Want to get tested for HIV? Here’s a list of clinics and resources in the Triangle

·6 min read
WOODY MARSHALL/wmarshall@macon.com

Monday, June 27, is National HIV Testing Day — an annual awareness campaign “to encourage people to get tested for HIV, know their status and get linked to care and treatment.”

HIV, a virus that attacks the body’s immune system and can lead to AIDS if left untreated, affected more than 1 million people ages 13 to 64 in the U.S. in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In North Carolina, the number of people living with HIV was 34,963 as of December 31, 2020. The highest rate of newly diagnosed HIV infection was among Black male adults and adolescents at 55 per 100,000 people.

“We do see a higher incidence of new infections in historically marginalized populations,” said David Wessner, a biology professor and HIV researcher at Davidson College. “This disparity reflects more general disparities. Lower access to testing, lower access to treatment, lower access to prevention, lower access to sexual health education all contribute to the increased number of new infections in these communities.”

The most recent report from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services shows there were 375 newly diagnosed infections between January and March 2022.

While there is currently no cure for HIV, it can be controlled with effective treatment. Someone who is HIV positive, but on anti-retroviral therapy, can have undetectable amounts of the virus in their system, Wessner said.

“When a person has an undetectable viral load, there is a very, very low chance that they will transmit the virus to someone else,” Wessner said. “But treatment as prevention requires that a person knows they are HIV-positive.”

That makes getting tested for the virus an important step to identifying whether you have it and preventing it from spreading. In fact, Wessner said roughly 1 in 5 people in the U.S. who are infected with HIV do not know they are infected.

While sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from frequent testing — roughly every three to six months — the CDC recommends everyone ages 13 to 64 get tested for HIV at least once “as part of routine health care.”

There are several ways to get tested for HIV, including using at-home tests and at local clinics.

If you want to get tested in the Triangle on National HIV Testing Day or at any other time, we’ve compiled this list of resources to help.

Local health departments offering HIV testing in NC

Many local health departments across North Carolina offer free or low-cost HIV testing at their clinics, including these health departments in the Triangle:

The Wake County Health Department offers free HIV testing from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays at its Clinic A (10 Sunnybrook Road, Raleigh). Walk-ins are accepted, but appointments are strongly encouraged during daytime testing hours. The department also offers an evening clinic at the same location on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. No appointments are necessary for the evening clinic.

You can learn more about the HIV and STD services the Wake County Health Department offers at wakegov.com/departments-government/health-human-services/public-health-and-medical-services/hiv-hepatitis-c-and-sexually-transmitted-disease-std-information.

Durham County Public Health offers several HIV and STD testing services at its Clinic 6 (414 E. Main St., Durham). HIV and STD testing is offered for free. The clinic is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, closing from noon to 1 p.m. each day. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. You can call 919-560-7600 to make an appointment. If you have it available, the department may request your ID, proof of income and proof of insurance, but no one will be turned away for not having these things.

Learn more about Durham County’s HIV and STD services at dcopublichealth.org/services/std-hiv-testing.

The Orange County Health Department offers free and confidential HIV and STD testing and counseling at its clinic locations in Hillsborough (300 W. Tryon St.) and Chapel Hill (2501 Homestead Road). Appointments for HIV blood tests are available the day of request or the next day. For more information and appointments, call 919-245-2400.

Learn more about the Orange County Health Department’s HIV and STD services at hiv.gov/events/awareness-days/hiv-testing-day.

Free community HIV testing

There are many local organizations that provide HIV testing as part of their community programs and resources in the Triangle, including:

The LGBT Center of Raleigh offers free HIV testing through Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolina every Monday evening from 5 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at 4 North Blount St . There, you will fill out paperwork and a testing counselor will provide pre-test counseling before testing. Results are returned in approximately two weeks and must be given in person. For more information call 919-834-2437 or visit lgbtcenterofraleigh.com/initiatives/healthworks-programs/physical/hiv-sti-testing.html.

Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolina offers free HIV testing Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in its offices, also at 4 North Blount St. in Raleigh, according to its website. Their office offers traditional HIV testing and rapid tests. Please note that while rapid tests are faster, results are most accurate if taken after three months or more of exposure. Walk-ins are accepted. The organization also offers testing at many festivals and events throughout the region. If you would rather make an appointment, call 919-834-2437.

For more information, visit aas-c.org/get-tested.

Student Health Action Coalition HIV provides free HIV testing and counseling in collaboration with the UNC Infectious Diseases clinic at the Carrboro Community Health Center at 301 Lloyd St. Testing is available by appointment only, Wednesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. To schedule an appointment call 984-538-1031 or fill out a request form at https://unc.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_55Rdgf9gjKab1Wd.

For more information, visit med.unc.edu/shac/programs/hiv-xyz/.

How to get an at-home HIV test in NC

If you’d rather test for HIV at home, there are self-test kits available.

“An HIV self-test (or rapid self-test) is an antibody test that can be used at home or in a private location,” the CDC says. “With an HIV self-test, you can get your test results within 20 minutes.”

You can buy tests online or in-person at pharmacies. Local clinics may also offer at-home tests for free or at a reduced cost.

When you get your at-home test, you should follow the directions for how to use it included with the test. If you don’t follow the directions as described, the test may not work and the results may not be reliable.

You can locate an at-home HIV test near you by entering your ZIP code into the tool at cdc.gov/hiv/basics/hiv-testing/hiv-self-tests.html.

More information about HIV testing

Learn more about National HIV Testing Day at hiv.gov/events/awareness-days/hiv-testing-day.

Find additional HIV testing sites near you at cdc.gov/hiv/basics/hiv-testing/finding-tests.html.

Learn more about at-home HIV testing at cdc.gov/hiv/basics/hiv-testing/hiv-self-tests.html.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting