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The Importance of HIV Testing

HIV testing is a critical and straightforward measure with profound implications. It’s not just about knowing your status; it’s about taking control of your health and making informed decisions. In a world where HIV remains a significant public health concern, testing is an essential tool for prevention, early detection, and effective management. 

Novus aims to provide clear and concise insights into the undeniable importance of HIV testing, highlighting how this single action can have a lasting impact on both individual well-being and the broader fight against HIV/AIDS. Keep reading to learn more.

Early Detection for Timely Treatment

HIV testing is crucial because it allows for early detection of the virus. Timely diagnosis enables individuals to access antiretroviral therapy (ART) at the earliest stages of infection. Starting treatment early can significantly slow the progression of the virus, improve immune function, and enhance overall health outcomes.

Prevention of Transmission

Knowing one’s HIV status is key to preventing the transmission of the virus to others. Individuals who are aware of their positive status can take necessary precautions, such as practicing safe sex and informing partners, to reduce the risk of spreading HIV to uninfected individuals. Additionally, it’s crucial to highlight the significant role that an undetectable viral load plays in preventing HIV transmission.

The U=U (Undetectable=Untransmittable) movement has been pivotal in reshaping the conversation around HIV transmission and prevention. It underscores the effectiveness of antiretroviral treatment not just in managing the disease but also in preventing its spread. According to U=U, when a person living with HIV adheres to their antiretroviral treatment regimen and achieves an undetectable viral load, the virus becomes untransmittable through sexual contact. This means that someone with an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV to their sexual partners, even without the use of additional barrier methods like condoms.

Reducing Stigma and Discrimination

HIV testing can challenge the stigma and discrimination associated with the virus. By openly discussing and normalizing testing, individuals are more likely to seek it without fear of judgment. This, in turn, helps break down barriers to testing and encourages others to follow suit.

Access to Support and Services

A positive HIV test result connects individuals with a network of support services, including counseling, medical care, and community resources. These services are crucial for managing the physical, emotional, and psychological challenges that can accompany an HIV diagnosis.

Advocating for Safer Practices

Regular HIV testing encourages individuals to engage in safer sexual practices and reduce risky behaviors. It reinforces the importance of consistent condom use, partner communication, and other preventive measures that contribute to overall sexual health.

Navigating Relationships and Intimacy

Knowing one’s HIV status promotes open communication within relationships. It enables individuals to have honest conversations with partners about sexual health, reducing misunderstandings and fostering trust.

HIV Care in Pennsylvania

Novus in PA stands as a beacon of comprehensive and compassionate care for HIV testing and management. With a commitment to fostering a healthier future, Novus provides accessible and confidential HIV testing services that empower individuals to take control of their health. Contact us today to learn more about our HIV care services. 

PrEP 101: Everything You Need to Know About HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

The Essential Guide to HIV PrEP: What You Need to Know

Do you want to protect yourself against HIV? Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a powerful and essential tool for anyone looking to reduce their risk of HIV transmission. In this blog post, we’ll explore what PrEP is, how it works, and what you need to know before starting PrEP. This guide will provide you with the essential information on PrEP that you need for greater peace of mind.

What is PrEP?

PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It’s a daily medication that can reduce your risk of getting HIV if you’re exposed to it. PrEP works by blocking HIV from taking hold and multiplying in your body if you are accidentally exposed to the virus, making it up to 99% effective in preventing HIV infection.

How Does PrEP Work?

PrEP is a pill you take daily, usually taken orally with water. When taken as prescribed, it can reduce your risk of getting HIV from sex by up to 99%. PrEP works by blocking the virus from taking hold and multiplying in your body if you are accidentally exposed.

What Do You Need to Know Before Starting PrEP?

Before you start PrEP, there are a few things that you need to know:

  1. It’s important to get tested for HIV and other STDs before starting the medication. This will help ensure that you’re not already infected and that PrEP will effectively protect you.
  2. You should discuss any other medications or supplements you are taking with your doctor to ensure there won’t be any harmful interactions.
  3. It’s important to get regular checkups while using PrEP as it can help ensure that the medication is working properly and that your overall health is not being affected.

TelePrEP from Novus

TelePrep from Novus empowers you to take control of your sexual health without ever needing to leave your home. Our innovative platform offers a seamless solution for accessing affordable, accessible, and discreet PrEP delivery directly to your doorstep. With TelePrep, you can confidently prioritize your well-being with the convenience of online ordering and discreet packaging, ensuring you have the essential tools for maintaining a healthy and fulfilling life.

Deciding to use PrEP is important, and you must have all the information you need before taking this step. Hopefully, this guide has provided you with the essential knowledge about PrEP so that you can make an informed decision. Be sure to contact us if you have further questions about PrEP and HIV prevention.

