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Address

Mailing Address:

Mecklenburg County Public Health
249 Billingsley Road
Charlotte, NC 28211

Office Location:


Mecklenburg County Public Health
249 Billingsley Road
Charlotte, NC 28211

MAP

HOW ARE WE DOING?

Hours: Mon-Fri  8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Contact

Please do not send confidential information
via email.


704-336-4700

Key Initiatives

Common Questions About HIV & STDs


Sexually transmitted diseases/infections (STDs, STIs) have subtle symptoms or no symptoms at all and may go undetected without performing the proper screening tests. With so much information, it can be confusing as to knowing where to start.

Testing

Where can I be tested?

Many organizations throughout Mecklenburg County offer free or low-cost testing options.

Mecklenburg County Public Health offers free, confidential testing at community-based sites and within our two clinics. For more information, visit: Community-Testing-Sites

Who should Be tested?

All adults and adolescents (ages 13 – 64) should be tested for HIV at least once in their life. How often someone should be tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) depends on risk factors including the number of partners, type of sexual activity or drug use. To determine if you are at risk for HIV/STDs, a counselor may ask questions regarding sex, lifestyle and drug use during your visit.

Generally, most people benefit from an STD screening at least once a year. It is important to know that not all doctors provide regular testing for HIV/STDs, so check with your doctor or medical provider after each visit.

If you or a partner have tested positive for an STD, every partner should be tested and treated to avoid re-infection.

​What should I expect?

Testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases is simple and confidential. A variety of methods are used by healthcare providers to diagnose sexually transmitted infections. The most common include:

  • Drawing a small tube of blood
  • Performing a finger stick
  • Collecting throat and/or rectal swabs
  • Collecting a urine sample


It is important that you ask and understand which tests are being performed and how they work during any visit. Not all tests are the same, and not all providers will screen for the same STDs.

During your visit, a trained professional will ask a series of questions about your sexual history, drug use or other aspects about your health. While these questions may be intimidating or even slightly uncomfortable, it is important to answer truthfully and honestly. This conversation helps determine your specific risk factors and guides which tests to perform and how best to connect you to any other resources if needed.
Remember, all information shared is confidential and never shared outside of the healthcare team.

At the conclusion of your visit, you should know: 

  • Which tests are being conducted
  • How to receive your results
  • How to access safer-sex materials (condoms, lube) and lower your risk factors
  • Who to contact if you have any further questions

​How often should I be tested?

Every 3-6 months:

  • Anyone who has multiple or anonymous partners
  • Anyone who shares injection drug needles or equipment
  • All sexually active men who have sex with men and transgender individuals

Every year:

  • All sexually active persons over the age of 13

What is the window period?

Each STI test has a 'window period'. This is the time between when a person comes in contact with an STI, and when the STI will show up on a test. If the test is taken too soon after contact, there is a chance that a test result is not accurate. 

The window period varies from person to person and depends on the type of test. If you are concerned about specific exposure to an STD, ask your health care provider or test counselor about when you should be tested.

Why can I not be tested more frequently?

While testing can provide you with an understanding of your status, it alone does not prevent the transmission of an infection alone. Enough time must pass between the point of infection and the moment you are tested to detect an accurate result (window period). During this time, potential transmission can continue to occur without either partner knowing or showing any symptoms. The recommended times for testing are based on the amount of time it would take for an infection to develop and be detectable. 

Remember - testing alone is not prevention. Testing will only tell you if you have been infected after the window period has passed. Additional proper measures to prevent STDs (communication, wearing a condom during intercourse, utilizing PrEP) should be taken in addition to regular testing.

I think my partner may have an STD. What should I do?

Anyone who is suspected to have come in contact with an STD should call 704-336-6500 to make an appointment for treatment. Treatment may include medication during the time of visit as well as further testing to evaluate ongoing care.

Please be aware that HIV is not considered transmittable if your partner is in care, taking medications and considered untransmittable. Clear, direct communication with partners can help as well as regular, consistent testing of all partners. Just like diabetes and cancer screenings - consistent preventative STD testing can help detect any changes in your body even if you are not experiencing symptoms. Please see: How Often Should I Be Tested? for more details.

Do you test for genital herpes?

The Center for Disease Control does not recommend regular testing for genital herpes (HSV-1 or HSV-2) for people without symptoms.

Genital herpes is a common STD caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Symptoms of HSV-1 and HSV-2 include blisters on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth, known as "having an outbreak". The blisters break and leave painful sores and it may take weeks to heal.

Most people who have HSV-1 or HSV-2 don't have symptoms. An infection does not usually result in serious outcomes in healthy, non-pregnant adults. More often, the stigma and shame from a genital herpes infection can be more troubling to someone who is infected than the disease itself.

