Ask the Docs is an online service of Fenway Health that allows gay and bisexual men and transgender people to get answers to questions about their medical, sexual and mental health. Ask the Docs a question now.
AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome:
AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. If you get infected with HIV, your body will try to fight the infection. It will make antibodies - special molecules to fight HIV. A blood test for HIV looks for these antibodies. If you have them in your blood, it means that you have HIV infection. People who have HIV antibodies are called "HIV-Positive."
To schedule an HIV test or for more information on Fenway's HIV Counseling & Testing Services, call 617.267.0159.
For more information about HIV/AIDS, click here.
Hepatitis refers to viral infections of the liver. There are several types of hepatitis, but here we will discuss the most common - Hepatitis A, B and C.
Different types of hepatitis are transmitted in different ways:
Hepatitis symptoms vary in intensity from person to person but commonly include:
For more information on hepatitis, it's symptoms and how to protect yourself from it, click here.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are infections you can get through sexual contact involving the mouth, penis, vagina or anus.
Each year, there are more than 15 million new STD cases in the United States. STDs are more common that most people think. Young people are at particularly high risk.
Most STDs are easily cured if they are caught early. Unfortunately, many people don't seek treatment because they have no symptoms and they don't know that they have an infection. Other people have symptoms, but they don't go to the doctor because they are embarassed or they don't realize that theiry symptoms are the warning signs of a serious infection. If left untreated, some STDs can cause severe health problems or even death. And if you don't have an STD treated, you are more likely to pass it on to someone else. Talk to your doctor or counselor about any STD concerns you might have.
Click on the links below for more information on specific STDs:
Because there are multiple locations and options for HIV testing, call 617.267.0159 to speak with a counselor. Your counselor can book an appointment for you, or inform you of the nearest and soonest walk-in times. For more information about HIV/AIDS, click here.
Testing Locations and Services Offered
Free rapid HIV testing happens from 9 – 6 p.m., Monday – Thursday and 9 - 5 p.m. Friday at Fenway: Sixteen, our community services center at 16 Haviland Street, Boston (enter through door off Edgerly Road). These services are available:
Note: At this time, Generation 4 HIV Testing is only available at 1340 Boylston Street.
Free HIV testing is available as part of a medical visit, by appointment, and by walk-in (based on counselor availability). Ask your provider, or call 617.267.0159, and a counselor can arrange for you to get tested.
Free Services on Wednesdays from 4-7pm on the second floor of 1340 Boylston Street:
Free services are offered on a first come, first served basis. Last patient intake is at 6:30 p.m. Please call or check our calendar to verify the walk-in service is available.
Walk-in services include:
If you qualify—eg: no insurance, underinsured, etc., the following services are also available, but you must preregister by calling 617.267.0159.
If you have a known exposure to an STD, or if you have symptoms, call your doctor right away, or call 617.267.0159 and we can help.
Wednesday Walk-In Clinic on the 2nd Floor
As part of your visit we offer confidential counseling to help you deal with the issues that surround your decision to test and the impact of knowing your status. Documentation of test results is available at your request.
For more information on what HIV antibody test results mean, click here.
There are a wide array of STD services available:
If you have insurance and a provider, we encourage you to get STD testing as part of a medical appointment. Call 617.927.6000 to make an appointment. If you get your primary care elsewhere, ask your doctor to refer you to Fenway for a sexual health screening.
No insurance? Co-pays too high? You need to keep STD testing off of your insurance statement? Fenway offers free STD testing for those who don’t have insurance or are unable to use it. In order to book a slot, please call 617.267.0159 to pre-register. Make sure to call us right away if you have symptoms of an STD, or someone you have recently had sex with told you they were just diagnosed with an STD.
Fourth Generation HIV
For some time, we have looked for antibodies to determine if someone has HIV. Although this is still the most common way to detect HIV, there is a window period of about 6-8 weeks after exposure before the HIV antibodies show up.
In addition to standard 20 minute rapid antibody testing, Fenway now offers Generation 4 testing technology that not only looks for antibodies, but an antigen as well. This antigen is present in people who are newly infected with HIV and shows up within 14 days of exposure.So, with our generation 4 serum testing, HIV infections can be detected 2 weeks after exposure.
Note: this test is not available at all sites and at all times, and a return visit is needed to receive your results, as they are processed in a lab. Ask your counselor if the antigen/antibody serum test is right for you.
Rapid Hepatitis C Testing. This service is free and results are ready in 20 minutes. Call 617.267.0159, or ask your counselor at the time of your visit.
Testing Together— Get Tested with Your Partner
Fenway offers a free, new service for guys wanting to get tested with their partners. Call
617.267.0159 to schedule an appointment.
Ask the Docs is an online service of Fenway Health that allows gay and bisexual men and transgender people to get answers to questions about their medical, sexual and mental health. Click www.fenwayhealth.org/askthedocs to post your question.
The HIV and STD Counseling Line
In addition to booking you an appointment or explaining Fenway services, the HIV and STD Counseling Line offers free telephone counseling to those with questions or concerns about their sexual health, health insurance, LGBT issues, referrals and more. Counselors are available by telephone from 9am-6pm Monday through Thursday, and 10am-5pm on Fridays. All of our counselors are certified by the state of Massachusetts and are ready to talk to you. Call 617.267.0159.
Health Navigation is a type of coaching that is designed to help those who are struggling with maintaining sexual safety, substance abuse, and other issues that impact the quality of life. Think of it as a helping hand from a buddy who has the time to work with you on the things that you need to keep yourself healthy and happy. A Health Navigator isn’t a doctor, nurse, social worker or therapist. They are highly trained coaches who come from the communities they serve. To find out more about this free service, call 617.267.0159.
Currently Fenway offers the following groups. Check back often, as new groups start often.
Bisexual and Bi-Curious Men’s Group: The Bi Men’s meets the second Tuesday of every month at Fenway Health’s main building at 1340 Boylston Street, from 7:00-9:00 pm. It is an ongoing support group for men who identify as bisexual or are bi curious. Everything discussed is kept completely confidential in a judgment-free zone. Different topics include disclosure, safer sex practices, STDs and HIV, safer ways to meet other men, and more. No registration required. Call 617.267.0159 if you have questions.
The T-Supper Club: This is a social and educational group for transgender people and anyone else who crosses mainstream society’s notion of gender. Dinner is served. Call Alex at 617.927. 6449 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. This group meets at 16 Haviland Street. Registration required.
Call 617.267.0159 to find out if one of our groups is for you.
For patients with complex health
problems—such as HIV and other chronic illnesses—Fenway offers comprehensive
case management services. Our registered nurses and medical social workers help
patients understand and access the many resources available to them.
For chronically ill patients, the primary care nurse assumes the additional role of case manager, assisting and supporting you through the course of your illness. Your RN will help you understand the disease process and the impact it is likely to have on your health and provide the information you need to stay healthy and make sound choices about your health care.
Medical social workers are available to help you cope with the practical and emotional aspects of your care and help you access mental health care. A medical social worker can help you apply for Medicare or Medicaid and access community-based services, such as financial, housing and legal assistance programs, and pastoral counseling; coordinate and facilitate communication among multiple service providers; and make referrals to various other services. To help patients deal with the profound disruptions—physical, emotional, and financial—that serious illness or injury can bring, medical social workers also provide short-term, focused counseling and education to patients and their families.