PrEP in Pennsylvania

Get Started on PrEP Today with Novus in PA. The experts are here to guide you and answer your questions. Learn how PrEP can help protect you against HIV and the related expenses and necessary medical exams.

Request an appointment with us today.

Youth Empowerment: Educating the Next Generation about HIV Prevention

In an ever-changing world, empowering the youth and the next generation with comprehensive knowledge about HIV prevention is not only crucial for their own well-being but also for the global effort to combat the spread of this virus. As we strive to create a future free from the burdens of HIV/AIDS, educating young minds about effective prevention strategies, dispelling myths, and fostering a culture of inclusivity and understanding is a fundamental step towards a healthier and more compassionate world. 

By equipping today’s youth with accurate information and instilling in them a sense of responsibility, we pave the way for a generation that not only protects themselves but also contributes to the collective effort to end the HIV epidemic.

Comprehensive Sexual Education

Implement age-appropriate and evidence-based sexual education programs in schools. These programs should cover topics such as safe sex practices, condom use, and the importance of regular testing.

Peer Education

Utilize peer educators who are trained to communicate accurate information about HIV prevention to their peers. Young people often feel more comfortable discussing sensitive topics with those of similar age.

Community Engagement

Encourage youth to participate in community service projects related to HIV awareness and prevention. Involvement in initiatives like fundraisers, awareness walks, or volunteering can empower young individuals to take an active role.

Access to Testing and Healthcare

Ensure that young people have access to confidential and affordable HIV testing and healthcare services. When they know their status, they can make informed decisions about their sexual health.

Cultural Sensitivity

Tailor educational materials to be culturally sensitive and relevant to the diverse backgrounds of the youth. Addressing cultural norms and beliefs helps create a more inclusive and effective approach.

School Clubs and Organization

Establish school clubs or student-led organizations focused on HIV education and prevention. These platforms provide opportunities for leadership and peer support.

Guest Speakers

Invite HIV-positive individuals, healthcare professionals, and activists to share their experiences and knowledge. Personal stories can create empathy and help dispel myths and misconceptions.

By utilizing a combination of these approaches, we can effectively educate the next generation about HIV prevention, empower them to make informed choices, and contribute to the global effort to end the HIV epidemic. 

HIV Care in Pennsylvania

Novus in PA is committed to safeguarding the sexual health of our community by offering comprehensive HIV testing and care services. With a dedicated team of healthcare professionals, state-of-the-art facilities, and a compassionate approach, Novus strives to create a supportive environment where individuals can access confidential testing, accurate information, and personalized care. Contact us today for more information.


Common STDs: Types, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Everything You Need to Know About Common STDs

Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are something that very few people like to talk about, but it is an important and necessary conversation. With the potential for serious health complications and an impact on overall well-being, it is essential to increase awareness about STDs. 

Novus will be exploring the common types of STDs, their associated symptoms, and available treatment options. By understanding these crucial aspects, we can empower ourselves and others to make informed decisions, promote safe sexual practices, and seek appropriate medical care when necessary. 


Chlamydia is one of the most common STDs and can be spread through oral, anal, or vaginal sex. The most common symptom of chlamydia is a burning sensation when urinating, but some people may have no symptoms at all. If left untreated, it can cause serious damage to the reproductive organs. Treatment for chlamydia includes antibiotics. 

Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is another common STD caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It can cause painful sores and blisters in and around the genitals and flu-like symptoms, including fever and body aches. There is no cure for genital herpes, but medications are available to help reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks.


Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that can be passed through sexual contact. The most common symptoms are burning when urinating, an unusual discharge from the penis or vagina, and pain in the lower abdomen. Gonorrhea can also cause more serious health problems if it spreads to other parts of the body. Treatment for gonorrhea usually involves antibiotics. 


Syphilis is a bacterial infection passed through direct contact with an open sore or rash. Initial symptoms may include sores around the genitals, mouth, rectum, and swollen glands in the groin area. If untreated, syphilis can cause serious health problems, including blindness and paralysis. Syphilis is treated with antibiotics. 


Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that can cause genital warts and other health problems. Most people don’t experience any symptoms, but some may have painless bumps or warts on the genitals, anus, or mouth. There is no cure for HPV, but it can be managed with medications or treatments.


HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system and can lead to AIDS if left untreated. Common symptoms include fever, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, and other flu-like symptoms. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS, but treatments are available to help manage the virus and keep it from progressing to AIDS.

If you think you may have an STD, it’s important to see a doctor right away for testing and treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent serious complications and reduce the risk of spreading the disease. It’s also important to practice safe sex during each sexual encounter. This will help protect you from contracting an STD and reduce the risk of spreading any existing infections.

