Solving Cities

AIDS test at the DMV?

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Would you take a HIV/AIDS test for a $7 discount?

When billed to private insurers, HIV/AIDS tests can run hundreds of dollars. In Washington, D.C., however, getting a rapid HIV/AIDS test can save you money -- at the DMV.

As Agence France-Presse reported July 21, the DMV in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C., is now offering free HIV/AIDS tests to people waiting in line for a licence or vehicle tag.

Spearheaded in 2010 by The Family Medical and Medical Counseling Service Inc., a District-based nonprofit, the DMV testing program hopes to defray the cost and the stigma of the testing process. Individuals who participate in the process pay nothing for the test, and are offered a $7 discount on DMV services as an added incentive. Already, the program as tested 9,000 people.

"We're normalizing people's thoughts of testing," Angela Fulwood Wood, chief operations officer of the Family and Medical Counseling Service, told the Washington Post in 2010. "You can do organ donation at the DMV. You can do voter registration at the DMV. If people don't want to do it, we can at least talk to them."

Programs like this are particularly important in Washington, D.C, where the prevalence of HIV -- 2.7 percent -- outpaces its prevalence in developing countries like Haiti, Angola, and Sierra Leone.

[AFP]

Photo: Lydiat/Flickr

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Claire Lambrecht

Contributing Writer

Claire Lambrecht has written for the New York Times, Slate, Salon, The Nation, and CBS MoneyWatch. Previously, she taught English as a Teach for America Corps Member and Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. She holds degrees from Cornell University, the University of Hawaii, and the Arthur M. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure