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TESTING OUT OF STATE
Sep 16, 2002

DEAREST CARING EXPERTS,

PLEASE HELP ME I DONT KNOW WHERE TO SUBMIT THIS QUESTION. I REALLY NEED YOUR ADVICE. I HAVE OBTAINED INSURANCE THROUGH A SMALL GROUP AT MY EMPLOYER BUT I AM FEARING MY STATUS. I DO NOT WANT TO USE MY INSURANCE THROUGH MY JOB TO GET TESTED AND WOULD MUCH RATHER GO SEE AN ID SPECIALIST RATHER THAN GOING TO GET TESTED ANONYMOUSLY. I AM ALSO CONCERNED ABOUT THE PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL INSURANCE I JUST OBTAINED, I DO NOT WANT TO LOSE IT. I FEAR I MAY NEED IT LATER. IF I GO OUT OF STATE TO A SPECIALIST AND PAY OUT OF MY POCKET, NOT USING MY INSURANCE; CAN MY INSURANCE TRACK ME EVEN OUT OF STATE (EITHER MY PRIVATE OR WORK INSURANCE TO SEE I HAD TESTS RUN AS RNA, DNA PCR, AND EIA.) WOULD U RECOMMEND WHEN I GO GET TESTED OUT OF STATE, THAT I USE MY OTHER ADDRESS OUT OF STATE THAN THE ADDRESS I DISCLOSED ON MY INSURANCE POLICY. OR IS THIS POINT IRRELEVANT. PLEASE HELP ME! I AM SURE OTHERS WOULD BENEFIT FROM THIS RESPONSE AS WELL. THANK YOU.!!!

SAD BILLY

Response from Ms. Breuer

Dear Sad Billy,

Your preference not to use an anonymous testing site is confusing to me, since all of your concerns would be eliminated that way. But in any case, you don't have to go out of state. And it doesn't matter whether you're tested by an ID specialist or an internist. It does matter which doctor you choose for care, but for testing, what you want is a lab that runs HIV tests all the time, so that they're good at it.

Call your local public health department and ask them for a referral. If you are paying out of pocket, which I do recommend, take their advice about the lowest cost approach and do not give your real name. You can use a pseudonym and list as your address your town's local library address or some other public building. Most sites that offer testing will require you to return in person rather than receiving your results in the mail.

You'd be amazed at how many Jesse Helmses have had HIV tests in the past 15 years!

Your insurance company doesn't track you by address. It tracks only those services that you seek insurance coverage for. So don't involve your insurance company at all. But unless you're yearning for a drive, there's no reason to go out of state.

Good luck, Sad Billy, and may your results relieve your anxiety.



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