STD Treatment in Pennsylvania

No matter what, it’s important to be informed about STDs and practice safe sex to protect yourself and your partner. If you think you may have been exposed or are experiencing any symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact Novus in PA. We can provide free testing, treatment options, and prevention strategies.


The Role of Communication in Building Healthy Sexual Relationships

Talk it Out: The Power of Communication in Strengthening Intimacy

No matter how much we may try to appreciate the physical side of a relationship, it’s undeniable that communication plays a major role in strengthening intimacy and building strong, healthy sexual relationships. Couples who can talk openly and communicate their feelings and desires experience greater sexual satisfaction than those who don’t. 

From discussing boundaries to fostering open dialogue about desires and expectations, communication is key to creating an intimate connection between two people. Today, we’ll explore how good communication can help create and sustain intimate relationships.

Talking About Boundaries

Open dialogue about boundaries is essential in any intimate relationship. This means discussing the type of physical intimacy that each person feels comfortable with, how they like to be touched, what words they use to talk about sex, and any other preferences or restrictions they might have. It’s important to remember that these boundaries can change over time, so staying open and honest with each other about what you’re comfortable with is important.

Fostering Open Communication

Open communication is also key to fostering intimacy between two people. Rather than assuming what the other person wants or needs, talking openly and honestly about your desires and expectations is important. This means being willing to listen as much as you talk and taking the time to understand each other’s feelings and perspectives. It also means not being afraid to ask questions or make requests, even if they might initially feel uncomfortable.

Exploring New Experiences Together

One of the best ways to strengthen intimacy between two people is to explore new experiences together. This could mean trying something completely different, such as a new sexual position or activity, or simply taking the time to talk about your fantasies and exploring them with each other. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to say “no” if something does not feel right for either of you, but also to keep an open mind and be willing to try new things to build a stronger connection.

By taking the time to communicate openly and honestly, couples can create an intimate connection that can last for years. From exploring boundaries to fostering open dialogue about desires and expectations, communication is key to building strong, healthy sexual relationships. So don’t be afraid to talk with your partner and make an effort to explore new experiences together; you never know what kind of connection you may find.

Sexual Care in Pennsylvania

At every one of Novus’ Pennsylvania locations, we strive to promote healthy sexual living by providing complimentary STI and HIV testing, while offering budget-friendly solutions for HIV prevention as well as first-rate treatment and care for HIV and Hepatitis C. Don’t let health concerns hold you back – come benefit from our comprehensive services and start living your best life today!

Contact us today to learn more about our services. 

Navigating Relationships and Intimacy with HIV

A Guide to Navigating HIV in Your Relationships

When living with HIV, many people fear that relationships and intimacy are no longer a possibility. Despite the challenges, safe and loving connections are still attainable for those living with HIV. This blog will explore how to navigate dating, sex, and relationships while living with HIV, touching on topics like disclosing your status, taking precautions, and creating supportive environments.

Disclosing Your Status

When it comes to dating and relationships, the first step is deciding if and when you feel comfortable disclosing your status to potential partners. This can be a difficult decision, as some people may have negative reactions or simply not understand the virus. It’s important to remember that stigma still exists, so choose a safe space where you feel respected and secure before sharing the information. It’s OK to take your time with this decision—prioritize your own safety and comfort level first.

Be Honest

Once you have decided to discuss your status, be open and honest with potential partners about what this means for them and yourself. This includes discussing HIV transmission risks, how you plan to make sex safer, and any other topics you feel are important for them to know.

Take Precautions

In addition to discussing HIV, it’s also important to practice safer sex practices in order to reduce the risk of transmission. This means using barrier methods like condoms or dental dams during both oral and penetrative sex and not sharing needles. In addition, getting regular medical care and taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) as prescribed can help to reduce the amount of HIV in the body and achieve an undetectable viral load. When HIV is undetectable, it means that the amount of virus in the blood is so low that it cannot be detected by standard tests.

Research has shown that people with an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV to their sexual partners. Becoming undetectable is therefore an important step in protecting partners and preventing the spread of HIV. It may also be beneficial to explore pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for partners, which are medication regimens that can reduce the risk of HIV transmission.

Create a Safe Environment

Finally, creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable discussing their needs and boundaries around sex is crucial to ensure a healthy and safe relationship with your partner(s). Make sure that everyone is on the same page about what is OK and not OK for all parties involved. Communication is key, so remember to check in with each other frequently to ensure that everyone’s needs are still being met.

Living with HIV does not have to mean a life of loneliness and isolation—it just requires different considerations than before. With proper precautions, healthcare, and open communication, those living with HIV can still experience safe and loving relationships.

