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Everyone has questions about HIV and AIDS. The Louisiana HIV/AIDS Hotline, run by NO/AIDS Task Force, serves as your first source of useful, accurate, confidential answers: Where can I go for testing? How can I talk to my child about the risk of AIDS? What is "safer sex?" NO/AIDS Task Force volunteers are trained to answer all these questions and more.
Who should call the Louisiana HIV/AIDS Hotline? Anyone who has a question from the most basic to the most personal, including:
Please call us! Remember, there are NO stupid questions...except the ones you don't ask!
Statewide1-800-99-AIDS-9 (toll free), in New Orleans metro area (504)821-6050.
TTY number for the hearing impaired is 1-877-566-9448 (toll free)
Monday - Friday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Education continues to be the best method for slowing the spread of HIV and AIDS. Raising community awareness is vital to prevention and understanding.
Schools, clubs, businesses and other groups call upon NO/AIDS staff members and volunteers for workshops, lectures and seminars on AIDS-related subjects.
Targeting educational messages is more important than ever. Experience has shown that an approach that works well with one constituency may be ineffective for another. Therefore NO/AIDS carefully hand picks the best educational match for each audience, whether it is predominantly young, old, male, female, Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, Asian, heterosexual, gay or lesbian.
Statistics from campaigns aimed at African Americans have shown a large increase in HIV antibody testing appointments among this group. Also, NO/AIDS has been successful in matching members of community who educate their peers in an environment of trust.
Street Outreach workers spend hours talking to adolescents, injection drug users and others about their high-risk behavior, providing information and safe sex packets in a non-threatening, non-judgemental fashion.
NO/AIDS educators also rely on the region's seasonal events such as Halloween, Mardi Gras, National Condom Week, St. Patrick's Day, Spring Break, Gay Pride and World AIDS Day to provide the maximum amount of awareness of HIV and AIDS.
A well-balanced, nutritious diet is a vital way for those with HIV and AIDS to stay as healthy as possible, but in the midst of a debilitating disease or life's daily struggles, appointments, treatments and other responsibilities, finding the time and money for such meals is often impossible.
Food for Friends fills the needs and stomachs of those living with HIV and AIDS through its unique delivery of more than 500 meals daily.
A food pantry supplements the clients' needs with nonperishable food and personal care items.
More than 150 volunteers are responsible for the success of this much-needed service which delivers 115,000 meals a year.
Should you need more information regarding meal delivery or the food pantry, contact Dan Gunnells or D. Ann Porche` at (504) 944-6028.
Dealing with an incurable disease is and unimaginable burden. Rampant ignorance and intolerance in society amplifies the pain and destruction. People living with HIV and AIDS often feel helpless and depressed, while family and friends experience fear and uncertainty about the future of their loved ones. Despair is common. NO/AIDS offers short-term individual counseling to help HIV-infected and affected individuals cope with the complex emotional, physical and practical problems they face.
A variety of specialized support groups meet weekly and bi-weekly to address the questions and concerns of those living with HIV and AIDS. NO/AIDS staff members and volunteers extend their hands to all affected by the disease in any way, offering care and support in an atmosphere of compassion and kindness.
NO/AIDS Task Force provides housing assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS. The housing coordinator assists clients in finding safe and affordable housing by developing relationships with key members of the community such as landlords, shelters, public housing program staff and private non-profit housing facilities.
NO/AIDS works to ensure that support systems for people affected by AIDS are always available. Professional case managers (care coordinators) serve as liaisons between clients and the network of community resources they need to live comfortably and with dignity. Call (504)821-2601 for more information and ask for the Intake Specialist.
An ounce of prevention means everything to those living with HIV and AIDS, and maintaining their good health is one of the most important jobs of NO/AIDS. Under the Ryan White Care Act, NO/AIDS added the first free, anonymous, early intervention service program in the country. By offering viral-load testing, T-cell monitoring and counseling in diet, exercise and stress management, NO/AIDS helps more than 350 HIV-infected clients ensure that their health and lives are as strong as they can be.
Case Management, Mental Health, Housing Coordination and Primary Care can be accessed Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 5:00 p.m. by calling (504)821-2601 and asking for the Intake Specialist. Special appointments outside of these times can be arranged.
NO/AIDS offers free and anonymous HIV testing. No blood, no needles, all it takes is sucking on a slightly salty swab. We do testing Monday through Saturday, usually in the evening, although other times are also available.
You can either call the Hotline (504) 821-6050 to make an appointment or drop in at one of our drop in times. (Monday night from 8-10 at the Outback Bar at the corner of Burgundy and Bienville or Friday night from 6 – 7:30 at the NO/AIDS office, 2601 Tulane Ave, 5th floor).
The testing itself takes about twenty minutes. This includes talking one-on-one with a counselor about what the test will tell you, HIV/AIDS information, how to reduce risk and any questions that you may have. The actual test is an oral swab that collects something called gingival cervicular fluid. The lab looks for antibodies to HIV in this fluid, not the virus itself. It usually takes about two weeks to get results back from the lab. We DO NOT GIVE RESULTS OVER THE PHONE. You must come back and talk to a counselor to get your results.
HIV is very small and hard to detect. Therefore the test looks for how the body responds to infection. This response (producing antibodies) can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months. So if you take a test today and it comes back negative, that tells you that you were definitely negative 6 months ago. If you've done anything in the past 6 months that might have exposed you to HIV, you might want to be retested.
Most of the testing we do is anonymous, which means that only a number is used to identify you, your name appears on nothing. However, we can also offer confidential testing, which means that your name will be linked with your test result. Anonymous testing guarantees that your name doesn't end up on some database somewhere, however, as it's only a number of a lab form, it cannot serve as proof of the results. There may be times when someone does need proof, for example to access services that are open only to people infected with HIV. We do recommend that before you take a confidential test, that you take an anonymous test first. That way you can know what your test result is before you allow it to become part of the state public health database.
The ELISA (or EIA) test is referred to as a screening test. It was designed to help protect the blood supply—it's much better to discard a good unit of blood than to allow an infected unit to pass through—so this test tends to give false positives rather than false negatives. For this reason any positive ELISA test should be confirmed with a Western Blot test. A Western Blot is a more expensive and definitive test. That is the procedure here at NO/AIDS, a positive result is only given after two ELISA tests and a Western Blot are reactive.
Times and Locations for NO/AIDS HIV Testing