get tested » Testing Together
Testing Together is a groundbreaking new HIV/STI testing and counseling service for male couples that’s now being offered at Gay City Health Project.
Getting an HIV test can be difficult, if not downright scary—and telling your partner the results can be even more difficult. Testing Together provides an opportunity for you and your partner to have your HIV test together and get your test results together, with a trained counselor present to help you talk about the results. Testing and receiving your results together can start an ongoing healthy conversation between you and your partner about HIV in your relationship, and allow you to talk openly about building a protection plan together.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
When you arrive at Gay City’s Wellness Center, you and your partner will be screened separately to determine eligibility to test together. If eligible, you will take a short survey about your relationship and then meet with a counselor. You’ll review the testing process and discuss how HIV impacts your specific relationship. You will then both be tested for HIV. The counselor will provide the results of the test to you both together, in the same room. The counselor will then help you and your partner develop a plan for the future.
WILL THE COUNSELOR ASK ABOUT MY OTHER SEX PARTNERS IN FRONT OF MY PARTNER?
Unlike individual testing that you may have had in the past, Testing Together doesn’t focus on your past sex partners or ask that you answer specific questions about your sexual risks or partners. Instead, this service focuses on helping you and your partner learn your HIV status today and hopefully develop a plan to address HIV in your relationship in the future. We will ask you to provide some sexual history on an intake form, but this is only to collect data and the form is not reviewed or discussed during your session.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
The whole testing and counseling process generally takes less than an hour, depending on the length of your post-test counseling session, & if you choose to have other STI testing. The HIV test itself is the same rapid antibody test we offer in individual appointments, so you’ll have those results in twenty minutes.
WILL OUR INFORMATION BE SHARED WITH OTHERS OUTSIDE OUR RELATIONSHIP?
The rules around confidentiality are the same for all HIV testing – whether you test separately or together. Your information will be held confidentially and your status will be kept between you and your partner. Only you and your partner can decide together whether to tell others of your test result. If one of you tests positive, we will conduct a confirmatory test & help you get set up with additional services. If you prefer to be tested anonymously as an individual, we can provide that service instead.
IF MY PARTNER AND I ARE MONOGAMOUS, DO WE NEED TO GET TESTED?
In the United States, most HIV transmissions between men are from a primary male sex partner. That’s likely because one of the partners may have HIV and not know it. Most male couples have some kind of agreement around monogamy, although their definitions of “monogamy” are sometimes different. We also know that a lot of guys want to have a back-up plan, in case their agreement changes. As partners, you can take the step toward knowing your status for certain by Testing Together.
WILL MY PARTNER BREAK UP WITH ME IF I’M POSITIVE AND HE’S NEGATIVE……OR VICE-VERSA?
There’s no way to know what direction your relationship will take once you both know your HIV status, but in other locations using this service, most couples with different results stay together. Relationships develop differently. Knowing your status and your partner’s status will open the door for honesty, dialogue and trust—the foundations of any strong relationship. Whether your results are the same or different, we’ll provide you with any referrals you need to make decisions about your relationship and your health.
WE DON’T CONSIDER OURSELVES A "COUPLE," WE’RE JUST SEX PARTNERS. SHOULD WE BE TESTED TOGETHER?
Maybe. Relationships take different forms. Because this information is personal for you both, we recommend that you have been together as a couple for at least 1 month, although this recommendation is not an eligibility requirement. We just encourage you to consider if you are ready to receive your HIV result in front of this partner. If that works for you, make a Testing Together appointment! You can be a long-term couple, newly dating, or even “friends with benefits.” It does not matter if one or both of you have been having sex outside this relationship.
I’M POSITIVE BUT I HAVEN’T TOLD MY PARTNER. ARE WE STILL ELIGIBLE?
Definitely! You are eligible if you meet the basic screening criteria used for all appointments. Testing Together can provide an opportunity for you to share your status with your partner in a controlled setting with a trained counselor who can help start a healthy discussion about how to manage the realities of HIV in your relationship. Plus, Gay City offers other helpful services to you as an HIV+ guy, including testing for syphilis, hepatitis C, and other sexually transmitted infections.
I’D LIKE TO PARTICIPATE BUT I’M NOT SURE MY PARTNER WILL. WHAT CAN I DO TO GET HIM INTERESTED?
Have a discussion with your partner. If you or he is not sure that Testing Together is right for you, you can still come to Gay City at the same time and be tested separately.
HOW DO I MAKE AN APPOINTMENT?
HIV and STI testing are offered at Gay City to gay, bi and other men who have sex with men, including trans guys. Testing is free, with donations gladly accepted. At all of our appointments we offer Rapid HIV Testing, HIV RNA testing and screening for syphilis. We also offer chlamydia, gonorrhea, and Hepatitis C screening for those that are eligible. For more details, please talk to one of our counselors.