WASHINGTON (AP) — At one Department of Motor Vehicles’ office in the nation’s capital, motorists can get a driver’s license, temporary tags and something wholly unrelated to the road: a free HIV test.

In a city with one of the highest percentages of residents living with HIV or AIDS, health officials have now test-driven the in-DMV testing and are finding that it works. So far, more than 5,000 people have been screened and gotten results while they wait.

Now officials are expanding the program, offering testing at an office where Washington residents register for food stamps, Medicaid and other government assistance. On Monday, the first day of the program, 60 people got tested, officials said. As an incentive they’re being offered a $5 gift card to a local grocery store.

“You have to meet people where they are,” explained Sheila Brockington, who oversees HIV testing at the DMV office in southeast Washington. “You’re waiting anyway. You might as well.”

The testing project, which began last October, isn’t run by the DMV but instead by a nonprofit group, Family and Medical Counseling Service Inc., which uses an office inside the site. To ensure confidentiality, residents get tested and receive their results in the office, out of earshot of those going about their usual DMV business. The nonprofit got a $250,000 grant to do the testing and secured the support of the city’s Health Department and the DMV. Now a second, similar grant is funding expansion.

Government statistics released in June show about 1.1 million Americans were living with the AIDS virus in 2008, and other studies show that about 10 percent to 20 percent of U.S. adults are tested annually. But those involved in HIV/AIDS work recognize that more needs to be done to identify people living with HIV, said Chris Collins, the vice president and director of public policy for amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research.

“We need to be looking for creative ways to reach people who haven’t tested in the past,” said Collins, who hasn’t studied Washington’s program but said innovation and creativity by cities is important.

In Washington, not everyone was sold on the idea when it was proposed by the head of the Family and Medical Counseling Service, Angela Wood. She came up with the idea after sitting at a DMV office herself. Initially, some officials doubted many people would test. Now, however, between 25 and 35 people get tested every day at the DMV location. Anyone who agrees gets $7 off their bill.

For those who test positive, the nonprofit offers a free ride to its nearby office where they can arrange counseling and an appointment with a doctor. So far, less than 1 percent of those screened have tested positive, though some already knew their status. That’s below the city’s infection rate of 3 percent.

By now, the four people who run the program at the DMV office have their pitch for testing down. When people are on line, one of the testers approaches with the offer: free tests, money off your bill, and the promise that it won’t hurt.

“We don’t do blood. We do swabs,” tester Karen Johnson tells patrons, explaining that the test of their saliva takes 20 minutes and that participants will not lose their place in the DMV line.

For patrons, the offer is generally a surprise, but not an unwelcome one.

Bus driver Nat Jordan, 35, was at the DMV office one day to get his car registered. He said he accepted because he gets tested once a year anyway. Colleen Russell, 28, a newly married nurse who was at the DMV to change her name on her driver’s license, said she knew she was negative. But she said she got tested because she comes in contact with patients every day who could be infected.

Not all residents are sure of their status, though. One man who got tested and spoke on the condition that his name not be used said his wife is HIV positive. Though he had had a negative HIV test before, it reassured him to have a second one at the DMV.

Wood, the person who proposed the unconventional testing sites, said she understands they aren’t right for everyone. That’s fine, she said. The message: “It’s important for you to take the test, whether you take it here or at another site.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (63)
  1. Tom Walter says:

    Nothing Is “Free”

    1. jasperddbgghost says:

      In other news, residents from San Francisco have flocked to DC in droves.

      What are all these parades…..?

      Is this chewing gum.?….oh…..

      1. Root Boy Slim says:

        Our Eugenicist masters have an affinity for BLOOD. This is the perfect program to secure your DNA, your disease status, and condition you that the blood draw is something you should be accustomed with on the eve of the New World Order. For the past 39 years, all American new born babies have had their blood drawn and profiled in a “secret” government database. The information is sold to bio-tech corporations, and in some cases, individual DNA sequences have been patented. This will mean that if you are sick, and your DNA is patented, you will have to pay your net worth if you treatment includes a genetic cure.

        So get used to BLOOD draws – for drivers licenses, random checkpoints, traffic stops, border crossing etc. With your blood, the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations can create a vaccine expressly for you – so turn in your $ and DIE.

    2. Scott Anderson says:

      If the line at the DMV is not long enough! Could they get me a free turkey while I wait?

    3. BRAD says:


  2. Robert Paulson says:

    And why does anyone have a problem with this? This is a good thing, in my opinion.

