HIV and Hep C Testing Resumes
Cleveland-based Signature Health, a health center providing primary medical care, infectious disease, behavioral health, and substance use disorder services is offering free HIV and hepatitis C testing at six Signature Health locations, and the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland. The program began last year and was temporarily on hold due to COVID-19. Available Monday-Friday, Signature Health will provide this free, confidential HIV and hepatitis C testing on a walk-in basis at their Lakewood, Beachwood, Maple Heights, Willoughby, Painesville, Ashtabula locations, and at the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland. For the full testing schedule, please see the website. One does not have to be a patient and an appointment is not necessary. To preserve confidentiality, anyone desiring a test should simply ask for “free testing” at the check-in window. The testing is free thanks to funding provided by the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Ohio Department of Health, and HRSA. Please note, Signature Health is following COVID-19 safety precautions, as recommended by the state.
Infectious Disease Director at Signature Health, Dr. Sarah Hoehnen, explains the importance of this initiative—“HIV is both treatable and preventable. Getting healthy and staying healthy all starts with a test. If a patient does not have HIV infection, medication is available that can dramatically reduce their risk of acquiring HIV. If a patient does have an HIV infection, treatment can help them live a long and healthy life,” said Dr. Hoehnen.
• Free HIV and hepatitis C screening and testing
• The test is a quick finger stick with results in 20 minutes
• One does not have to be a patient, nor become a Signature Health patient
• Same- or next-day Infectious Disease appointments are available for individuals who test positive for HIV
• Connection to care is available for STI testing, medication to prevent HIV (PrEP), and hepatitis C
• A risk assessment screening will be completed prior to testing. Individuals at high risk for HIV will be offered a rapid HIV test. Connection to other resources will be offered for individuals at low risk.
Individuals at high risk for HIV should be tested at least annually for HIV, and the CDC recommends that every person be tested once their lifetime. See website for more details on HIV risks. For information regarding free HIV and hepatitis C testing at Signature Health: www.signaturefreetest.org, or call/text (440) 855-0628.
About Signature Health Founded in 1992, Signature Health Inc. is a community-based agency providing primary medical care, infectious disease, mental health, and substance abuse services to people of all ages. With six locations across Northeast, Ohio, Signature Health is dedicated to both their staff and the communities they serve by offering their patients only the highest quality services. Through walk-in assessments at all of their locations, they are able to help clients when they “Need Help Now.” Signature Health is designated a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), which allows them to not only focus on behavioral health, but also on the general health and wellness of people. As a result, Signature Health continues to grow and expand their primary care service offerings. Additionally, they accept Medicaid and Medicare, as well as a sliding scale. For more information about Signature Health, visit www.signaturehealthinc.org or call (440) 251-3035.