AIDS/HIV Services Group Launches At-Home Testing Program - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

AIDS/HIV Services Group Launches At-Home Testing Program

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At-home HIV testing kit At-home HIV testing kit

Getting tested for HIV in public can be embarrassing for some people - but HIV awareness advocates say it's so important to know your status. Now, a new testing method is being offered in Charlottesville and it's giving people an opportunity to take the test at home.

The AIDS/HIV Services Group is piloting an at-home HIV testing program with the Virginia Department of Health. ASG's CEO Peter DeMartino says the Charlottesville area has the highest rate of new cases of HIV in the northwest region of Virginia. That's one reason he says his organization is constantly constantly looking for new ways to help people know their status.

"For some people, they still feel a little uncomfortable about coming to our testing events or coming into our office to get a test," DeMartino said.

For a limited time, people can get a free at-home test kit from ASG. 

"You can take it home, take the test at home, and find out your results in the privacy of your own home," said Demartino. "It's very easy to do."

The test kit is similar to the one used at testing events or in the ASG office. It comes in a box with directions in English and Spanish, an oral swab, the reagent, a plastic mat to cover the space you'll be testing on, and an explanation of when and how to read your results.

"It's a really great option if you have some privacy issues and you just want to know your results all by yourself," said DeMartino.

The at-home test is free. It would cost between $40 and $45 to buy one in a store. The kits will be available until all 200 have been given away.

If you're interested in getting an at-home HIV test you can stop by the ASG offices on 10th Street in Charlottesville during their regular business hours.

ASG will ask people who get the at-home tests to do an anonymous survey to help them keep track of how easy and effective the program is.

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