HIV Care in Pennsylvania

At Novus, we believe everyone deserves the best quality of care and treatment. Our team of expert healthcare professionals in Pennsylvania provides comprehensive diagnoses, treatments, and preventative services for those affected by HIV—including PrEP: HIV prevention for partners. 

Contact us to get started on your journey towards better health today!

Self-Care Guide for People with HIV

A Step-by-Step Guide to Practicing Self-Care for People With HIV

Self-care is important to maintaining your health, regardless of your HIV status. However, for people living with HIV, it is especially crucial to practice self-care to stay healthy and manage any symptoms you may experience. In this blog, Novus will provide a step-by-step guide on best taking care of yourself. We will cover everything from eating a balanced diet to maintaining dental hygiene. If you are living with HIV, we hope this guide will help you live healthier and happier lives!

Eat a Balanced Diet

Eating a nutritious, balanced diet is key for people living with HIV. Focusing on foods high in protein, vitamins, and minerals can help boost the immune system and give your body the energy it needs to function properly. Try to include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins like fish or chicken, and complex carbohydrates like whole grains. Limit your intake of processed foods with high amounts of fat and sugar.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise can help boost your mood, reduce stress levels, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve overall cardiovascular health. If you’re new to exercise, start slowly and gradually build up. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate daily activity, such as walking, jogging, or cycling.

Manage Stress

Stress can affect your physical and mental health, so it’s important to take steps to manage it. Ensure you get enough sleep, practice relaxation techniques such as mindfulness or yoga, and find ways to reduce stress in your daily life (like delegating tasks or taking a break).

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Taking care of your teeth and gums is an important part of self-care for people with HIV. Brush twice a day, floss daily, and use mouthwash to keep your breath fresh. Additionally, schedule regular dental checkups to detect any problems early.

Stay Connected

Social connections are important for your overall well-being, so stay connected with friends and family. Reach out to others via phone, video chat, or in person; even a short conversation can make a big difference. Additionally, look into local support groups that specialize in HIV so you can connect with others who understand what you’re going through.

Adhere to Medication Guidelines

If you are living with HIV, you must adhere to your medication guidelines and follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. Taking your medication late or skipping doses can lead to drug resistance, making the medications less effective. It’s also important to stay up-to-date with your healthcare provider’s advice and take any tests they recommend. This could include monitoring for changes in your viral load, taking blood tests to check for other infections or diseases, and getting regular physical exams. Additionally, your provider may advise you to take other medications – such as vitamins or supplements – to ensure your body maintains the best possible health.

Following these steps gives you the best chance of living a healthy and happy life. Remember to be patient with yourself and practice self-compassion – your health is the most important thing. If you ever need extra support, don’t hesitate to contact a healthcare professional.

HIV Care in Pennsylvania

At Novus, our Pennsylvania healthcare professionals specialize in prompt and high-quality diagnosis, treatment, and care and PrEP: HIV prevention for partners. We are committed to helping those affected by HIV access the best care and treatment available.

To request an appointment, visit our site or give us a call at one of our locations in Pennsylvania.

Sexual Wellness 101

A Guide to Sexual Wellness: What You Need to Know

Being sexually active is an important part of your overall wellness. Taking care of your sexual health not only involves understanding the risks associated with unprotected sex but also knowing how to protect yourself and your partner(s). 

Here is a primer to help you understand what you need to know about staying safe and healthy in the bedroom.

What Is Sexual Wellness?

Sexual wellness is a holistic approach to sexual health that focuses on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. It requires knowledge of the risks associated with unprotected sex and how to protect yourself and your partner(s) from them. Additionally, it involves taking steps to ensure that all aspects of your sexuality are being addressed in a safe and responsible manner.

How Can I Practice Good Sexual Wellness?

Practicing good sexual wellness starts with education. Knowing your body’s anatomy, physiology, limits, desires, preferences and boundaries, as well as where you stand on issues related to consent, are all essential pieces of information when it comes to making informed decisions about sex. Additionally, educating yourself on STIs/STDs can help you recognize their symptoms if they arise and take steps for proper diagnosis and treatment.

It’s also important to make sure you have access to reliable contraception if needed, including condoms or other barrier methods like birth control pills if necessary. Concerning communication with partners, it’s paramount for all parties involved in a sexual encounter to be honest about their desires as well as any potential risks involved in engaging in unprotected sex.

Confidential Sexual Care in Pennsylvania               

Taking proactive steps towards achieving better sexual health is not only empowering but necessary for maintaining overall well-being!

