Free HIV testing rolled out today at an unlikely location: the Department of Motor Vehicles. For the next year, the DMV’s Penn Branch office will offer free oral swab HIV tests, as well as $15 off DMV services for all individuals who opt to test. The program, which The Washington Post reports is the “first of its kind,” will be managed by Family Medical and Counseling, Inc., a non-profit based in Southeast.
It is estimated that up to 3,000 people will take advantage of testing before the year is through. Will this make a dent in DC’s own AIDS epidemic? Well, it certainly can’t hurt. According to the Whitman-Walker Clinic, DC has the highest rate of new AIDS cases per 100,000 population— that’s 12 times the national average. More than 15,000 individuals in the area are infected, and thousands more are estimated to unknowingly carry the virus.