- Angela Wood talks DMV HIV testing
A visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles is rarely a pleasant experience for anyone. Imagine leaving knowing you're infected with HIV.
Yesterday, D.C. began offering free rapid HIV tests to customers waiting in line at Southeast's Penn Branch DMV location. In that day alone, 75 customers agreed to receive the cheek swab. What happens if one of them tests positive?
Family Medical and Counseling Services Inc, the nonprofit administering the testing, has "a full protocol" for that scenario, says Angela Wood, FMCS's chief operating officer. "We link people immediately to primary care back at our site, which has a full service primary care clinic," Wood says. "We have a discreet manner for removing people and transporting them to our site, where we provide immediate support and counseling services." (The FMCS clinic is located about 2 miles away from the Penn Branch DMV).
Part of the FMCS protocol involves not disclosing too much of the FMCS protocol. "We don't like to give out all the details, because we don’t want people to come try to figure out if someone's positive," Wood says. "We want to be as discreet as we can."
When DMV customers test positive for HIV, FMCS ensures that they'll receive immediate care for the virus. But what happens to their booted car or parking permit application? Whether your services will be interrupted "depends on where you were in the DMV process when you started to take the HIV test," Wood says. "If you haven't completed your business at the DMV when you get your test result, you may have to go back and finish later." Wood says that DMV customers are notified of that process before they take the test.
But according to Wood, the FMCS process is designed to alleviate one DMV-related anxiety: "Priority number one is that you do not miss your number being called," Wood says. "That’s very important to people that they not miss their number, so we're watching out for it, too."