Free HIV Testing in North Carolina

Free and low-cost testing locations near you.

Initially established as one of the thirteen royal colonies in the 18th century, North Carolina is now ranked at 28th biggest and the 9th most populous states of the United States. It is situated in the country's Southeastern region, having borders with Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. North Carolina also shares a coastline with the Atlantic Ocean on its eastern side.

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The estimated population of North Carolina, according to the census data, 2019 is 10.4 million. The state is also a home Charlotte metropolitan area, the second-largest banking center of the country after New York City.

The state of North Carolina is home to people from diverse ethnic backgrounds. According to the census data, in 2019, the biggest percentage of people living in the state are white Americans (70%), followed by Black or African American's (22.2 %). 3.2% of the total population is that of Asians, 1.6% American Indians, and individuals from Hispanic or Latin origin make up around 9.8 % of the population.

North Carolina has been ranked as the 8th biggest state by the Center for Disease and Control, CDC, in 2015 for having 1335 newly diagnosed cases during the same year. According to the state news source, the numbers of active HIV cases in North Carolina are slowly rising due to the non-testing amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Why Testing Matters?

Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus is a virus that targets the immune system of an individual and weakens it over time. If the virus remains undiagnosed and untreated, it eventually weakens the immunity so much that the body is unable to fight any infections. The last stage of this virus, known as AIDS and it can potentially cause deaths.

Testing for HIV is also essential for slowing down the spread of the infection. According to CDC, one in seven HIV-positive people does not know that they are infected. Hence testing is critical. People who are unaware of their HIV-positive status are less likely to take the necessary precautions and aid the spread of the virus to other individuals. Early testing and diagnosis can prevent a lot of damage. Several studies have been conducted indicating the number of HIV-related mortalities is three times higher than that of early diagnosis. A late diagnosis of the virus can be defined as the diagnosis of AIDS in three months of the initial HIV diagnosis.

Considering the CDC data, North Carolina has been ranked as the 8th biggest state for having active HIV cases. In 2015 alone the numbers of new HIV diagnosis in the state were 1,335. According to the HIV/AIDS Report, 2018, the total number of people living with the virus in North Carolina was estimated at 31,864, out of which 1,187 new diagnoses were made during the same year. The rate of people living with HIV per 100,000 populations was estimated at 364.

Black Americans being the second biggest ethnic population living in the state, are most affected by the virus. During the year 2018, 61.3% of people living with HIV in North Carolina were African Americans. Of the total numbers, 24.7% of individuals living with HIV were white Americans, while 8.5% of the population belongs to Hispanic or Latin backgrounds.

It is recommended that all US citizens be tested at least once in their lifetime for the virus. However, CDC recommends testing for HIV to be made a part of the annual checkup in places or localities where the prevalence of the virus is more.

Initiatives to Prevent HIV in North Carolina

The North Carolina Public Health department has several programs specializing in supporting people living with HIV belonging to low-income groups and improving the quality of outpatient care services. The programs provide insurance, essential medications, and assistance for the state's eligible low-income residents. North Carolina Public Health Department has also taken the initiative to provide decent and affordable housing facilities to the affected individuals and their families.

  • Ryan White HIV/AIDS program is a state-funded community-based program that provides critical services to low-income persons living with HIV. Under this program, services like outpatient/ambulatory health services, essential medications, early intervention services, and health insurances are made available to the patients. The program also funds services like delivering meals, transportation, emergency financial assistance, and mental health services.
  • AIDS Drug Assistance Program, ADAP North Carolina is yet another state initiative to facilitate the uninsured or the underinsured people living with the virus. ADAP ensures the provision of necessary medication and treatment to eligible individuals. One of the basic eligibility requirements of this program is to have a gross family income less than or equal to 300 percent of the Federal Poverty guidelines.
  • Western North Carolina Community Health Services has been active in the state for the last 20 years. The program serves as an administrator for the Ryan White Part B programs and facilitates the HIV-positive men, women, infants, and children in their treatment.

HIV Statistics and Trends in North Carolina

According to Us Census Bureau, 2019, North Carolina has a total population of 10.4 million. The largest ethnic groups in the state in White Americans (70%), followed by African Americans (22.2%), Hispanics (9.8%), and individuals from Asian backgrounds (3.2%).

CDC has ranked North Carolina as the 8th biggest state in regards to HIV prevalence. During 2015, the total numbers of newly diagnosed cases were 1335, while in the year 2018, the number of newly diagnosed cases reduced to 1187. The total number of people living with HIV in the year 2018 was estimated to be 31,864.

Age, Gender and Ethnic Disparities

Considering the HIV data of the year 2018, a total number of 31,864 people in North Carolina lived with the virus. According to the HIV/AIDS Report, 72 % were males while 28% were females.

Despite having a 22.2% share in the total population, African Americans make up 61.3 percent of the total HIV population in the state. 24.7% of the total HIV patients were White Americans, and 8.5% belonged to Hispanic backgrounds. According to the same report, HIV prevalence was more in the people aged 55 and above (32.7%), followed by 45 to 54 years (28 %). 18.6% of the people with the virus belonged to the age group 25 to 34 years, while 19% of individuals were young adults below 24 years of age.

The modes of transmission of the virus in males are mainly linked to male-to-male sexual contact (73%), heterosexual contact (12.7%), and drug & injection use (7.5%). In females, the virus spread was attributed to heterosexual contact (79%) and drug &injection use (18.4%).

The number of recorded HIV-related deaths during 2018 was 518, while the death rate per 100,000 population was estimated at 6. The percentage of HIV-related mortality is greater in males (74.3) than their female counterparts (25.7%).

Reviewed by Debby R, MD. Last updated on Jan 13, 2022