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DMV HIV Test Is Becoming Popular

11/28/2011 08:45 AM ET

DMV HIV Test - DMV across the nation might offer free HIV tests, as the one in Washington DC. A year later, more than 5,000 tests were done at the location while motorists also took care of other business such as their drivers license and temporary tags.

In a city with one of the highest percentages of residents living with the infected disease, health officials have spent the last year test-driving the screening program. Since the program began last October, more than 5,000 people have been tested at the DMV site and gotten results while they waited.

Now officials are expanding the program, offering testing for the first time at an office where Washington residents register for food stamps, Medicaid and other government assistance. On Monday, the first day of the program, 60 people got tested, officials said. As an incentive, they’re being offered a $5 gift card to a local grocery store.

“You have to meet people where they are,” explained Sheila Brockington, who oversees HIV testing at the DMV office in southeast Washington, the only one of the city’s three DMV service centers where it is offered. “You’re waiting anyway. You might as well.”

The testing project isn’t run by the DMV but by a nonprofit group, Family and Medical Counseling Service Inc., which uses an office inside the site. To ensure confidentiality, residents get tested and receive results in the private office, out of earshot of those going about their usual DMV business.

For those who test positive, the nonprofit offers a free ride to its nearby office where they can arrange counseling and an appointment with a doctor. So far, less than 1 percent of those screened have tested positive, though some already knew their status.

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