Alamance Cares offers free, rapid result testing for HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis C at our office. Testing only takes one finger-stick, and results come back in 20 minutes. Our testing services are free to everyone, and you don’t need to bring anything.
Our walk-in testing hours are as follows (no appointment needed):
- Every Tuesday, from 10 am-2 pm
- The 3rd Thursday of each month, from 4 pm-7 pm
For testing outside of our walk-in hours, please call to schedule an appointment. This allows us to make sure testing staff is in the office and available when you arrive. For a testing appointment, call us at: (336) 538-8111.
What should I expect at my testing appointment?
Upon arrival, you are escorted into a private office by a testing counselor and given a consent form to fill out and sign. The counselor will answer any of your immediate questions, and then begin to set up for the test(s). The counselor will perform a small finger stick, in order to obtain a blood sample using a sample loop and/or a pipette. Only one finger stick is needed, no matter how many of our three tests you’ve selected. The blood sample will be added to the rapid test kit(s), and the test(s) will begin processing. Once the test(s) are processing, the tester will do some brief post-test education and counseling with you, if you consent. Results are always delivered in person, so while you are welcome to leave during the 20 minute time period that the results are developing, we ask that you return to our office for your results. You will be given written results to take home if you would like.
We welcome your questions and are happy to spend as much time as needed for your testing. Typically, a testing appointment takes a total of 20-30 minutes.
What if my test is reactive for something?
If any of your test results come back reactive for anything, whether it be HIV, syphilis, or hepatitis C, you can be assured that you are in good hands. All of our staff have been through North Carolina’s Counseling, Testing, and Referral (CTR) training and certification process. In addition to performing your confirmation testing, Alamance Cares testing staff are trained to make sure you get all of the information, resources, connection to care, and other support that you need before you ever leave our office. The process for each infection (between HIV, syphilis, or hepatitis C) is slightly different, but the outcome is the same–we work with you swiftly to get you an appointment at a clinic or health department that best suits your needs. Remember, syphilis and hepatitis C can both be cured with medications, and HIV is very treatable/manageable with medications. If you have any questions about our post-testing process, don’t hesitate to call or ask at your appointment!
About Our Rapid Tests
The HIV Tests
Alamance Cares has two brands of rapid HIV tests that we may now use. Supplies may vary at the time of your appointment, so feel free to call and ask any questions regarding which test brands we currently have on hand.
OraQuick Advance HIV-1/2
This 3rd generation finger stick HIV screening test provides results in 20 minutes. 3rd generation HIV tests look for HIV antibodies in the blood. This test has a window period of 3 months–this means if a person were infected with HIV in the last 3 months, this test may not pick up the antibodies in your blood sample (but after 3 months, it is 99.9% accurate). If your test is reactive, Alamance Cares will either run another rapid test or perform a blood draw for confirmation purposes. Find out more about OraQuick here.
Alere Determine HIV-1/2 Combo
The Alere Determine Combo is our rapid 4th generation HIV screening test. 4th generation HIV tests look for both HIV antibodies and antigens in the blood, which means they can detect a new HIV infection just 3 weeks after the initial infection with 99.9% accuracy. The results for this test come back in 20 minutes, and also use fingerstick blood. Typically a 4th generation HIV test requires a blood draw, so we are very excited to be able to offer this rapid test. Find out more about Alere here.
The Syphilis Test
Syphilis Health Check
This rapid syphilis screening test looks for a specific type of syphilis antibodies, called treponemal antibodies. Our rapid syphilis screening test can pick up a new syphilis infection within 10-90 days after the infection. The results also come back in just 10 minutes, making it our fastest processing test.
One thing to keep in mind: Because syphilis is curable but antibodies tend to hang around in the body long after infection, this rapid test will likely always produce a reactive result if a person has ever had syphilis before (even after they’ve been cured and no longer have it!). Because of this, a confirmatory blood draw may be needed to test someone who has had syphilis before in their life. To learn more about our rapid syphilis test, the Syphilis Health Check, click here. If you need to schedule a blood draw, call 336-538-8111 to make an appointment.
The Hepatitis C Test
OraQuick HCV Rapid Antibody Test
Our rapid hepatitis C virus (HCV) test works very similarly to our OraQuick HIV test, as it is made by the same company. The test takes one drop of blood from a finger stick, with the results back in 20 minutes. This test looks for hepatitis C antibodies in the blood, and can detect a new infection after 3 months.
If your rapid HCV test is reactive, it’s important we also perform a blood draw for confirmation. Similarly to syphilis, it is possible to be cured of hepatitis C (thanks to the newer medications available now) and still have a reactive result on this test. There are also about 20% of people who can become infected with hepatitis C, but manage to clear it on their own in the first 6 months. Because of this, we like to run a follow-up test that actually looks for the RNA (genetic material) of the hepatitis C virus. This lets us confirm whether you have an active infection or not. To learn more about the OraQuick HCV test, click here. If you already know you’ve got HCV and will need a blood draw, call 336-538-8111 to make an appointment.
The state of North Carolina requires HIV testing to be confidential, not anonymous. This means that we are required to take down names and other identifying information of people who are tested. This identifying information can only be seen/discussed by the groups listed below. None of the agencies listed can share information with ANYONE else – this includes family members, insurance companies, and employers. They are all bound by HIPAA, a law which protects your health information.
Confidential testing information is only available to:
- Alamance Cares staff
- The State of North Carolina, as required by law
- Central Carolina Health Network (for statistical purposes only, shredded at year-end)
- The local Health Department, only if you have a reactive result for HIV or syphilis
Other states may do anonymous testing, which means they do not require identifying information. However, more and more states are moving to require confidential testing instead. Confidential testing helps ensure people who test positive for any infection can be linked to care and get appropriate support.