Victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence are at an increased risk of contracting HIV and dealing with other sexual health issues. Many abusers also use a person's HIV status against them, too!
For years we have been working with community partners such as RI DOH, AIDS Project RI and AIDS Care Ocean State around HIV/AIDS issues and we are proud to now be offering rapid HIV testing services from our Drop-In Center, Residential Program, and other spots in the community as needed and requested.
All of these services are offered in English as well as Spanish.
Getting an HIV test is fast, painless, and vital.
Here at Sojourner House we are dedicated to serving the whole person, and that includes paying attention to issues of sexual health. To read more about our sexual health work and philosophies, please visit our Sexual Health Advocacy Program page.
For more information on making an appointment or bringing us to come test at your organization, please call 401.861.6191 and ask to speak with someone that is certified to conduct an HIV test.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should get tested?
As per the recommendations of the Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, you should consider getting tested if:
- You are between ages 13 to 64.
- You are sexually active.
- You have never had an HIV test and are in a sexual relationship.
- You have ever shared syringes or drug-injecting materials (such as cotton, water, or works).
- You are being treated for a sexually transmitted disease or infection.
- You are pregnant, to reduce the risk of passing the virus on to your baby. We recommend HIV testing as a routine test during pregnancy. Without treatment, an HIV-infected woman has about a 25% (1 in 4) chance of infecting her baby during pregnancy or delivery. Medical treatment can reduce this to less than 2%.
How does the test actually happen? Is there blood involved?
- Currently we only offer testing through oral swabs, so there is no blood collected. If you're curious about what a test looks like and what would happen during a session,watch this funny and informative video by Dr. Doe from Sexplanations.
How much does it cost?
- Nothing! Our tests are provided for free to everyone.
How soon do I get my results?
- You can get them the very same day! An HIV testing and counseling session usually lasts around 40 minutes, but this is flexible depending on what you need. The test itself can provide results as soon as 20 minutes.
Do I have to be a victim or survivor of violence to get tested?
- No, you don't have to be a victim or survivor of domestic violence to receive a test. If you are, though, we can give you additional resources and help.
Can people under 18 be tested?
- Yes! We can do testing on individuals age 13 or older. No parent or guardian permission is needed to get tested.
Who will be doing the testing?
- One of our trained advocates who is well-versed in domestic violence issues as well as HIV testing. The only people allowed to test have gone through a comprehensive training and licensure process through Project REACH and the RI Department of Health.
Do I need to show ID or give my name?
- You do not need to give your name or show ID to receive a rapid test. To identify your test, a private code number is used instead of your full name.
- If you want written results about your test that you can then share with others, then you must show ID.
- If you want to become a client of our agency and receive advocacy services, you would have to give us your name. The HIV test and your other records would not be linked or even kept in the same space, though, so don't worry!
Do I need to set up an appointment?
- While not required, we highly encourage you to set up an appointment ahead of time to ensure that a trained HIV test counselor will be on-site and available to do the test as soon as you arrive. To set up an appointment, you can come to our Drop-In Center, call any of our helplines, or reach our primary tester and project coordinator, Aida Manduley, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So now that I got tested once, when should I get tested again?
- This depends on your behavior, risk factors, and many other issues. You and the tester will be able to chat more about this during the HIV testing and counseling session to figure out what makes the most sense for you and your situation.
Where else can I get tested?
- There are many other locations in RI that offer these services, each with their own specialties and environments. You can look at the Department of Health list of testing sites.
What happens if I test reactive/positive/etc.?
- If the test comes back "reactive" (meaning it found HIV antibodies in your system), we will refer you to another agency to get a confirmatory test to check on that. We can also offer to accompany you to the appointment and support you through the process. Our goal is to connect people to the care and services they need and remove barriers to accessing help.