Free HIV Testing in New Hampshire

Free and low-cost testing locations near you.

One of the 50 U.S States, New Hampshire is located in the New England region of the United States. According to the census data 2020 of the 50 states, New Hampshire is the tenth least populated and fifth smallest state in terms of the total area. The total population of the state exceeds a little more than 1.3 million.

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Similar to the other states of the country, the residents of New Hampshire have been affected by the human immunodeficiency virus. According to the state health profile by the Centers For Diseases and Control, CDC in 2015, an estimated number of 22 individuals, including both adults and adolescents, were newly diagnosed with HIV. Considering the same report, New Hampshire has been ranked 46th of the 50 U.S states for having the highest number of new cases. According to the New Hampshire Infectious Disease Surveillance report 2015-2019, the HIV cases in the state have slightly increased by 2019. The report indicates that the total number of newly diagnosed cases of HIV in New Hampshire in 2019 was 31.

Why Testing Matters?

The very first case of HIV was detected in 1959 in Congo; decades later, in 1981, the virus first found its way to the United States of America. Since then, the fast-spreading and deadly disease has been spreading uncontrollably and has taken the lives of millions of people worldwide. For the same reason, the virus has been globally declared an epidemic. According to the data, in the United States alone, almost 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS.

As the name indicates, the HIV targets the infected individual's immune system. Upon entering the infected person's body, the virus stays silent, without any apparent symptoms, and weakens the immune system to a point where a simple infection like the common cold could cause death. In case the virus is diagnosed in the initial stages, treatment is very much possible. This is one reason why the health authorities have emphasized the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. According to CDC, one out of every seven HIV-positive individuals is not aware of his HIV status, and 40% of the newly diagnosed cases of HIV are traced back to the same 1% that didn't know about them being positive. Therefore, early testing and diagnosis can save the infected person's life and prevent the further spread of the disease.

Hence, every individual must get tested for HIV at least once during their lifetime. In the case of individuals belonging to the risk groups of HIV populated communities, testing should be part of their annual routine. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers must also be tested to avoid any risk of transmission of the virus to the fetus or the newborn.

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HIV in New Hampshire

According to the data from CDC, during the year 2015, there were a total of 22 newly diagnosed cases of HIV/AIDS in the state, making the state rank at 46th of the 50 U.S states. The numbers of newly diagnosed cases in New Hampshire have slowly risen over the years. Considering the data from AIDSVu, the total number of people living with HIV in New Hampshire in 2018 was 1260, while the total number of diagnoses during the same year was 38 adults and adolescents.

On the other hand, the report shared by the New Hampshire Infectious Disease Surveillance Section, the total number of newly diagnosed cases of HIV in the state was 31. At the same time, there were ten newly diagnosed cases of AIDS. Most of the increase in cases in New Hampshire was found in Grafton and Sullivan Counties. Gay and bisexual men and other men who reported male sexual partners were the most affected by HIV. The most common ways of transmission of this virus include the male to male sexual contact, sexual contact with HIV-infected persons or having multiple partners, using contaminated syringes/needles, piercings and tattooing. Due to the technological advancements in medicine, HIV is now pretty much treatable, enabling the patient to live a healthy life; the only condition is early diagnosis.

HIV initiatives in New Hampshire

Harbor care, in New Hampshire, is a state-based agency using funds from the Ryan White Part B program to facilitate HIV patients by providing necessary treatment, medications, housing, and financial assistance services. HIV-based services include medical case management, peer support services, and early intervention and prevention services.

Merrimack Valley assistance program is another organization working in New Hampshire to provide testing services, medical case management, emergency health, and financial assistance to the low-income HIV individuals of the state.

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is a government organization which as a specialized program that provides life-sustaining medications, quality clinical and mental health services to the HIV-positive residents of the state. This program uses funds allocated by the Ryan White Part B to improve the quality of life for HIV patients and their families.

Age Gender and Ethnic Disparities

According to the New Hampshire Epi Profile for HIV/AIDS Prevention & Care & Planning, 2013, males were affected mainly by the virus. According to the same report, 78.7% of males and 21.3% of females contracted HIV in 2019. In comparison, 76.5% of males and 23.5 % of females had AIDS.

The virus was more prevalent in white and Hispanic individuals, 70.3% followed by black or African Americans, 15.6%, 9.5% Hispanic, and 2.6 % multiracial individuals. Considering the age, 44.6% of the cases were reported in individuals aged 50 and above. 19.9% were from the age group 45 to 49 , 14.2% from 40 to 44, 7.8% from 35 to 39 years, and 5.7% belonged to 30 to 34 years.

Considering the modes of transmission, the same report indicates that 50.8% of the virus was transmitted due to male or gay sex. 19.5 of the cases were reported due to heterosexual contact, and 6,6% of the cases were due to the use of contaminated needles/syringes for drugs purposes. The same report identified that Hillsborough, Merrimack, and Rockingham counties were mainly affected by HIV/AIDS.

References

  • Centers for Disease Control , 2017. New Hampshire – State Health Profile . cdc.gov. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/st...
  • Harbor Care , 2021. Harbor care. Harbor Care. Available at: https://www.harborcarenh.org/
  • HIV/AIDS Service Organization, 2021. HIV/AIDS service organization- Merrimack Valley Assistance Program (MVAP) . mvap.org. Available at: https://mvap.org/
  • JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc./ Community Health Institute, 2013. New Hampshire Epidemiologic Profile for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Planning 2013. dhhs.nh.gov. Available at: https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/c...
  • New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, 2021. Ryan White care program: STD and HIV prevention: Division of public health services: . dhhs.nh.gov. Available at: https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/b...
  • NH Division of Public Health Services, 2021. New Hampshire STD/HIV Surveillance Program 5 Year Data Summary Report 2015-2019. dhhs.nh.gov. Available at: https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/c...
  • NH Office of Strategic Initiatives, 2021. 2020 census. 2020 Census | State Data Center . Available at: https://www.nh.gov/osi/data-ce...
Reviewed by Debby R, MD. Last updated on Jan 13, 2022

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