Metro Weekly

Know Your Status: Free HIV/STI Testing in the DC Area

The D.C. Metro area has a number of places to obtain a free, confidential HIV test -- if you know where to look


We’ve seen the message. It’s in web ads, TV commercials, in pamphlets and even displayed at local bus stops: get tested for HIV. It’s a crucial message in Washington, D.C., where the HIV rate is still at epidemic levels. But the idea of testing can still be intimidating to people who either fear a positive diagnosis, or worry about revealing their identity.

That’s why numerous organizations in the D.C. metro area offer free, confidential and rapid HIV testing, where people can get their results in about 20 to 30 minutes — rather than wait for several agonizing days. The D.C.-based Andromeda Transcultural Health offers testing appointments five days a week, and Whitman-Walker Health offers testing on a walk-in basis Monday through Friday, with additional HIV and STD testing as part of its weekly Gay Men’s Health and Wellness Clinic on Tuesday evenings. Metro Health Center also offers HIV testing Monday through Friday, with no appointment needed.

SMYAL also offers free HIV testing by appointment and on a walk-in basis for people 21 and younger at its Youth Center in Barracks Row. For Maryland residents, Identity offers HIV testing four times a week at its Takoma Park location. Virginia residents can choose to be tested at either NovaSalud’s Arlington location on Mondays and Wednesdays, Karing with Individuality (K.I.) Services’ Alexandria location on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, or the Alexandria Health Department’s “Rainbow Tuesdays” clinic, which offers STI testing and treatment in addition to rapid HIV testing. For those who can’t make weekday testing fit into their schedule, Whitman-Walker’s mobile testing unit and The DC Center team up one Saturday afternoon each month to offer free HIV testing at the Reeves Municipal Building.

For more information on various HIV testing sites, including hours of operation and contact information, refer to individual listings in the calendar here.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at