At Novus, we guarantee you will be welcomed with open arms no matter who you are; our staff is as inclusive and diverse as the communities we serve. Each of our five Pennsylvania locations is dedicated to helping facilitate healthy lifestyles for all. We offer free testing for STIs and HIV, as well as affordable HIV prevention (PrEP) and quality HIV/Hep C treatment and care. 

To request an appointment, head to our website or give us a call at any of our locations!

Why Regular STD Testing is Important

Top Reasons to Undergo Frequent STD Testing 

As an adult, it is critical to pay attention to your sexual health. Every sexually active person should prioritize regular testing for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Even if you practice safe sex and assume that your partner does, removing uncertainty through testing can provide a greater sense of peace of mind. 

By understanding the risks associated with STDs and scheduling regular tests, you can ensure that you remain healthy and help protect yourself and your partner(s) against any potential infections or diseases.

Everyone Can Contract STDs

It is a common misconception that STDs can only be contracted through intercourse. Though it may not seem possible, some STDs like HPV and Syphilis can be spread through regular skin-to-skin contact. Moreover, other sexually transmissible ailments, such as oral herpes, can be passed on by casual affective contact with infected friends or family members.

It’s Never Too Late to Get Tested

Honest communication with your sexual partners is key to keeping STDs at bay. Individuals in long-term, monogamous relationships often forgo frequent STD testing and assume they won’t get infected. Getting tested is the only way to know if you or your partner have pre-existing infections. It will help you properly address the situation and take the necessary steps to ensure you lead a safe and satisfying sex life.  

Diagnosis is Necessary for Proper Treatment

Being properly diagnosed by a reputable healthcare provider is paramount to ensure you receive an effective treatment plan as soon as possible. Untreated STDs can potentially cause permanent, chronic issues and diseases. 

Remember that STDs are often much easier to control or eradicate when caught early. If you suspect you may have contracted an STD, we recommend you get in touch with your trusted healthcare provider as soon as possible; it could save your life.

Not All STDs Cause Symptoms

Regular STD testing and treatment are indispensable to effectively help prevent infection! Lack of symptoms does not necessarily indicate an absence of STDs. Being symptom-free does not guarantee you don’t have a sexually transmitted disease that you could unknowingly pass on to others. 

Free, Confidential STD Testing and Care in Pennsylvania

If you are looking for free and confidential STD testing in Pennsylvania, Novus is the name to know and trust. With five convenient locations across the state, we ensure every individual has access to comprehensive testing for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, HIV, and Hepatitis C.

Give us a call today to schedule your appointment or fill out this simple form and one of our friendly staff will get back to you in a timely manner.


What Are Antiretrovirals And How Do They Work?

The Effectivity of Antiretroviral Therapy Against HIV/AIDS

The past few decades have brought about some of the most meaningful discoveries in antiretroviral therapy (ART). These fast-paced advancements have allowed treatment to become more easily accessible, benefiting the overall well-being of HIV-affected communities and individuals. 

But how much do you know about the evolution of antiretroviral therapy through the years and how it works? The team of healthcare professionals at Novus, PA, has you covered; read on to discover more! 

ART History Crash Course 

For years, the scientific community has worked tirelessly to find ways to appease one of the most severe epidemics in modern history. Thanks to their thorough research and groundbreaking discoveries, what once was a deadly disease has become a manageable chronic condition. 

The first reported cases of HIV/AIDS came to the surface in 1981. They manifested themselves as a series of lung infections and other diseases that showed the immune systems of those affected –– often gay men–– were collapsing. Cases and deaths escalated exponentially and appeared among different sectors of the population. A year later, the CDC introduced the term Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and defined it as “a disease occurring in a person with no known cause for diminished resistance to that disease”.  

In 1983, a team of French researchers identified a retrovirus they believed could be at the root of AIDS and named it lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV). In the US, the CDC confirmed that transmission through sexual contact and infected blood exposure were the main causes of infection. Within two years, the CDC announced that AIDS was caused by the newly detected human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Shortly after, the FDA approved the first antibody test to detect traces of the virus in blood samples. 

In March of 1987, the FDA approved the first antiretroviral drug. However, AIDS remained the leading cause of death among Americans 25-44 in 1994. The urgency of the situation led to widespread recommendations on the use of antiretroviral drugs (PEP) to reduce infection in individuals exposed to HIV in healthcare settings. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatments wouldn’t be approved until 2012. 

Expanded health insurance access and new federal policies led to a significant decrease in HIV-related deaths throughout the 2010s. The past decade witnessed astounding progress in antiretroviral therapy research and brought more potent and safer ART drugs. 

Nowadays, extensive studies are being led worldwide and work closely with communities of people living with HIV/AIDS, bearing promising results and leading to an accelerated approval rate for new, life-changing drugs. Single-tablet daily combinations are available and have increased treatment success rates, translating into improved life expectancy.

