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.
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.
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.
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. If you enrolled in the patient portal, you can log in to the portal, click Records, and then click Lab Results and view your results there as well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
a.l.p.h.a. provides treatment for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis with a proper diagnosis. We can also prescribe PrEP from our office. Unfortunately, we cannot treat other STIs like HPV, Herpes, or Hepatitis at this time. We do work closely with other medical providers in the area to help our patients receive the best care possible.
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.
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.
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.
The easiest way is to download and fill out our volunteer application that is available by clicking the volunteer link in the menu above. You can also stop by and fill one out in person.
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.
a.l.p.h.a. tests based on a donation basis to our patients, but the tests still cost the organization money. We utilize billing in our Electronic Health Record (EHR) to account for those costs. a.l.p.h.a. will not bill you for an outstanding balance that may show up on the patient portal We use this system to track our expenses and at this time our EHR provider does not offer a way to hide the balance from our patients, nor do we have the ability to immediately write the balance off and make it disappear. The balance is likely to disappear within 30-90 days, after we have received any reimbursements for your visit and is not something that a.l.p.h.a. expects you to cover. Thank you for your understanding and we apologize for any confusion that may be caused by seeing a balance may cause.
- Access the patient portal by clicking patient portal above.
- Log in using your e-mail and password you created
- Click “Records” in the upper left corner or if on a phone, from the menu
- Select “Lab Results”
- You results are now listed by date
The CDC does not recommend herpes testing for individuals that are not showing signs or symptoms of a herpes infection. We align our testing views with the recommendations of the CDC, so, we do not recommend herpes testing for individuals that are not showing signs or symptoms of a herpes infection. We offer a herpes blood test that can detect herpes antibodies in your blood, an indicator that you have come into contact with the virus, and distinguishes between simplex 1 and simplex 2 of the virus. However, it is important to consider the following factors when thinking about herpes testing with us:
- We cannot offer the herpes test in our catalog of donation based tests at this time and do charge $100 at time of service for the test
- Our test cannot tell us where your infection is on your body (i.e. genital or mouth)
- Our test cannot tell us if you will ever have an outbreak
- Simplex 1 can be located on your mouth or genitals if an outbreak does occur
- Simplex 2 is generally only seen on the genitals
If you have further questions about herpes, please visit the CDC’s fact page about herpes by clicking here.
a.l.p.h.a. is a non-profit specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of common STIs and a group of passionate individuals that work to support people living with HIV.
One way that a.l.p.h.a. differs from a doctor’s office or urgent care is that we do not charge our patients for the testing we perform. We ask for a donation, but if a patient cannot make a donation, we will still test them. Because of this, we test patients based on the risks associated with their recent behaviors. For example, it is entirely possible to ask a doctor to test you for Malaria, and even if you have no risk for Malaria, the doctor may test you and bill you for that test. At a.l.p.h.a. we provide the appropriate testing for your risk, but may ask you to pay a small fee if the test you are asking for is not indicated by the risks you have disclosed and the CDC testing guidance for that disease.
We are always happy to talk to a patient about our reasoning behind our recommended tests. We will never deny you a test for an STI that you are at true risk of contracting.
Another way we are different is that we cannot provide vaginal exams or prescription birth control at this time.
a.l.p.h.a. follows CDC testing guidelines for testing individuals for STIs. After sitting down with your tester and discussing the risks that you have had for contracting STIs, your tester will inform you of the STIs you are at risk for and the tests that will be performed under our donation based testing model. If you are interested in testing for STIs that are not recommended based on your risks, we may be able to offer them for a fee. On average, STI a single test costs a.l.p.h.a. around $75. Most patients will receive at least 2-3 tests in a session. Please note that tests means different devices and in the case of chlamydia and gonorrhea means locations tested.
a.l.p.h.a. relies on donations and funding from the state to exist and cannot test every patient for every STI while still being able to remain open. We can, however, refer you to clinics that may be able to offer testing at a lower fee than ours in some cases.