If you are pregnant, it is important to talk to your doctor about testing as herpes infections in babies can be life-threatening. Medication is available to manage symptoms and lower your risk of spreading the infection.

If you are experiencing continuous symptoms related to genital herpes and in need of medication, please call 704-336-6500 to schedule an appointment.

 

Results

Will my test results be available immediately?

​Some STDs can be detected by a rapid test. These tests are usually done with blood from a finger prick or with oral fluid. Test results are usually available within 30 minutes or less.
Like with all testing, the window period (time since infection for an accurate result) can vary greatly with rapid tests. Not all STDs can be diagnosed with the use of a rapid test. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out if a rapid test is right for you.
If you think you've been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours, talk to your health care provider about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), right away.

I was tested at the health department; how do I get my results?

Results are available five business days after the day you were tested.

There are four options to access your results 

  1. Call 1-855-790-8968
    • Enter the Unique ID given to you during your test visit, followed by #
    • Enter your PIN (six-digit date of birth, MMDDYY), followed by #
  2. Websitewww.mytestresults.com.
    • Enter customer number: 8557908968
    • Enter the Unique ID given to you during your test visit
    • Enter your PIN (six-digit date of birth, MMDDYY)
  3. Walk into clinic A at either Health Department location
    You do not need an appointment. ID required for printed results.
    Hours: Mon/Tue/Thur/Fri: 8am - 11am & 1pm - 4pm|Wed: 10am - 1pm & 3pm - 6pm
    • 2845 Beatties Ford Road Charlotte, NC 28216
    • 249 Billingsley Road Charlotte, NC 28211
  4. Return to the community-based testing site if you were tested outside of a Mecklenburg County Public health clinic. Verify with testing staff if you would like a printed copy of your results.

Please note: If you attempt to access your results before seven days from being tested, you may hear "I'm sorry that was an invalid unique identifier." Please allow 7 days or 5 business days to access your results. If after 5 business days from testing, you still receive an error please call 704-432-8378.

​What if my test results are positive?

If a result is found to be positive, it means you have been infected and need treatment. A healthcare provider or counselor will contact you to discuss your options and offer support.

Finding out that you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI), can be confusing or even scary - but you are not alone. The majority of people who are sexually active will get at least one STI in their lifetime. With the proper care and medication, STIs can be treated and managed.

It is important that your partner(s) be notified, tested and treated. Anyone you have had oral, anal, or vaginal/ internal genital sex with may unknowingly pass it on to another person (including back to you), or it can develop into more serious health problems if left untreated. You have options on how to tell your partners, see "How Do I Tell My Partner?" below.

For more information about treatment, or to make an appointment call 704-432-TEST.

​How Do I Tell My Partner(s)?

​It may be emotionally uncomfortable but telling your partners about STDs allows them to protect their health, too. Being diagnosed with an STD can cause many strong emotions. You may begin to question your trust in your partner or be worried that they will question their trust in you. Before you blame anyone, know that STDs are common and don't always cause symptoms. It is possible that you or your partner got the STD in a previous relationship without even knowing it. Keeping that in mind, talk to your partner as soon as possible. Be honest and straightforward.

Some options on how to tell your partner may include:

  • You can bring your partner to the clinic you went to.
  • You can tell your partner to go to the clinic you went to. Your partner should tell clinic staff which infection you were diagnosed with. Sharing this information will help your partner get the correct tests and treatment.
  • You may be able to get a prescription or medicine for both you and your partner from the clinic or from your doctor. This is called expedited partner therapy (EPT).
  • Your partner can go to their own doctor or clinic (such as the local health department's STD clinic, a family planning clinic, a student health center, or an urgent care clinic).

    For more help, call 704-432-TEST or check out these resources to get you started:

Will the Health Department Contact My Partner(s)?

HIV/STD Control Measures help prevent the spread of infection. In North Carolina certain sexually transmitted diseases are required to be reported to the local health department. Once reported, an investigation helps locate cases and notify contacts of those diagnosed in a secure and confidential way. The follow-up can ensure that adequate testing and treatment are obtained as well as inform public health decisions about any local outbreaks.

Not all STDs are reportable, however. If you have been recently diagnosed with an STD, it is important you notify all sexual partner(s) or person(s) who may have come in contact by sharing injectable drugs/needles.

For more information about Communicable Disease Control, visit: HIV/STD Control


Address

Mailing Address:

Mecklenburg County Public Health
249 Billingsley Road
Charlotte, NC 28211

Office Location:


Mecklenburg County Public Health
249 Billingsley Road
Charlotte, NC 28211

MAP

HOW ARE WE DOING?

Hours: Mon-Fri  8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Contact

Please do not send confidential information
via email.


704-336-4700

Key Initiatives

close alertMecklenburg County Public Health encourages all eligible residents ages 12 and older to get a free COVID-19 vaccination.