    1. David says:

      I’m glad you’re happy to pick up the tab for my $5 gift card. I plan on getting tested as many times as possible!

    2. Ellie Enlightened says:

      Nothing is free. This isn’t the place for this.

      1. Ste says:

        Your correct, since when does this world become an hand me out.
        Interesting, but sure many will do it because of theses times.


    3. Liberty Jane says:

      His name is Robert Paulson.

    4. Tyler says:

      His name was Robert Paulson.

      1. len says:

        He’s not dead.

    5. Black Eagle says:

      These “tests” have a high rate of false-positive reactions and put a lot of people onto unnecessary medications, and into their graves. Today it is “free” but tomorrow, mandatory. The whole structure of the infectious-HIV theory was bogus from the start. Read Dr. Peter Duesberg’s work, “Inventing the AIDS Virus”.

    6. tyler derdin says:

      my name is tyler derdin

    7. Jon Carry says:

      Could you be more clueless!!! This isn’t free you idiot. The office is paid for by your tax money, the medical tests are paid for by your tax money, the non-profit is not paying taxes. It is all on us, the taxpayers. And we are being killed. We are being destroyed. We are broke. So that you fools can feel good about yourself!

  3. Momofthree says:

    Seriously, DC is full of such smart smart SMART people.

  4. IT Guy says:

    Just another way to get your DNA for tracking purposes…..

    1. sgt barnes says:

      probably inject some dormant virus into you… cant trust the government anymore especially when they created aids.

      1. Rose says:

        I don’t agree with it at all and believe that, the intentions are nefarious, however, the article states that it’s a swab test, not a blood draw.

  5. MESmith says:

    To be clear…the HIV test isn’t free. A $250,000 grant only means other people paid for the test. Additionally, the nearly 20% discount in license renewal means those who derive benefits from those fees are being denied (from reduced revenue).

  6. david makowsky says:

    Very bad idea. I only approve of ANONYMOUS testing. This test is tied in with DMV records. This creates a DATABASE of HIV+ people. I wonder what Adolph Hitler would do with that list if he were alive today.

    Ob*ma is a junior dictator who loves lists and databases. He wants all of your health care records digitized so the government can have it.

    ACLU, where the F are you?

    Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

    1. Tyler says:

      Grab your tin foil hat and join us at the crop circles. Have you heard of HIPAA?

      Plus: “The testing project, which began last October, isn’t run by the DMV but instead by a nonprofit group, Family and Medical Counseling Service Inc., which uses an office inside the site”

      Did you even read the GD article?

      1. samthesham says:

        Oh I see. it is illegal to use or tamper with med records. What a relief! The government is so good at protecting us … I could just die!

      2. Max McKenzie says:

        People like Tyler will among the first to enter the FEMA Camps. Tin foil hat – ha ha , you must be eluding to “conspiracy theorists” , you know those cooky people with the wild ideas… so Tyler, keep trusting your Government, the results of 911 commission, pay no attention to the chemtrails in the sky, drink your fluoride water (dentists say its good for your teeth), consume large quantities of GMO foods, high fructose corn syrup, aspertame, embrace the left-right paradigm, let the TSA irradiate you with radiation, or perhaps you prefer getting hand down your pants, keep your smartphone with you in the shower…

        …right this way Tyler , take line 1 for your inoculation and food credits. Also have your sterilization card ready for scan…..

    2. steamdwarf says:

      I was looking for a positive slant, thanks!

    3. vera says:

      hahaha…..DMV?! Seriously? Next thing will be free abortion at DMV, whilen you wait for your licence.

  7. Ellie Enlightened says:

    Hey great ideal let’s let these people handle our health care.

  8. Richard Henkle says:

    Robert Paulson, I have a problem with this b/c it is more govt waste. It comes back to personal responsibility. Not only are the people in question not responsible enough to have safe sex, but they can’t even get tested at the proper place thereby putting an extra burden on the dmv employees and the DC taxpayers. I didn’t see where the grant money was coming from, but if it’s federal then it’s costing me money as well which could be put to better use.

    In reality though, IT Guy is probably correct.

  9. HeyHey says:

    DNA Collection. See Osama’s neighborhood free clinic and vaccination center for CIA collection stories

  10. stan says:

    Why bother? The majority ethnic population of D.C. are known AIDS and STD carriers.

  11. Edgar Friendly says:

    So, just this week we’ve learned:

    1) Butterball turkeys are sharia-commpliant.
    2) DHS states said turkeys may explode when deep-fried in an American fryer. (makes sense)
    3) DMV offers HIV testing. (Be careful standing in that line).

