Waiting in Line at the DMV? Get an HIV Test


Ever felt like you were wasting time at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)? Now you can accomplish key health screening by getting a rapid HIV test while you wait.

In an innovative partnership between community-based organization Family and Medical Counseling Service and the Penn Branch DMV in in southeast Washington, D.C., individuals can get tested for HIV without losing their place in line — and get $7 off their DMV service. Counselors emphasize the importance of getting an HIV test before offering the test and clients are taken into a private room for an oral swab that gives results in 20 minutes.

A compelling presentation in session at the International AIDS Conference by Angela Wood, the social worker who leads the program, demonstrated the power of partnering with local political leaders in establishing HIV testing in non-traditional settings. Wood described getting buy-in first from the city council, who then supported her meeting with the head of the DMV.

Since October 2010, the program has tested nearly 9,000 clients with a test positivity rate of 0.5 percent, diagnosing 49 individuals with HIV. The majority of these HIV diagnoses represent new infections, though some are individuals who want to re-engage with care.

Read the entire report on the UCSF AIDS 2012 blog

Editor's note: This report was first published on UCSF's AIDS 2012 blog covering the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. Katerina Christopoulos, MPH, is an assistant professor of medicine in the UCSF HIV/AIDS Division at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center.