About AIDS

New lovers: get tested free!

So you met that Mr. or Miss Right on Valentine's? This, then, is the right time to discuss HIV. Don't be embarrassed; be realistic: If you can't talk about something this important, do you want to be sharing even greater intimacies? It's strongly suggested that when "dating" someone new, the couple should go together and get an HIV screening.

Fortunately, it's amazingly easy to get an HIV test in Austin. Your regular doctor may not offer anonymous testing or counseling about risky behavior and HIV prevention, and it definitely won't be free. So, check out the Austin-Travis County Health Department!

ATCHD offers HIV testing at many places around Austin, plus scheduled testing in various bars and clubs. It can be done anonymously (using a false name) or confidentially. A trained HIV counselor will help you make an informed decision about testing and will give you an appointment to come back for your test result. To ensure confidentiality, the results will only be given to you in person.

In some cases, the new quickie test may be available, with results available in 20 minutes. (It's just as accurate.) And for the needle-haters among us, the Orasure test can collect a sample from the mouth – no needles or blood needed.

Call 972-5580 today to make an appointment. For individuals with certain kinds of risk, free hepatitis C testing may also be offered. Evening appointments are available, too. Checking for other sexually transmitted diseases isn't a bad idea either, and that's also available through the Health Department by calling 972-5430.

Get off on the right foot with your new love interest by getting tested for HIV. It would be hard to find a more concrete demonstration of your concern for each other.

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