money or drugs for sex are considered to be at high or increased risk.
Programs that provide emotional support, information and guidance in a variety of settings for individuals who have a disability; who are concerned about or have any of a variety of illnesses, including those that may ultimately be fatal; or who have experienced the disabling or disfiguring effects of an illness, injury or surgery. The counselling may deal with the realities of having a disability or being ill, coping with their illness/disability, life adjustments required by their situation, and helping them evaluate their alternatives and make personal choices that will maximize their ability to function independently. Included are programs that provide counselling for individuals who have a family history of a particular health condition or disability and need assistance in coping with the emotional problems that are associated with having or being at risk for developing the condition.
Programs that help prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other blood borne infectious diseases by providing new, sterile syringes and other sterile injection supplies to needle users in exchange for used ones; or which sell new hypodermic needles and syringes to high risk individuals who have a prescription or, in jurisdictions where it is permitted, without a prescription.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.