Below You can find many questions we are asked and their answers. If you don’t see your question, please feel free to give us a call.
How much does testing cost?
Testing at alpha is free of charge. We offer HIV, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Hepatitis C, as well as all labs required to start and stay on PrEP free of charge to any individual seeking services. We ask for donations if you can afford them, but will never turn a patient away for lack of funds. We do have the ability to bill insurance now but will never ask for you to pay what you insurance does not cover.
When will I get my results?
We have rapid tests available for HIV, Syphilis, and Hepatitis C that can deliver results in under 20 minutes. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea testing as well as PrEP labs must be sent out and results are usually available within 7 days.
How will I get my results?
For rapid tests, we will perform the test in front of you, and you will have results before you leave. For any lab tests that must be sent out, if your results are positive, we will call you. If your results are negative, we operate on the “No News is Good News” philosophy. This means that we will not call you if your results come back negative. So, if it has been a week since you were tested with us, and you have not received a call or voicemail from a.l.p.h.a., your results were negative.
Do I need an appointment or can I walk in?
We prefer that you make an appointment so we can guarantee you a time slot for testing. It is difficult for us to predict when we will be busy or get a rush of people wanting services, so calling ahead and making an appointment is your best option. We will strive to accommodate all walk-ins but if there is a patient with an appointment scheduled, the walk-in will be seen when time is available.
Is testing annonymous?
At this time, it is illegal to perform anonymous testing, that is testing without knowing someone’s name, in the state of Idaho. At a.l.p.h.a. we provide confidential testing. This means that we will hold your information in confidence but may be required to report data to the state if a positive result is rendered. We are required to follow all Idaho laws, and this is one of them. Your information is protected by HIPAA and will not be released to anyone outside of where it is mandated by law, or for billing/insurance purposes.
How old do I need to be for testing?
In the state of Idaho, anyone over the age of 14 can seek and receive testing and care for a communicable disease without parental consent.
Why did I get a bill from my insurance company?
Insurance companies often send what is called an Explanation of Benefits. These documents are created after a claim is made and are designed to inform you of what they have covered and what you are responsible for. They are often printed with with the line “This is not a Bill” on them. Alpha will never bill you for the amount that your insurance company says you are responsible for. If, you have received a bill and not an explanation of benefits from your insurance company, please bring the bill to our office and we will work with your insurance company to solve the problem.
What is PrEP?
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of getting infected. A combination of two HIV medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine), sold under the name Truvada® (pronounced tru vá duh), is approved for daily use as PrEP to help prevent an HIV-negative person from getting HIV from a sexual or injection-drug-using partner who’s positive. Studies have shown that PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV if it is used as prescribed.
Do I really need to abstain after treatment?
We promise we are not telling you to abstain to punish you. Abstinence is needed to make sure the antibiotics have had a chance to work and you are no longer contagious/infected. If you do not wait the full time period recommended , it is very possible that you could still infect others and possibly be reinfected. It is always important to follow medical advice and not deviate from a treatment plan in any way.
How will I know if the treatment worked?
You should feel any symptoms that were present lessen over time and clear up within 7-10 days of treatment. CDC guidance recommends retesting after 90 days to verify there has not be reinfection. Insistence on “testing for cure” may result in a fee and will not be done less than 30 days from treatment.
Who can utilize the a.l.p.h.a. food pantry?
At this time, the food pantry is only open to people with a verified HIV diagnosis and their households. We ask that you bring an HIV medication bottle with your name on the prescription(excluding Truvada), a letter from your doctor on letterhead, or sign a release for us to contact your doctor to confirm your diagnosis.
How can I volunteer with alpha?
Alpha is always looking for amazing volunteers. Our Volunteer application is available at our office, or here as a PDF. You are welcome to fill it out using Acrobat’s fill and sign feature or print it out and fill it out using a pen or pencil. Please return the application to our office or e-mail it to . We will be in contact with you when our next volunteer orientation has been scheduled, usually monthly, and begin the process of getting you on as an alpha volunteer.
What should I do if I am running late to my appointment?
Give us a call if you are running late and we will try to accommodate you as best as we can. If there is no one scheduled after you, we can bump your appointment back to make sure you still get tested in a timely manner. Our policy is to count anyone that is more than 10 minutes late to their appointment as a no-show. This means that if you do arrive 10 minutes after your scheduled time, you will be considered a walk-in and seen when we can fit you in.