    The liberal democrats have turned this into Bizarro world.

    1. Timothy Williamson says:

      Dear Super Committee,

      Please move along, nothing to see here, there’s absolutely no government waste in the DHS or DMV.


  12. Hugo says:

    Driver’s license and AIDS test for the blacks, what a deal! NOT!!!

  13. Buhwhee says:

    Since you have to demonstrate “rear end parking” to get a license, I guess it makes sense.
    Or, it must be part of a “rear end awareness” campaign.

  14. lovetron says:

    ““We need to be looking for creative ways to reach people who haven’t tested in the past.”

    May I suggest “catch and release”?

  15. Judy says:

    Get use to going to the DMV as this where you will be getting your health care at.

  16. David Axelrod says:

    Memo to dopey idiots at CBS: The tests are NOT free…..duh!! American that actually work for a living are going to have to pay for them.

    1. autoamerican says:

      Thank you. SOMEbody’s thinking.

  17. Bob says:


    hey Drudgefolk, how about you apply your libertarian principles to real life and get your noses out of our local government affairs?

    1. Joe Drager says:

      The is no longer any such thing as local government affairs.

    2. Flannigan says:

      Poor Bob: got your panties up in a bunch again?
      I’ll send you a pacifier and big box of diapers. POOR BABY!

    3. Cousin Eddie says:

      We will do that when you stop taking our money to pay for your local government affairs. Is that a deal?

      1. autoamerican says:

        Bob can’t answer you. He’s got a big mouth full of government teat.

    4. Jenn says:

      Hey, Bob. What do you say when we point to the Dept. of Education and say the same thing?

      You either want a small federal government with the localities in control,
      You want a massive federal government with its federal fingers in everyone’s lives, which means I have a say in your local business because my taxes go to your locality. .

      Choose. You can not have it both ways.

  18. Bloop says:

    Flannigan – powerful stuff

  19. Oh-my Lumbago says:

    They should give colon exams too.

  20. ThisIsBill says:

    I’d like to point out that this isn’t an argument in favor of HIV testing, it’s an argument against the wait times at the DMV.

  21. Black Eagle says:

    Another example of the “subtle racism of low expectations”, like blacks in DC are so dumb and stupid they can’t figure out their own health-care issues, and need Big Brother to lead them around by the hand. Free food, free medicine, free housing, free HIV tests, IRS refunds for money they never paid, Black voters you are still slaves to the old Democrat Party, which looks upon you as ciphers and raw dark meat, even if they don’t make you pick cotton. Slavery comes in many varieties.

  22. ObamaEatsKrap says:

    With all of the LIBERAL h0m0s and crackheads in DC, they’re gonna rack up a serious count of Anally Injected Death Serum recipients.

  23. ron says:

    Obama is looking rather sickly of late. Maybe he got AIDS from Rahm Emmanuel?

  24. Davis says:

    They are not free. The tax slaves are footing the bill.

  25. NY9Solyndra says:

    I can’t wait to go to the DMV or the USPS for my annual prostate exam.

  26. SarahJ says:

    It’s probably a test program to see how it will work, before the federal government mandates it everywhere. Better to identify all those at high risk for health care expense — those who will NOT get treatment under Obamacare!

  27. autoamerican says:

    A population stupid enough to vote Barack Obama into office is a population stupid enough to take advantage of free HIV tests from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

  28. Jerzey Boy says:

    If Positive does the DMV revoke their donor card?
    Oh, that would not be PC in DC, silly me.

  29. jnsesq says:

    “Free.” The Left’s term for taxpayer-as-sucker paid benefit for those who contribute nothing but the bad behavior to warrant the need for the benefit.

  30. Van Wehrle says:

    Where does the government get the $5 to freely hand out?

    If you guessed Obama, please insert car key into eye. If you guessed that the money comes from the wallets of you and your neighbors you got yourself a BINGO.

    This is not necessary, ethical, or fiscally sound. Please people vote them all out. Vote in either a conservative or Libertarian. No More Democrats.

  31. sb36695 says:

    I suppose “free” abortions are next.

  32. seenbetterdaze says:

    The Progressives are at it again! When ever they call one of their programs “FREE” you know it’s going to COST the TAXPAYERS MORE!
    The FED GOV and the Congress are in the business of making SLAVES of the TAXPAYERS at the same time they exempt 47% of Americans from PAYING any..it’s their way of recruiting more DEM voters.

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