How Do Antiretrovirals Work?

ART aims to reduce the risk of HIV transmission. This combination of medicines (commonly known as an HIV treatment regimen) prevents the virus from multiplying and reduces its viral load (the amount of HIV in the body). This gives the immune system an opportunity to recover, fight off infections and minimize the risk of transmission. Reducing an individual’s viral load to undetectable levels has become possible, eliminating the risk of transmission through sex. 

Taking ART after contact with an infected individual could save your life. If you believe you might have contracted HIV, please get in touch with your trusted healthcare provider without delay to begin antiretroviral therapy. 

Where to Go For Antiretroviral Therapy in Pennsylvania?

At Novus, we strongly believe everyone should have easy access to expert, compassionate care. Our team of medical specialists has years of experience providing affordable and confidential treatment options for all. 

With 5 locations across Pennsylvania, you can rest assured knowing there is a Novus center near you. Contact us today to request an appointment; we look forward to speaking with you! 


Debunking Myths About HIV

Debunking the Myths Around HIV: Get the Facts

An estimated 1.2 million people in the United States alone are currently living with HIV. However, false notions about this condition still abound and prevent many from getting tested or seeking treatment that could save their lives.

This guide covers some of the most common myths about HIV and helps to dispel the fear around it. Here’s what you need to know about common HIV misconceptions so you can protect yourself against it with facts instead of fear.

Myth #1: HIV Is Easily Contracted

HIV can only be transmitted if contact is made with bodily fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal secretions, or breast milk. In most cases, HIV is not spread by casual contact like shaking hands or hugging.

Myth #2: Condoms Aren’t Effective at Preventing HIV

The most common way for someone to contract HIV is by having unprotected sex with someone who is living with it. Using condoms has proven highly effective at preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. To increase the safety of these contraceptives and prevent them from breaking or slipping, we recommend you use water or silicone-based lubricants.

Myth #3: An Undetectable Viral Load Means No Transmission of HIV

While it is true that an undetectable viral load means you will not sexually transmit HIV to your partner(s), there is still not enough data to determine whether there is a risk of HIV transmission through shared needles, syringes or other drug injection paraphernalia.  

Moreover, being undetectable doesn’t make you immune to STDs; we therefore strongly encourage the use of condoms as added protection during sexual activity. 

Myth #4: People Living with HIV Shouldn’t Have Children

It’s true that children born to a mother with HIV who don’t get treatment may contract the virus. However, if mother and infant are treated properly, the chances of the child getting HIV are less than 2%!

Myth #5: Being on Antiretrovirals Makes Sexual Relationships Risky for Others

In order for someone to be infected with HIV, they need to come into direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who has the virus. This includes blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breast milk. Individuals who take antiretrovirals as prescribed can reduce their viral load (the amount of HIV in their body) to very low levels and become undetectable, meaning they will not transmit HIV to their sex partners. 

Moreover, the proper use of prophylactic methods can significantly lower the risk of contracting HIV. Regular testing is another great way to ensure you are doing everything under your control to keep yourself and your partners safe.  

Myth #6: You Don’t Have To Take PrEP Every Day

In order to work effectively, PrEP must be taken daily, as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Using PrEP in combination with condoms will ensure you are taking all the necessary measures to protect yourself not only from HIV but also from other STDs like chlamydia or gonorrhea. 

Consider setting up daily reminders on your phone to make sure you take all your doses. In addition, ask your pharmacy if you can opt for auto refills so that you never run out of PrEP.

Visit One of Our PA Locations For Comprehensive STD & HIV Testing Services

If you think you might have contracted HIV, please see a health professional immediately so they can test and provide treatment. At Novus, our team is dedicated to providing specialized care for every person who visits us; we are experts at what we do, and it shows in the personalized and compassionate services we provide.

Contact us today to request an appointment at one of our five Pennsylvania locations; we look forward to meeting you. 


STD Tests; Which Ones To Get?

How to Choose the Right STD Test

Getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases is one of the best ways to protect your health if you are sexually active. There are many different types of STD tests, so it can be difficult to know which ones you should take in order to get the most accurate results and the best possible care. To help you protect yourself and your partners, it’s important to get tested–– but which ones are right for you?

Read on to learn more about choosing the right STD test to ensure you and your partners stay healthy and have all the resources to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. 

What is STD Testing?

If you are sexually active, getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases regularly could prove to be lifesaving. Start the process by having an open and honest conversation with your doctor about your sexual history; they will be able to assess your situation and advise you on whether or not STD testing is right for you. Depending on your risk factors, your doctor may recommend a specific one or a combination of tests.

