Know Your Status: Bremo Pharmacy Offers Free HIV and HCV Testing

We are excited to announce that Bremo Pharmacy, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health, is now offering free testing services for two significant global health concerns: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). These chronic viral infections affect millions of people worldwide and early detection is key to managing these conditions effectively. With our new testing services, we aim to make a positive contribution to the community’s health and wellbeing, while also raising awareness about these two pervasive diseases. Let’s take a closer look at what HIV and HCV entail.

HIV: An Immune System Invader

Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, is a chronic viral infection that affects the immune system. It can be transmitted through various ways, including sexual contact, blood-to-blood contact (like sharing needles), from mother-to-child during childbirth or breastfeeding, blood transfusions, and needlestick injuries.

As of now, an estimated 38 million people worldwide are living with HIV. While the virus can affect anyone regardless of their demographic profile, it’s crucial to clarify that HIV is not the same as AIDS. AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is a condition that can develop when HIV has caused significant damage to the immune system.

One common misconception is that HIV can be transmitted through casual contact. However, this is not the case. Casual contact like shaking hands, sharing utensils, or even using the same bathroom does not transmit the virus.

Although there is currently no cure for HIV, it can be managed effectively with combined antiretroviral therapy. This type of treatment can reduce the viral load to undetectable levels. And guess what? If you’re undetectable, you cannot transmit the virus to someone else!

HCV: A Silent Threat to the Liver

Hepatitis C Virus, or HCV, is another viral infection that primarily affects the liver. This virus is usually transmitted through blood-to-blood contact, such as sharing needles, unsafe healthcare practices, and mother-to-child transmission during childbirth.

Around the globe, approximately 58 million people live with chronic HCV infection. If left untreated, HCV can cause serious damage to the liver, potentially leading to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer).

Just like HIV, HCV cannot be transmitted through casual contact. And while there are vaccines for hepatitis A and hepatitis B, they do not protect against hepatitis C. It’s also worth noting that, despite primarily affecting the liver, HCV can also impact other parts of the body.

Free Testing Services at Bremo Pharmacy

Great news for our community: Bremo Pharmacy, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health, is now offering free testing services for both HIV and HCV. These tests are highly accurate, confidential, and an essential step in protecting your health. Appointments can be booked online easily by clicking here. 

It’s important to know your status, as early detection and treatment can dramatically improve the prognosis for both HIV and HCV. Stay informed, stay tested, and stay healthy!

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