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The original item was published from 6/21/2021 11:16:35 AM to 6/28/2021 5:05:01 PM.

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Public Health & Community Services

Posted on: June 21, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Nashua Public Health Offers free HIV Testing on June 28 in Nashua and Milford

In recognition of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Testing Day, celebrated on June 27 each year, the Nashua Division of Public Health and Community Services (DPHCS) is offering HIV testing in Greater Nashua on June 28, 2021. Testing is confidential and available at no cost (free) to anyone, including individuals who are uninsured. We will also be offering the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine. Gift cards are available for anyone receiving HIV testing while supplies last. Clinics will be held at the following locations:

  • 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Parking Lot between Temple St. & Church St. in Nashua
  • 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Wadleigh Memorial Library (49 Nashua St. in Milford)

Approximately 1.2 million people in the United States (U.S.) are living with HIV, one in seven doesn’t even know they have it. In New Hampshire (NH), Hillsborough County has the second highest number of HIV cases. If untreated, it can lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). From 2014 to 2018, 25% of people newly diagnosed with HIV in NH also received an AIDS diagnosis within 12 months.

HIV can affect anyone regardless of sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender, age, or where they live. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. However, some people may be more likely to contract HIV than others because of particular factors. 

HIV is most commonly spread through unprotected sex, especially with multiple partners or anonymous partners, or through the sharing of contaminated needles, syringes, or other equipment used for the injection of drugs. It is possible for the virus to survive in a used needle for up to 42 days. People living with HIV/AIDS are at a higher risk of homelessness than the general population, with some studies indicating as many as half of individuals with HIV/AIDS are at risk of homelessness due to unaffordable housing costs and the high cost of medical care.

“The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. Anyone with HIV benefits from getting early diagnosis and treatment because it allows them to live long and healthy lives. Undetectable means no transmission. People who are aware of their diagnosis can take protective measures with their partners,” said Sascha Potzka, RN, Nashua DPHCS Public Health Nurse. “Access to HIV testing has been directly impacted by the pandemic as many clinics and traditional testing settings have been closed. Our Division has continued to offer these essential services throughout the pandemic.”

In addition to in-person clinics, the Nashua DPHCS also offers free HIV self-test kits that can be taken in the privacy of your home or private setting. To receive a kit, call Public Health Nurse, Sascha Potzka, at 603-682-2885.

The City of Nashua also offers a community-based program that provides access to sterile needles and syringes free of cost and facilitates safe disposal of used needles and syringes. This program, known as Syringe Services Alliance of the Nashua Area (SSANA), is available in Nashua every Monday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. between Temple St. and Cottage St. and every other Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 29 Temple St.

For more information about this program, please visit the Nashua DPHCS STD/HIV/HCV program website or call 603-682-2885.

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