Washington, DC – Today, the Fenty Administration announced a new public-private partnership between District Government and Family and Medical Counseling Service supported by Gilead Sciences to offer free HIV testing at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Penn Branch Office at 3220 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.
“This project fits with our goal to make HIV testing a routine annual check-up for all District residents and by offering the free test at our busy DMV office makes HIV testing easy and convenient,” said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.
This innovative public-private partnership will have trained staff from Family and Medical Counseling Services, one of the District’s leading providers of HIV medical care, testing and prevention services, offering DMV customers the oral rapid test during business hours Tuesday through Saturday.
“By offering HIV tests to District residents while they wait at the DMV we are able to reach out to residents who might not think to otherwise get tested,” said Dr. Pierre Vigilance, Director of the Department of Health. “We know that once people know their HIV status they are more likely to take steps to take care of themselves and prevent the spread of HIV. DOH is excited about this opportunity to educate and deliver care to our residents.”
The tests, and delivery of test results, will be conducted in a confidential space at the office during the customers’ visit for DMV services. Persons who choose to take the test will receive a money order. Family and Medical Counseling Services will make sure that any person who tests positive gets an appointment for a full medical evaluation. The confidential results will only be disclosed to the person who was tested.
“Just as residents can register to vote or choose to become an organ donor at the DMV, we are offering HIV testing as a way to improve the lives of our residents while they come to handle their business at the DMV,” said Department of Motor Vehicles Director Lucinda Babers.
“This project provides a great opportunity to increase awareness among the general public of the need to get tested, whatever your lifestyle. The public-private partnership demonstrates that the District is united in its effort reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and get people who are infected into treatment as early as possible. This is on the cutting edge of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy just released by the White House yesterday,” said Family and Medical Counseling Services Executive Director Dr. Flora T. Hamilton.
Gilead Sciences has provided funding to Family and Medical Counseling Services for the project. DOH will provide the HIV test kits and informational materials. The year-long project aims to test, at a minimum, 15% of customers. The HIV tests will start at the Penn Branch location October 4, 2010.