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Washington, D.C. has an HIV/AIDS epidemic with an infection rate as high as some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. African American women in the nation’s capital are twenty five times more time likely to have HIV than white women. Despite being at great risk for HIV/AIDS, there are few projects which which exclusively focus on preventing and reducing AIDS infection among African American women. 

To reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in Washington, D.C., the D.C. Department of Health and the George Washington University teamed up to offer home HIV testing kits to people living in D.C.


Some studies show that fear can prevent someone from taking an HIV test. Yet, no studies examine such fears exclusively among African American women.


This project explored:

  • How do vulnerable African American women feel about HIV testing?

  • Are they willing to take a home test or would prefer to take a test at a clinic and why?

  • What can we learn about how to engage women in HIV testing and care? 

I did once go to a clinic and there wasn’t a lot of privacy… It was almost like a mill, you know, in and out. And I think that was the most uncomfortable when it came to HIV testing. They housed everything and everybody, like to get anything. Birth certificates and HIV and immunizations… so there wasn’t a lot of privacy going on. You know, you walked in the door and it’s like, ‘Oh, are you here for an STD clinic?’ It’s like announcing it to the world.

Betty Blue

39 years old

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