HOWTO: Get Free, Anonymous HIV Testing In SF
Whether you’re with a brand shiny new lover, or you’re finally having ‘the talk’ with a fuckbuddy, or you’re just cool and proactive like that, you’ve come to that beautiful hurdle of 21st century sex: getting ‘tested.’
Of course, there’s no one test (sex science ain’t that fancy yet), no one diagnosis that you’re ‘clean’ (a loathsome phrase, honestly — we all know we like to play dirty sometimes) and even in San Francisco in this day and age, there’s no true one-stop shop for all one’s sexual health needs (and if there is, comment, please!). But for HIV, we’re way ahead of the curve, so ahead in fact that there’s a lot to know to stay on top of your health as the sex nerd you know you really are at heart.
Get hooked up, all over again, after the jump…
(Image: still from a French HIV education commerical [NSFW, of course, unless you're an HIV counselor], found at blip.tv)
So, navigating sex and public health can be complicated, and politics from above impact greatly on the sweet folks at the clinic. Here’s some background on the latest changes to HIV testing in California to give you a sense of what’s going on behind those all-too-underfunded scenes.
This Spring, the State Senate approved a bill mandating that health providers change how they report positive test results to public health departments and in turn, the Center for Disease Control. Previously, a unique numeric code was permitted, though now, a name must be attached to each positive. The adoption of Names Based Reporting in California means that one’s options for true, anonymous HIV testing in San Francisco are dwindling.
Here are three remaining anonymous HIV testing sites, some of which also provide additional STI testing and counseling:
Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Association, 415.292.3420 x304 or 415.573.9230 (Fridays & Saturdays), or by anonymous email
Their Flash educational resource, Testing for You, gives some options on Rapid Oral & Finger Stick Tests (where you will get your test result in 20 minutes), as well as Standard Blood & Oral Tests (with a test result in a week). Counselors speak English, Burmese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, Lao, Tagalog, Visayan, and Ilokano. Call to make an appointment in your preferred Asian language.
AIDS Health Project, 415-502-TEST, between 9:00 am and 4:30 pm Monday through Friday
AHP provides free one-to-one HIV/STD Counseling, Testing and Linkages services to Gay and Bisexual Men, Men who have sex with men and to all Transgendered Men who are residents of San Francisco. Rapid testing is also available, in which a preliminary result is available in about an hour. Multilingual counseling is offered, including ASL. For an appointment, call ahead at (415)-502-TEST (8378), 415-476-3587 TTY.
Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, 1-800-967-PLAN, call Monday – Thursday 8:30am – 6:00pm, Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm, and Saturday 9:00am – 1:00pm
Planned Parenthood isn’t just for women and reproductive care — this is the only one of these testing sites I’ve been to personally, and can say, don’t be deterred by the anti-choice protestor-proof plexiglass, just go rejoice in the actually sex-positive health care. Standard HIV testing is available at several Bay Area locations, with results in one week. Appointments can also be made online.
One last ounce of prevention: here’s who to call, even at 4am after a gorgeous all-night marathon, to get your hopefully-not-burning questions answered:
San Francisco AIDS Foundation Hotline:
(415) 863-2437 or 1-800-367-2437
(Mon. – Fri., 9am – 9pm)
Spanish or Tagalog – San Francisco AIDS Foundation Hotline:
(5pm – 5am, 7 nights a week)
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) National AIDS Hotline:
(24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Spanish – Centers for Disease Control National AIDS Hotline:
(5am – 11pm, 7 days a week)
San Francisco Sex Information Hotline:
For hearing impaired:
TTY day: (415) 864-6606
or night: (415) 781-2228
And one last resource, with confidential-only testing, but fabulous services for partners, too:
San Francisco City Clinic
*On Tuesday and Thursday from 1:00-3:00, can only see patients with symptoms of an STD or those who have a partner with an STD.