UHS offers routine testing for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Here's what you should know about testing:
HIV tests performed at a health care site not specifically designated as an anonymous testing site are documented in a patient’s permanent medical record.
Test results are considered protected medical information and are sometimes recorded in a separate confidential file. The health care provider won't discuss them with anyone but the patient and the medical record won't be released to anyone without the patient’s express written permission. In Massachusetts, a separate release is required for HIV testing history, to ensure confidentiality.
Designated anonymous testing sites don’t associate a patient’s name with the test. The blood sample and results are coded with a number or other unique identifier, which can’t be traced to a specific person.
Anonymous testing eliminates the possibility of discrimination based on HIV test information contained in a medical record. Anonymous testing sites won’t provide written test results, since this presents an opportunity to misrepresent HIV status. HIV antibody testing counselors have specialized training in sexual health behavior risk reduction and health promotion, but don’t provide other clinical services or evaluations.
What else to consider:
Legislation prohibiting discrimination based on HIV status or pre-existing medical conditions has dramatically decreased employment and insurance discrimination. However, some people feel more comfortable having an anonymous HIV antibody test, because they maintain personal control over their results.
If a written test result is necessary for any reason (such as military service, travel, insurance or some employment situations), select routine HIV antibody testing.
For an appointment:
- Routine HIV testing/UHS appointments: call (413) 577-5101.
Anonymous testing information:
call the Massachusetts AIDS Action Committee Hotline,