Sex Together? Test Together
November 26, 2012 (SAN DIEGO) – In the U.S., two-thirds of new infections among men who have sex with men are from a primary sex partner. And as many as one in four gay men with HIV do not know they are infected with the virus.
Testing Together, a new couples HIV testing and counseling program based at Emory University and offered at the UC San Diego AntiViral Research Center (AVRC), hopes to bring honesty and openness to sexual relationships within gay couples in an attempt to reduce HIV transmission among gay men.
Testing Together, Healthy Together
Testing Together, funded by the MAC AIDS Fund, provides gay couples with free, confidential HIV testing. Both men in the couple get tested together, get their results together and receive counseling together. The couples also get free movie tickets with soda and popcorn, plus $20.00 for completing a follow-up survey after getting tested.
"We know from our recent research that by testing together and getting results together couples can start an ongoing healthy conversation about HIV and talk openly about building a plan to address sexual health issues in their relationship," said Testing Together project director Patrick Sullivan, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology at Emory, in a news release announcing the program.
In most HIV testing settings, confidentiality issues prevent couples from testing together, much less hearing each other’s HIV test results. With Testing Together, both members of a gay couple sign consents agreeing to get counseling together, test together and hear their test results together.
Specially-trained HIV testing counselors provide a safe space for members of the couple to openly discuss the results of their HIV tests together.
Getting tested together and hearing test results together is just part of the program. The other is the specialized counseling couples receive. Unlike most HIV testing counseling that focuses on past risk behaviors, Testing Together encourages couples to openly discuss their sexual relationships and establish agreements about sex and health.
When do we use condoms? Are we monogamous? What are our rules if we are in an open relationship?
The counseling gives gay couples a dedicated time and place to talk about the details of their sexual health and what they can do to protect each other. And now Testing Together is available in San Diego.
Testing Together in San Diego
The UC San Diego AntiViral Research Center offers Testing Together at two locations in San Diego:
220 Dickinson Street, Suite A
San Diego, CA 92103
Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Lead the Way
Appointments for Testing Together can be made by calling the desired testing location. Couples participating in Testing Together receive free movie passes for participating.
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