Ramsey County and the Minnesota Department of Health have teamed up to offer free, at-home HIV testing kits. I asked Hilary Zander, a nurse with Ramsey county, a few questions about the initiative.
Who are the kits for?
Anyone who qualifies for a test can get one! There are two eligibility components. First, if someone had an HIV test within the last three months, it is too soon for the testing technology in the at-home test kit to pick up an infection. Second, the individual needs to have one risk factor in the last year. Examples of risk factors include any sex without a condom, an STD in the last year, injection drug use, and if they’re uncertain if their sex partner(s) have HIV.
How does one obtain an at-home test?
Advertisements on various online platforms (YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, dating apps), radio, and public transit will direct viewers to a link to take the online eligibility survey. If the individual is eligible, we mail them the free test.
Free! If the individual responds to the follow-up survey (a link is sent via text or email about a week after receiving the test), they will get a $25 gift card.
Is testing a straightforward process? Easy to use?
Yes! The test is a mouth swab. There are easy-to-follow directions to guide the individual. If someone would like a Clinic 555 health educator to walk them through the testing process, we can do that over phone or video call.