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HIV Tests At DMV

WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- Next time you're standing in line at the DMV, take an HIV test while you wait.

Southeast resident Wendell Kiah said, "I want to know my status, but I'm nervous."

The screenings are offered by the Family and Medical Counseling Service: a non-profit in Southeast that tests up to 5,000 people annually. "We're estimating 3% of residents are infected some estimates say 5% so it's really time to pull out all the stops," said Angela Fulwood Wood the organization's CEO.

The year long program is a win-win. Not only is the test free, participants get money orders of up to $15 to help cover their DMV service.

"You got paid for getting tested," said Monet Drummond, "They informed you on how to prevent HIV, they asked you what you do to protect yourself, and they handed out condoms."

But Arthur Rice, a man who appeared at be in his 70's did not take the test, "because I don't have AIDS, I know I don't have AIDS."

"Regardless of whether or not you think you fit in those risk categories everybody needs to test," countered Wood.

Results from the oral exam are ready in 20 minutes. Medical counseling is available for those who test positive.

"I am HIV negative thank you very much," said Monet D'Antignat who was among the first of nearly 100 people to get tested at the DMV Tuesday. "But I saw a lot of people being offered the free HIV testing and people were kind of reluctant, looking around checking who's looking at them...but you always want to make sure you have a clean bill of health because it's important," she said. "So it was a positive outcome for me and I hope it will be for the rest of the people who take the hiv test as well."

The free tests are offered during normal business hours for a whole year at the Penn-Branch DMV on Pennsylvania and Branch Avenues in Southeast. Only people who are conducting business at the DMV are eligible. Organizers hope to expand the program to other DMV's throughout the District.

Written by Delia Gonçalves
9NEWS NOW & wusa9.com