Raymond Ganoe, HIV Test Expert

Raymond K. Ganoe is currently the vice president of education for AIDS Community Services (ACS) of WNY, Inc. He holds a master's in business and healthcare administration, a bachelor's degree in social work, and is a Certified Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (CASA) Counselor. Mr. Ganoe is also a trained phlebotomist and has 16 years of administrative and contractual experience in HIV testing.

What initially made you interested in working for AIDS Community Services?
Originally I was the executive director of a smaller community-based organization that did similar work as ACS. As the collaboration of our two programs continued and the financial environment became increasingly challenging, interest developed in bringing programs over to ACS and taking an administrative position there in order to make a better impact on the clients we service. ACS is also the largest and most comprehensive HIV agency in the area.

What is the most rewarding part about working for an HIV/AIDS advocacy group?
Feeling like you are making a positive impact on the community.

How does an HIV test work?
We offer rapid HIV testing here at ACS which provides results in 10 minutes. The test requires a finger prick to obtain a few drops of blood in order to test for HIV anti-bodies. If the anti-bodies are present, that is considered a preliminary positive result, and then a tube of blood is drawn in order to confirm the positive result. It may take up to three months for anti-bodies to appear, so any activity in the past three months may not be indicated by this test. A person who has any risks during that time is encouraged to come back and retest after three months. Positive clients are referred directly to primary care.

Who should be tested for HIV?
Any person who has engaged in risky behaviors such as unsafe sex or sharing of needles, or anyone who has been exposed to potentially infected blood, semen, vaginal fluids or breast milk.

Are there any preparatory steps one should take prior to having an HIV test conducted?
No, just realize that it is always better to know your status.

What kind of training or certification is required to administer an HIV test?
One must complete the HIV Overview and be trained in rapid testing, according to our CLIA guidelines.

What is the most significant piece of advice you can offer to people who wish to get tested for HIV?
HIV is very treatable so it is VERY important to get tested so that you can take care of yourself and your partners.

Do you have any additional advice or suggestions to offer regarding HIV testing?
We acknowledge that it is very nerve racking to get tested but the “not knowing’ is worse.

For more information on HIV testing, read our HIV Test Guide. To find an HIV test, visit our HIV Test Directory.

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