Around ASF Blog
Volume 1 / Entry 13
May 2, 2012
We’ve all heard the iconic message that precedes an irritating buzz/beep on our televisions and radios. “This is a test. This is only a test.” The beep/buzz sounds for about as long as you think you can stand it and then it ends. It’s followed by a long spiel that many of us can recite word for word…”This was a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. Had this been an actual emergency, the attention signal you just heard would have been followed by, blah, blah, blah.” Well, sometimes a test is more than a test. Sometimes what follows the test is just as important as the test itself, if not more so.
Next month, AIDS Services Foundation will embark on a new campaign to raise funds for our HIV Testing program. Don’t worry. I’m not going to ask you for money…yet. The campaign isn’t even formulated completely in my head. I bring it up because, as important as the test itself and the results actually are, something that tends to mean more to those getting tested is the counseling that goes along with it.
ASF’s various HIV testing coordinators, health educators and testing volunteers play a crucial social role in the process of getting tested. It’s not all technical. Whether it’s calming fears, imparting advice or alleviating the stress of the unknown, our testers at the agency and out in the field excel at the personal touch required when delivering someone’s HIV status.
Positive tests aren’t the only ones that require counsel. It’s definitely very important that those individuals who test positive for HIV get sent in the right direction to access care and receive information about preventing the spread of the disease. However, those who test negative, who have dodged the bullet as they say, also need to be made aware of the risks to which they have opened themselves and how to avoid the possibility of facing those risks again. As we all know, these matters can’t be handled by talking down to someone or lecturing them. It’s all very delicate.
I am writing to acknowledge the very special ASF employees and volunteers that conduct HIV testing for the agency. They represent us very well in the community and the work they do is not easy.
If you want to meet all of our testers, please come down to AIDS Walk this Sunday. They will all be there conducting testing and post-testing counseling in the festival area after the walk. And if you happen to receive a request in the mail in the next few months for financial support of our HIV testing program, please consider donating to the campaign to help us reach even more people in 2013.
Thanks for reading!
Director of Communications and Public Relations