QUESTIONS & MYTHS
Click on a question or myth below for a response.
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. If the confirmatory test is positive, that result will be reported to the State Health Department – the same as it would in ANY place in Georgia or Illinois that does confidential or anonymous HIV testing. If you prefer to be tested anonymously as an individual instead of a couple, you can find an anonymous place to get tested in your area at this link.
There’s no way to know what direction your relationship will take once you both know your HIV status, but in Africa, where the service was started, 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.
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.
The whole testing and counseling process generally takes about an hour depending on the length of your post-test counseling session. The HIV test itself takes no more than 30 minutes.
In the U.S., most HIV transmissions between men are from a primary male sex partner. It’s possible that you and/or your partner have HIV and don’t know it. Take the first step to know for certain through couples counseling and testing.
QUESTION: 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. It does not matter if one or both of you have been having sex outside this relationship.
We currently have limited funding to provide this service to 200 male couples in each of two U.S. cities—Atlanta and Chicago beginning in September 2011. If you are interested in seeing this service provided in your area, and you are not near Atlanta or Chicago, please enter your zip code on this locator page. You will then be directed to a page that will allow you to provide your contact information so that we can notify you should the service become available near you.
QUESTION: I LIVE IN ATLANTA AND I’VE PARTICIPATED IN "COUPLES VOLUNTARY COUNSELING AND TESTING" BEFORE, IS THIS THE SAME SERVICE?
Yes. We now have additional funding to continue providing the service until 2013. You may be eligible to participate again with your partner. Enter your zip code in the side bar to find a location near you, or click here to find out where to get tested.
Yes. You may still be eligible if you meet other screening criteria. 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 between you and your partner about how to manage the realities of HIV in your relationship.
QUESTION: 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 or forward him the www.testingtogether.org link.
You and your partner will be screened separately for eligibility. If you are determined to be eligible for the service, and you both agree to be tested, then you will meet with a counselor for a discussion about the testing process and 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 work with you to determine next steps to minimize the risk of HIV in your relationship.
No. This is not a research study. Testing Together is a new service that allows male couples to HIV test together.