Starting this coming Monday, October 2nd, Vermont CARES will make some changes to our testing program, and we want you to know what’s changing and why. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have made recommendations about how to most effectively reach people at highest risk of HIV, and this will result in differences in how we offer free testing. The take-away remains that we want you to get the best test for your circumstances and risks, and we’ll always partner with you to find the HIV information you need.
Specifically, we’ll be focusing our testing program on those at most risk based on Vermont’s epidemiologic data. For our visitors at lower risk, we’ll still recommend visiting their doctor instead of us. Your healthcare professional can offer different blood tests for HIV, which is often going to get you a result even more accurate than the finger-stick testing we can offer.
We’ll continue to offer referrals to follow-up recommendations like PrEP or STI testing, but those referrals now will be more active as we’ll ask for your name, date of birth, and contact information so we can help you follow up on those referrals. For our neighbors who do have a reactive test, this means we’ll help access medical care quickly. We hope this feels helpful, and not invasive, but we’ll let you guide that conversation with your testing counselor.
Our regional offices will offer testing by appointment starting the week of October 2nd, meaning you can discuss when you schedule with your counselor beforehand to get a sense of what HIV test might be best for you. In Burlington, we’ll continue to offer walk-in testing hours Monday night from 4-6pm, but we may still refer you back to your own provider.
As they are now, these conversations of course are confidential, and any identifying information will be locked and secured. We respect you, the personal information you share with us, and the ways you teach us how to be the best testing and HIV prevention center we can be.
Thank you for your continued trust in our committed staff and volunteers, and please contact us with any questions you might have. For questions about this transition, please email Peter Jacobsen, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or reach our staff at (800)649-2437.