HIV Health & Wellness FAQs

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, specifically your CD4 cells. CD4 cells help the immune system fight infections. Untreated, HIV reduces the amount of CD4 cells in your body making way for other infections or infection-related cancers. There is currently no effective cure but with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. People with HIV who maintain effective treatment can live long, healthy lives and protect their partners from transmission.

To learn the basic facts about HIV and transmission, click here.

The only way to be sure of your HIV status is to get tested.

If you have never been tested, now is the time. Talk to your Primary Care Provider or contact GVHC and request a test today. Know for sure. Get tested.

Additional Testing Sites:

FPA Women’s Health

McHenry Medical Office (MMO)
1209 Woodrow Ave., Modesto 209-558-5312

Paradise Medical Office (PMO)
401 Paradise Rd., Modesto

Planned Parenthood

Quest Diagnostics

Stockton Health Center
1601 E. Hazelton Ave, Stockton, CA 209-468-3830

If you have been diagnosed with HIV it means you were exposed to the virus and a test has shown that you are now living with HIV in your body. Even with current treatment, you will not be able to rid your body of HIV completely. Once you have HIV, you will live with it for the rest of your life.

Medication we have today—the combination of drugs called antiretroviral therapy (ART), allows millions of people living with HIV to lead full lives. If you begin ART quickly and work with your Provider on a plan for your overall health, you will be taking a major first step toward managing your chronic disease.

No. Testing positive for HIV does not mean you have AIDS. AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV disease. HIV can lead to AIDS if a person does not get treatment or take care of their health. However, if a person with HIV takes their HIV medication as prescribed, they may stay healthy for many years and may never be diagnosed with AIDS.

To learn the importance of taking medication as prescribed, click here. For AIDS information, click here.

Receiving an HIV diagnosis can be life-changing, but we are here to help. Our priority is to educate you on your diagnosis, set a medical appointment with an HIV Provider, and immediately begin treatment.

As a newly diagnosed patient, you are eligible for Rapid Art. Our HIV Care Team will explain Rapid ART, help you navigate your care journey, and ensure you receive the essential support services you need. Contact HIV Health & Wellness today.

For further information on a new diagnosis, click here.

Rapid ART is a treatment program designed to immediately support patients who have recently been diagnosed with HIV or those who have not been in care for more than one year and are ready to return. The program includes antiretroviral therapies, education, and support in overcoming barriers to care.

In 2020, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funded a Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) initiative to explore Rapid ART best practices. The program, called Building Capacity to Implement Rapid ART Initiation for Improved Engage Care is evaluated through the University of California, San Francisco. There are 15 Rapid ART implementation sites in the U.S. participating in this initiative, including Golden Valley Health Centers.

Rapid ART candidates can make an appointment by calling 1-866-682-4842 or by contacting your Primary Care Provider and requesting to be connected to HIV Health & Wellness. You will be contacted by our Program Specialist who will be your partner through your care journey. The Program Specialist is a direct link to our HIV Providers and will connect you to any additional services you may need to ensure you achieve your health goals.

The Care Visit is your HIV Provider’s opportunity to assess your health and your opportunity to learn about your diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. This is your time to ask questions and provide input into your care. Your HIV Provider plays an important role in your health journey, but you are the key to achieving healthy outcomes. Your health depends on your active engagement in your care.

For general information on HIV medical visits, click here.

Care plans and treatment may vary for each patient. Your HIV Provider will determine your medication regimen based on your individual assessment. Our Program Specialist will work with you prior to your Care Visit to assess your needs and then communicate with your Provider so you can work together to personalize a treatment plan that will ensure your best health outcomes.

Learn more about treatment options here.

Yes. Our HIV Providers provide complete care to all patients living with HIV or AIDS, but some conditions may apply. Contact us to inquire about establishing care with Golden Valley Health Centers.

To participate in services, you must be a Golden Valley Health Centers patient. Contact us at 866-682-4842 to find out how to establish care with GVHC.

If you have been diagnosed with HIV or other STIs, it is important to let your current and former sex or injection drug-use partners know they may have been exposed. Informing partners that you have HIV lets them know they should be tested. These conversations may be challenging because you could have become infected by one of these individuals or they may have been exposed to HIV by someone else. Here are a few ways to let your partners know:

  • You tell your partner
  • The Health Department tells your partners. This is sometimes called “Partner Notifications”
  • You and the health department staff work together to tell your partners

Through Partner Notifications, Health Department staff notify your current and former sex and/or injection drug-use partners (without disclosing who you are) that they may have been exposed to HIV and/or other STIs and provide them with testing, counseling, and referrals for other services.

Sharing your HIV status with trusted family and friends has emotional and practical benefits. Having trusted people to talk to can help you cope better with an HIV diagnosis. They can also support you with the longer-term issues of treatment and disclosing your status to others. Trusting people with this knowledge will allow them to speak for you in case of an emergency and help you navigate the medical system. Do not overlook the expertise of people you know. Many of them have had these difficult conversations and they can help you work through what you should say. Whom you tell is completely up to you and only you.

If you do not have someone in your life whom you feel ready to talk to about your HIV status, let a member of your Care Team know that you are interested in support. We want to prevent everyone from facing HIV alone. Your Program Specialist can connect you to support services.

Insurance coverages vary but most plans allow HIV services coverage. Additionally, there are options available to help offset the cost of medication and care. Your Program Specialist can connect you to these options, if you qualify.

HIV Health & Wellness is located in the Ceres East Clinic
1920 Memorial Drive
Ceres, CA 95307

Operating hours are 8 AM-5 PM.

Call (209) 722-GVHC (4842) for appointment availability.

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