about us

The AIDS Research Consortium (ARCA), founded in 1988, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) center for treatment and prevention research, education, and free HIV/STD testing services. ARCA works in collaboration with over 50 physicians and 5 public health clinics to conduct clinical drug trials. Atlanta residents have access to the latest HIV/AIDS investigational treatments through ARCA's clinical drug trials, at no cost to participants. In addition, trial volunteers receive free laboratory work and usually one or more free drugs, along with clinical monitoring and education. ARCA has emerged as one of the most respected & successful HIV/AIDS research facilities in the country. ARCA has enrolled thousands of Atlantans in over 275 clinical trials. Our trials have contributed to the licensing by the FDA of 25 HIV/AIDS therapies that have been responsible for a dramatic increase in the length and quality of life for persons with HIV.

ARCA also is a dynamic emerging center for HIV prevention research. ARCA was honored to be the only research center in Georgia participating in the first ever, large scale HIV vaccine effectiveness trial, sponsored by VaxGen. We are now honored to be one of only three sites in the country participating in the CDC-sponsored US study testing a promising new approach to HIV prevention using an anti-HIV drug, tenofovir, in HIV-negative men. Our work in the last few years has included the enrollment of over 500 persons in two federally funded "Prevention with Positives" studies, in collaboration with the DeKalb County Department of Health and the Cobb-Douglas Department of Health.

ARCA offers free anonymous HIV rapid testing & free confidential STD testing. We created the Metro Atlanta Women of Color Initiative (MAWOCI) in 2002 to take HIV testing, prevention education, and linkage to care directly into the communities of women at risk for HIV and who face multiple barriers to traditional health care services. However MAWOCI offers testing to anyone, regardless of gender or race/ethnicity. We have tested over 4000 persons and could have tested more with appropriate resources. MAWOCI receives NO GOVERNMENT FUNDING and no ongoing sustainable funding! (PS - YOU can help!) In 2005 we created Synergy Atlanta, our free STD (syphilis, Chlamydia, and gonorrhea) testing program for men, sponsored by the Georgia Department of Human Resources. Our goal is to raise funds through donations to offer these same free services to women.

ARCA was honored by the Human Rights Campaign with the Dan Bradley Award for outstanding humanitarian efforts and its work to reach out to all communities. ARCA's founder & principal investigator, Dr. Melanie Thompson, serves on the International AIDS Society-USA Antiretroviral Guidelines Panel and the National Institutes of Health Office of AIDS Research Therapeutics Research Working Group.

At ARCA, Testing is Free Because of YOU!

Did you know that ARCA offers free HIV testing? Why? Because early diagnosis means early treatment and less spread of infection. You can't benefit from treatment unless you know you have HIV. And having other infections makes it easier to get HIV. Did you know that

  • 21% of persons in the US with HIV do not know they have HIV?
  • Rapid HIV testing means test results are available in less than an hour - with no needle sticks?
  • ARCA offers FREE confidential HIV testing and counseling for African-American men?
  • Over 6000 persons have learned their HIV status from ARCA? Nearly half of them had never been tested before!
  • Every person newly-diagnosed with HIV receives a free CD4 T-cell count to assess how the immune system is doing. ARCA is the only community testing site that offers this test.

We provide personalized risk-reduction counseling, education, and condoms to all participants. We test at ARCA daily and at events in the community by request. ARCA receives NO FUNDS for testing women or men who are not African-American. We need your help to offer services to everyone who needs testing.

ARCA Offers Free Testing Services

Because They Are Needed to Stop This Epidemic
...And Just Because It's the Right Thing to Do!
Will You Help Us To Continue Our Work?



HIV oral swab rapid test kits for 100 people and confirmatory HIV tests with T-cell counts for 25 people


Counseling, education, and HIV testing for 50 walk-in clients


Syphilis testing for 250 people


1000 condoms, educational materials


Counseling, education, safer sex kits & free HIV/STD testing for 1 woman


100 safer sex kits with educational materials and condoms

Knowing YOU helped: PRICELESS!

Government agencies, corporations, foundations & personal donations support our $1,800,000 annual budget, although our HIV testing program is supported only by donations. We are proud that 82 cents of every dollar goes directly to programs.

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