If you don’t feel comfortable discussing your medical needs with your regular health care provider, visit a clinic specializing in STD testing for confidential and affordable options.

STD Testing Recommendations

  • Sexually active women younger than 25 or women over 25 with increased risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners → test for gonorrhea and chlamydia yearly.
  • Pregnant individuals → test for syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C early in pregnancy. 
  • Sexually active gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men should test:
    • At least once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Please get tested more frequently if you have multiple or anonymous partners.
    • At least once a year for HIV.
    • At least once a year for hepatitis C, especially if living with HIV.
  • People who have engaged in oral or anal sex should speak with their healthcare provider about throat and rectal testing options.
  • Individuals who participate in activities that put them at risk of contracting HIV, such as unprotected sex and sharing needles, should get tested annually.
  • Adults and adolescents from ages 13 to 64 → test for HIV at least once.

Free STD Testing in Pennsylvania

Maintaining a healthy and fulfilling sex life is essential to your overall well-being. At Novus, we’re committed to making your visits here as comfortable as possible – all while adhering to the highest safety standards.

To receive your free STD test, please visit our website and request your appointment today!

Tips On How To Practice Sexual Health Self-Care

Sexual Health Self-Care: 4 Tips For A Healthy Sex Life

Sexual health self-care can be a fun and rewarding aspect of your life. Learning how to take care of yourself before, during, and after an intimate encounter is an important part of being a sexually healthy individual.  

Whether you’re in an established relationship or looking to increase your chances of finding someone new, there are many ways to practice sexual health self-care on your own! 

1. Don’t Skip Your Yearly Wellness Visit

No matter how healthy you feel, it’s important to visit your doctor for routine checkups. This is especially true when it comes to sexual health. Seeing your doctor regularly can help catch any problems early and ensure you stay healthy year-round.

2. Pick Your Preferred Prevention Options

Trying to decide which birth control method is right for you can be overwhelming. There are so many options available, and it’s hard to know which one will work best for your body and lifestyle. If you are undecided about what birth control options best suit your needs, talk to your doctor; they will be happy to help you understand the pros and cons of each method and help you choose the one that’s right for you.

Additionally, we recommend talking to your trusted healthcare provider about taking PrEP: Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and PEP: Post Exposure Prophylaxis. PrEP provides daily protection against HIV while PEP is an emergency medication taken following potential exposure to HIV. You can learn more about PrEP and PEP here.

3. Be Open With Your Partner About Safe Practices

Maintaining honest and transparent conversations about safe sex practices with your partner is paramount to your overall health and relationship. This means being open about what safe practices you’re comfortable with and ensuring your partner is pleased with them too.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few tips to help you get the conversation started:

  • Make sure you’re on the same page about safe sex practices.
  • Communicate before, during and after sex.
  • If you’re in pain or uncomfortable, tell your partner immediately.
  • Talk about birth control options and which one is more comfortable for you both.

4. Get Tested For STIs 

Getting tested for STIs regularly is the best way to ensure you and your partner(s) make informed decisions about your sexual health. It will also help you determine if you have an STI so you can get treatment as soon as possible. 

Finding a provider you trust and feel comfortable with is essential to ensure a seamless experience when addressing your sexual health; consider asking friends for recommendations and prepare a list of questions before your first visit to make sure you feel at ease. 

Sexual Wellness Care Professionals In Pennsylvania

Maintaining a fulfilling and happy sex life is an important part of your overall well-being. Here at Novus, we want you to always feel safe and respected when visiting one of our care centers.

Request an appointment today on our website or give us a call at any of our 5 Pennsylvania locations!

Hepatitis C Explained

Everything You Need to Know About Hep C 

Hepatitis C, also known as Hep C, is a serious liver inflammation caused by the Hepatitis C virus. Because it progresses slowly, individuals with Hepatitis C are often asymptomatic for a long time; therefore, regular testing is recommended as a measure to detect infection as soon as possible. 

What else should you know about Hepatitis C? 

At Novus, we believe that the more you know, the better prepared you will be to actively prevent infection or act quickly if you think you might have contracted this virus. Read on to learn more about the effects and consequences Hep C can have on the human body.

How Is Hep C Transmitted?

Hepatitis C is bloodborne, which means it can only be transmitted through exposure to blood that carries the virus. It is often hard to determine how or when an individual contracted Hep C. However, there are several high-risk activities that are often at the root of these infections; some examples are: 

  • Sharing drug use equipment; especially needle sharing.
  • Sharing piercing or tattoo tools.
  • Blood transfusions. 
  • Organ transplants.
  • Non-sterile medical equipment.
  • Sexual contact.

Is Hep C Curable?

