How do I get an HIV test at HUHS?
HUHS offers confidential HIV testing through the Adult Primary Care department at Holyoke Center in Cambridge or through the satellite clinics at the Business School, Law School, and Medical Area. During the appointment, your clinician will explain the testing process, review your risk factors, and answer any questions you may have. In the state of Massachusetts, an HIV test can only be performed with your written consent. After the consent is signed, a blood sample will be taken and your results will be available within 7 to 10 days. You and your clinician will determine how those results will be communicated to you. Call your primary care clinician’s office to make an appointment. If you do not know who your primary care clinician is, call 617-495-5711 to find out.
Is the testing covered by insurance?
Testing is generally covered by health insurance plans; both the Harvard University Group Health Plan (HUGHP) and the Harvard University Student Health Plan (HUSHP) supplemental plan cover these tests.
What happens to the results of my test? Are they included in my medical record?
Yes, they are included in your medical record. As with all personal health information, results and/or identifying information are private in accordance with strict confidentiality laws. Health care providers will not discuss results with anyone but you unless they have your consent. If you consent to have your medical record information released to anyone, the HIV test results will not be included unless you give explicit permission for the HIV testing results to be released along with in your general medical information.
What is the difference between confidential HIV testing and anonymous HIV testing?
Confidential HIV testing allows your test result to be directly entered into your medical record. Designated anonymous testing sites do not use a name with the test; the sample taken is coded with a number or other unique identifier that cannot be traced to a specific person. Despite legislation prohibiting discrimination based on HIV status or other pre-existing medical conditions, some people feel more comfortable having an anonymous test with no written record of results.
Where can I receive anonymous testing near Harvard University?
There are sites offering anonymous testing in the Boston area that are easily accessible by the Red Line and/or the shuttle/bus service.
Fenway Community Health Center
1340 Boylston Street, Boston
Walk-in hours: Wednesday 4:30–6pm
Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital
110 Francis Street, Suite G, Boston
Hours: (appt. only) M-F, 8:30am–4:30pm
Fee: $25.00 cash
Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit Street, Fifth Floor, Room 515
617.726.2748 (must be registered as a general patient by calling 866.211.6588)
Walk-in clinic: Tues-Thurs 8:30am–1am; Mon, Wed 1pm–3pm
Fee: none (donations requested)
In addition, the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts has a toll-free line and website providing information about where to find a convenient confidential or anonymous testing site in your area. Call the Massachusetts HIV and STD hotline at 1.800.235.2331 or visit their website at www.aac.org.
Are over-the-counter HIV testing kits available?
Over-the-counter HIV kits are another option for individuals who want to be tested anonymously. These kits are available in the HUHS Pharmacy. Testing involves collecting a blood sample using a retractable safety lancet (provided) and a blood specimen card. The specimen is then mailed using a pre-paid envelope to a testing center. Results are ready in about a week. The kits are safe and accurate.