In as little as twenty minutes you can know the results of your HIV test, without even stepping foot inside a doctors office. Instead stop by the mobile health van located outside your hair salon.
For residents of Westchester, this method is being used to increase the number of people getting tested for HIV while also educating them on condom use and safe sex practices.
The test is quick and you don’t even need to draw blood—all it requires is a swab of saliva from your mouth. The test is effective, and is giving young people with questions about sex and others without health insurance an outlet for health services that might otherwise be unattainable.
Za’id Ali, the project coordinator for Open Door Family Medical Centers, is one of the organizations sponsoring a mobile van.
“This year we have had six positives,” he says, clearly showing the impact that this program can have. Without this testing option, they would have went on living without knowing about their condition, preventing them from getting the treatment that they need.
What’s great about this program is that it reaches an audience in need of help, while encouraging people to get tested in what may be a more comfortable setting. The mobile van may be a tool that would be effective in reaching other neighborhoods, helping to increase HIV testing rates. By providing this option, it might be easier to target young adults and immigrants, among others, who may be hesitant to visit a doctor.
Contributed by Angela Donadic, Policy and Advocacy Fellow