If left untreated, Hepatitis C can cause serious scarring in the liver, cancer, and liver failure. However, nowadays, advanced treatment and care make it possible for individuals who have been infected with Hepatitis C to fully recover with minimal side effects. An individual will be considered cured when tests can no longer detect traces of the virus in their blood three months after the end of the treatment. 

How Can I Protect Myself From Hep C?

The most effective way to prevent Hepatitis C is to avoid using any item that has potentially been into contact with another individual’s blood.

Despite the chances of sexual Hep C transmission being low, they are not nonexistent. Therefore, barrier methods are recommended. 

Additionally, if you think you might have contracted Hep C, it is paramount that you get tested right away to begin treatment and avoid transmitting the virus. 

Hep C Care For All

If you know or believe you have contracted Hep C, it is crucial that you visit a trusted healthcare professional right away. At Novus, we are committed to offering a personalized approach to all our patients. From testing to diagnosis and treatment, our dedicated providers have the experience to come up with a plan to help cure your Hep C. 

Request an appointment today on our website or give us a call at any of our 5 Pennsylvania locations!

Undetectable=Untransmittable: What Does it Mean?

U=U Explained

For decades, doctors and scientists researched and found evidence that high viral loads were at the center of increased HIV transmission rates. In the mid-’90s, major advances in antiretroviral therapy proved that a triple-drug treatment could durably suppress the virus to minimal levels. 

In 2016, Prevention Access launched the U=U (Undetectable=Untransmittable) campaign, a movement that aims to raise awareness about HIV transmission, promote treatment plans and educate on prevention methods. Since then, U=U has been recognized by the global medical and scientific community as a motto that has changed lives, broken stigmas, and stopped transmissions. But what does U=U really mean?

The Meaning of Undetectable & Untransmittable HIV 

Early diagnosis and treatment of HIV are crucial to prevent the spread of the virus and to achieve viral load suppression, the reduction of HIV in the body to undetectable levels. Therefore, if you are an individual living with HIV and the virus levels in your body are neutralized by effective ART (antiretroviral therapy) treatment, HIV becomes untransmittable, and the risk of contagion nonexistent. 

Staying Undetectable

Antiretroviral medicines do not cure HIV, but they can control it. Properly following ART treatment, as prescribed by a healthcare provider, will decrease an individual’s viral load to very low levels and could render it undetectable over time. Starting treatment as soon as possible is crucial to effectively stop the virus from multiplying. 

Patience is key; take into account that, for the virus to be considered untransmittable, an individual living with the HIV will need to be undetectable for six months – typically, a minimum of two viral load tests will be taken over this period of time to assess the status of the infection. If you are an individual living with HIV, don’t forget to take your medicines as directed and visit your doctor frequently for checkups, it could save lives!  

Learn More About U=U by Visiting One of Our PA Locations 

If you believe you may have contracted HIV, it is paramount that you visit a trained provider as soon as possible to get tested and start ART. The team of qualified, experienced staff at Novus is committed to providing high-quality care for each patient throughout every visit. 

Contact us today to request an appointment at one of our five Pennsylvania locations; we look forward to meeting you. 


Post-Exposure Prophylaxis Explained

Everything You Need to Know About Post-Exposure Prophylaxis

PEP, not to be confused with PrEP, stands for post-exposure prophylaxis, a short course of medicines that individuals can start taking very soon after being exposed to HIV. This treatment aims to prevent the virus from spreading through your body. 

In order for PEP to be effective, it must be taken within three days (72 hours) of possible exposure; it will not work after that period of time. Remember that every hour counts! 

Do You Need PEP?

If you are HIV-negative or don’t know your HIV status and believe you may have been exposed to HIV within the last 72 hours, PEP might be right for you. Contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible or go to an emergency room or urgent care facility where a team of medical experts will evaluate you and put together a treatment plan to prevent HIV infection. 

PEP should only be used in emergency situations and is not intended to replace other HIV preventive measures.

How To Take PEP

Once you get to a healthcare facility, a doctor or nurse will assess your situation, do some testing, and decide whether PEP is right for you. If you are prescribed a PEP treatment, you will have to take a medication regimen for at least 28 days. Moreover, you might have to return to your doctor’s office throughout your treatment process for additional testing.

Does PEP Work?

Taking every dose is paramount for PEP to work. However, keep in mind that, while this treatment method is often successful at stopping HIV infection, it is not 100% effective; continue protecting yourself and others from HIV while on PEP. 

Exposed? Contact Our Offices for an Appointment

If you believe you may have been exposed to an HIV infection, please call your closest NOVUS location as soon as possible to schedule an appointment with one of our nurse practitioners; mention that you may have been exposed and that you need an appointment urgently and one of our friendly staff will help you out.