Response to HIV testing at DMV 'better than expected'
In what city officials are calling the first of its kind in the country, free HIV testing began Tuesday at the Penn Branch office of Department of Motor Vehicles -- an unusual effort to get the attention of residents outside a doctor's office or clinic.
Those tested also receive up to $15 to help offset the costs of DMV services.
The response has been "better than expected," said Angela Fulwood Wood, chief operations officer of Family Medical and Counseling Service Inc., the Southeast Washington nonprofit offering the service. Testing began about 8:15 a.m., and by 10:30,15 people had been tested, Wood said. "People are coming at a steady pace," she said.
Family and Medical teamed up with the city's DMV and Department of Health to get the office space and rapid HIV oral testing kits. The year-long program is being funded through a $250,000 grant from pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences. The grant helps fund the monetary incentives.
Family and Medical estimated that 3,000 people, or 15 percent of DMV customers at Penn Branch over the year, would agree to be tested. Tuesday's response could prove the prediction wrong, Wood said.
Family and Medical would go back to Gilead to request another grant if there is a need, she said.
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