Free STD Testing:
The DC Health and Wellness Center is open during the following hours:
- Monday 8:30 am to 3 pm
- Tuesday 8:30 am to 3 pm
- Wednesday 8:30 am to 3 pm
- Thursday 8:30 am to 11 am
- Friday 8:30 am to 3 pm
The DC Health and Wellness Center is closed on holidays and follows the DC government for inclement weather closures.
Beginning June 1, 2015, all patients who wish to see a clinician at the DC Health and Wellness Center must make an appointment. You can request a same day or next day appointment by calling (202) 741-7692 or by coming to the Center in person. Please note that if you choose to walk in, you will be offered the next available appointment slot, which may be several hours later or the following day. Depending on your schedule you may choose to wait in the waiting room until your appointment time or you may decide to leave and return 15 minutes before your scheduled time.
We ask that you make every effort to keep your appointment and call the clinic as soon as you know you will not be able to make it so that we can reschedule your visit and free up your appointment time for another patient to be seen. We are a busy clinic and many patients are scheduled for each day. If you are more than 10 minutes late, we will ask you to reschedule your appointment for later that day or the next day.
When you arrive for your appointment, the person at the front desk will ask for photo identification and an insurance card and provide a registration form for you to complete. The personal information on this form will be protected. In order to further protect your privacy and confidentiality, names are not used during your visit. Instead, letters and numbers are used to identify clients.
You can make yourself comfortable in the waiting room until your number or letter is called. You will then have your blood drawn and a rapid HIV test performed. Upon completion of this lab work, you will visit with the clinician who will take a sexual history, do a comprehensive physical exam, collect any additional specimens for testing, and prescribe medication(s), as indicated.
If you are diagnosed with a reportable Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) — gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, HIV — you will then be referred to the counselor for risk reduction counseling, including discussion of how to talk to your sexual partners about their exposure to an STI and how to prevent future infections. You will also receive information on follow-up appointments.
Currently the DC Health and Welness Center does not charge for services. However, in order to continue providing high quality and low cost care to all our clients, we will begin billing for services in 2016. Additionally, billing for services will allow us to expand the care we provide. If you do not have insurance or if you choose not to use it, you will be asked to pay a fee based on your income and family size. No one will be denied care due to inability to pay.
In preparation for this change, we will begin asking for insurance information starting on May 1, 2015. Registration staff will photocopy your photo ID and insurance card for your medical chart and provide you with a copy of our HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices. We will ask you to sign the notice to confirm that you have received a copy and that you consent to treatment from the DC Health and Wellness Center. Until the billing system is implemented sometime next year our services will continue to be offered free of charge. We will do our best to keep you informed of additional changes that may affect the clinic process as we move forward with this new system.
Your medical record at the DC Health and Wellness Center is always kept confidential. This means that information regarding testing, diagnosis and treatment services provided at the DC Health and Wellness Center is privileged and will only be released to your treating physician upon request. We can’t tell your partner(s), parents, guardians, teachers or employers that you got tested and we can’t tell them the results.
All DC Health and Wellness Center staff sign an oath to keep confidential any and all information having to do with our patients. The oath specifically states that staff will not remove files from the DC Health and Wellness Center without authorization and will not divulge any information regarding patients to unauthorized persons. The staff understands that the unauthorized release of information will result in disciplinary action or termination of their employment with the District of Columbia.
Disease Intervention Specialists (DIS): Every public health department around the country has specially trained workers who provide services that assist with counseling, testing, and interrupting the disease infection cycle. DIS undergo intensive training to learn about the different sexually transmitted infections so they can better educate and inform patients of safer sex practices. The DIS in Washington, DC provide counseling for all patients at the SE STD Clinic who are diagnosed with a reportable disease. They conduct field investigations on all syphilis and HIV cases in Washington, DC and provide partner notification services. Because of the unique skill set of the DIS they have also been asked to provide trainings and outreach services at various community events. Often, the
DIS are the face of the STD Control Program.
Partner Counseling and Referral Services: An important part of treating any sexually transmitted disease is interrupting the infection cycle by notifying, counseling and treating the partners of those diagnosed with an STD/HIV. Partner Counseling and Referral Services or PCRS is the way in which the Department of Health provides those services to the community. The DIS do NOT disclose the name or any other identifying information about the patient.
If you have been diagnosed with an STD, including HIV, and would like assistance with informing your partner, call the Department of Health at (202) 741-7692 or more information on partner services.
You can also anonymously inform your partners that they have been exposed to an STD by visiting www.inspot.org.