Us Helping Us provides Couples HIV Testing and Counseling (CHTC) in which two or more persons who are in, or are planning to be in, a sexual relationship receive all the elements of HIV testing and counseling together, including HIV prevention counseling, receipt of test results, and linkage to follow-up services. A study conducted by the DC Health Department found that a significant percentage of black gay men and heterosexual men and women are in concurrent relationships where a member or both of the couple have sexually relationships with someone other than their main partner despite their being in a committed relationship.
“In concurrent relationships, HIV transmission can occur as a result of sex between main partners,” said Ron Simmons, Ph.D., the President/CEO of Us Helping Us. “Couples HIV Testing reduces the burden of one partner sharing his or her HIV-positive status by ensuring provider-assisted mutual disclosure.”
“Testing couples together creates an opportunity for couples to discuss, establish, or revise sexual agreements for their relationship,” said Antonio Burt, one of the HIV counselors. “It allows couples to prepare a risk-reduction plan based on the HIV status of both partners.”
UHU has provided HIV testing for heterosexual and gay couples for over two years and follows the protocol recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Testing couples together provides a built-in support system that may aid in linking persons living with HIV to essential care and treatment services. This is particularly important for discordant couples (i.e., one partner is HIV-positive and the other is HIV-negative), for whom antiretroviral therapy may significantly reduce the risk of transmission from one partner to another. For more information about HIV testing for couples, call Us Helping Us at 202 446-1100. The service is free.