Do you have condoms/lube available in your office?

Yes! We offer free condoms and dental dams at our office five days a week. We always offer them during a testing session, but you do not need to get a test in order to receive free condoms or dental dams. Simply come to our office during normal business hours and ask for them at the front desk. We have a variety of condoms including latex-free, extra-large, snug, and internal condoms. We also have free water- and silicone-based lubricant.

What happens if I test positive?

A positive result on a rapid HIV test is known as a “preliminary positive” because only a doctor can make a formal diagnosis after a full blood draw confirmatory test. When an individual tests preliminary positive at Palmetto Community Care, we run a second rapid test (using a different brand of test) to ensure accuracy. If the second test also reads preliminary positive, we conduct a blood draw for confirmatory testing. Afterward, we link the individual with one of our peers as well as with our case managers to discuss services and eligibility. Know that if you do test positive, you have the support of the entire Palmetto Community Care team. We have been working in HIV care for more than 30 years, so know you are in good hands.

When will I get my results?

You’ll get your HIV results in 20 minutes or less. You will only be contacted about your STI results if they are positive. If you aren’t contacted within 7 business days, please email prevention@palmettocare.com to request a copy of your results.

What kind of test do you use?

Our office uses Alere Determine and Biolytical INSTI

How long will the test take?

Testing session length varies based on a lot of different factors, but, anywhere from 1 minute to 20 minutes depending on your exposure window and the test used. That time includes introductions and paperwork, sexual history survey, the test, sexual risk reduction plans, and any other questions you may have.

Does Palmetto Community Care use my information for anything?

All information discussed at Palmetto Community Care is confidential and subject to our HIPAA Privacy Policy (click here to view a copy of our privacy policy).

Why do you ask questions about my sex life? That seems really personal.

It may not always be the most comfortable topic, but during the testing session, our testers/counselors will ask about your recent sexual activity. We ask these questions so we can accurately assess your risk factors and provide the most tailored, helpful educational materials and risk-reduction strategies.

What can I expect during the testing session?

During the testing session, one of our testers/counselors will start by gathering basic demographic information from you. Then the tester will conduct a sexual risk survey, which includes questions about recent sexual activity. Next, the tester will perform a finger stick and collect a small sample of your blood for the HIV test. A urine sample may be collected if you decide to do a chlamydia/gonorrhea screening and a blood draw may be performed if you are screened for syphilis. If you are a PrEP client, we will also have you do oral and rectal swabs for G/C screening. There will also be blood drawn for additional labs. While your HIV test is processing, the test/counselor will discuss risk-reduction strategies and offer to answer any of your questions or concerns. The tester will then provide you with your HIV test result. The tester/counselor also will offer you free condoms/lube before you leave.

What do I need to bring with me?

Nothing, just bring yourself and maybe a friend. We do not need insurance cards, ID cards, etc.

I think I have been exposed to HIV or another STI, how soon can I come in for a test?

This one is a little tricky because everyone’s body is different. In regards to HIV, we use a third-generation antibody test. It can take up to 3 months from the time of exposure for HIV antibodies to form. The time from infection until these antibodies form is known as the “window period.” We recommend you come in to test as soon as you’re ready so we can assess the situation and make recommendations for follow-up testing. Depending on when you were exposed to HIV, we can detect HIV contraction between two weeks and 3 months after that point. And for STIs, it may take a week for the infection to show up in your results. Come test when you feel ready, so we can assess and make recommendations.

I have questions/concerns; can I talk with someone before I come in?

Of course! Our prevention team is here to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have. Just call our office at 843-747-2273, text us at 843-790-4299, or e-mail prevention@palmettocare.org and we will help you to the best of our ability!

I can’t make it there during regular testing hours, what should I do?

Give us a call at 843-747-2273 and ask to speak with a member of the prevention team. Depending on the situation, we may be able to make arrangements to schedule a test outside normal testing hours.

When are your testing hours?

Our regular testing hours are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m, and Friday from 7:30am – 12:00pm. Testing is available at the Prevention Office located at 5064 Rivers Ave. Contact us at 843-747-2273 with any questions.

How much does testing cost?

Nothing! We offer all our HIV and STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) testing completely free of charge.

What testing is offered at your office?

We offer free, rapid HIV testing as well as screenings for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis (syphilis testing offered for men who have sex with men only). At this time, we do not test for herpes or genital warts.

Where are you located?

All of our testing, case management and medical services, including Truesdale Medical Center, are located at 5064 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston, SC 29406.

Do you offer PrEP?

Yes. Palmetto Community Care now offers PrEP. To learn more, visit our PrEP page.