HIV/STI Counseling, Testing & Referrals

Fenway Health is a Safe and Respectful Place to Receive Testing and Counseling for HIV/AIDS and Other STIs

If you have insurance and a provider, we encourage you to get STD testing as part of a medical appointment. Call 617.927.6000 to make an appointment. If you get your primary care elsewhere, ask your doctor to refer you to Fenway for a sexual health screening.

No insurance? Co-pays too high? You need to keep STD testing off of your insurance statement? Fenway offers free STD testing for those who don’t have insurance or are unable to use it. In order to book a slot, please call 617.267.0159 to pre-register. Make sure to call us right away if you have symptoms of an STD, or someone you have recently had sex with told you they were just diagnosed with an STD. Free STD testing for those in need include comprehensive testing for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, Hepatitis C and HIV.

Because there are multiple locations and options for HIV testing, call 617.267.0159 to speak with a counselor.

Your counselor can book an appointment for you, or inform you of the nearest and soonest walk-in times. For more information about HIV/AIDS, click here.

Testing Locations & Services Offered

Walk-In HIV, Hepatitis C Testing & Insurance Enrollment
Wednesdays, 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, 2nd Floor

These services are free, and include:

  • Rapid HIV testing with results in minutes
  • HIV serum testing that can detect HIV infection 2 weeks after exposure
  • Hepatitis C testing, both rapid and serum

Free HIV testing is also available as part of a medical visit, by appointment, and by walk-in (based on counselor availability). Ask your provider, or call 617.267.0159 and a counselor can arrange for you to get tested. As part of your visit we offer confidential counseling to help you deal with the issues that surround your decision to test and the impact of knowing your status. Documentation of test results is available at your request. For more information on what HIV antibody test results mean, click here.

Need STD Testing?

Fenway offers free STD testing throughout the week for those in need. eg: no insurance, high copays, lab bills, or for any reason that precludes billing to your insurance. Call 617.267.0159 to speak with a counselor.

  • Syphilis, Gonorrhea & Chlamydia screening
  • Treatment for symptomatic bacterial STDs & known exposures
  • Assessment for herpes & HPV symptoms (warts)

If you have a known exposure to an STD, or if you have symptoms, call your doctor right away, or call 617.267.0159 for counseling, information and to schedule an appointment.

Rapid and serum HIV testing are available at our 142 Berkeley Street location as part of a medical visit, at your request. STD testing can be scheduled using your health insurance and by making an appointment with a provider.

Note: At this time, Generation 4 HIV Testing is only available at 1340 Boylston Street.

HIV and STD testing for young people between the ages of 12 and 29 are available at 75 Kneeland Street, Boston 02111. Call 617.457.8140 to make an appointment.

Note: At this time, Generation 4 HIV Testing is only available at 1340 Boylston Street.

Walk-in hours are from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm on Mondays and Tuesdays, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on Thursdays and 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Fridays.

You may also schedule a time that is convenient for you by speaking with a counselor at 617.267.0159.

Our community services center is located at 16 Haviland Street, Boston, and offers free sexual-health counseling, rapid HIV testing, and rapid Hepatitis C testing:

  • 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday – Thursday
  • 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Friday

Note: At this time, Generation 4 HIV Testing is only available at 1340 Boylston Street.

About Getting Tested

Rapid HIV Testing

Fenway uses the OraQuick ADVANCE® Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Test.

Using a single drop of blood collected by finger stick, your counselor can give you a result in 20 minutes. The window period—the time it takes for HIV antibodies to form in the body and be detectable by the test—can be from 2-12 weeks after exposure.

What You Need to Know About HIV Antibody Testing

HIV antibody testing detects for HIV antibodies, NOT the HIV virus itself—an important fact to consider when receiving HIV antibody results. The human immune system creates HIV antibodies as a response to an HIV infection, but it usually takes anywhere from 10 days to 3 months, perhaps longer in some cases, from the day of infection for the body to create enough anti-bodies to be detected in a blood test. Because of this delay, a negative HIV antibody test result does NOT guarantee that someone is not infected with HIV.

It is important to understand the HIV antibody testing process and its limitations, especially when making decisions about sexual risk based on HIV antibody test results.

A negative result:

Does NOT rule out that HIV infection may have occurred in the weeks and months before the antibody test.
Does NOT guarantee that a person is not infected with the virus.
Means that no ANTIBODIES were detected in the blood tested. HIV can be present in the blood before antibodies are detectable.
If a sex partner assures you that he tested HIV negative, keep these things in mind:

Any high-risk sexual behavior he engaged in during the 3 months before the test might not be reflected in that negative antibody test result.

In a recent study of men who have sex with men, 70% of men aged 20-29 who tested HIV positive had believed they were HIV negative — so keep in mind that even though someone may honestly believe they are HIV negative, that doesn’t mean they are.

Fenway offers FREE HIV testing and counseling.
Please call 617.267.0159 for more information.

Remember, early detection of HIV infection can increase your options around taking care of your health and making decisions about treatment, as well as protecting the health of your sexual partners. GET TESTED!

Fourth Generation HIV Testing

In addition to standard 20 minute rapid antibody testing, Fenway offers state-of-the art Generation 4 HIV Ag/Ab testing that not only looks for antibodies, but an antigen as well. This antigen is present in people who are newly infected with HIV and shows up within 14 days of exposure. This test requires a blood draw and results are back in a week or so. One of the big advantages of this test is the fact that the window period is so short. Early detection of HIV can dramatically improve treatment outcomes, as well as prevent those who don’t know they are newly-infected from spreading the virus to others. Newly infected HIV positive people are among the most infectious. Many transmissions happen because most newly-infected people aren’t aware of their status and they inadvertently pass HIV on to their partners.

For some time, we have looked for antibodies to determine if someone has HIV. Although this is still the most common way to detect HIV, there is a window period of about 6-8 weeks after exposure before the HIV antibodies show up.

In addition to standard 20 minute rapid antibody testing, Fenway now offers Generation 4 testing technology that not only looks for antibodies, but an antigen as well. This antigen is present in people who are newly infected with HIV and shows up within 14 days of exposure. With our generation 4 serum testing, HIV infections can be detected 2 weeks after exposure.

Note: this test is not available at all sites and at all times, and a return visit is needed to receive your results, as they are processed in a lab. Ask your counselor if the antigen/antibody serum test is right for you.

Rapid Hepatitis C Testing

This service is free and results are ready in 20 minutes. Call 617.267.0159, or ask your counselor at the time of your visit.

Testing Together— Get Tested with Your Partner

This service is free and results are ready in 20 minutes. Call 617.267.0159, or ask your counselor at the time of your visit.

Ask the Docs

Ask the Docs is an online service of Fenway Health that allows gay and bisexual men and transgender people to get answers to questions about their medical, sexual and mental health. Click fenwayhealth.org/askthedocs to post your question.

The HIV & STI Counseling Line

In addition to booking you an appointment or explaining Fenway services, the HIV and STD Counseling Line offers free telephone counseling to those with questions or concerns about their sexual health, health insurance, LGBT issues, referrals and more. Counselors are available by telephone from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm Monday through Thursday, and 10:00 am – 5:00 pm on Fridays. All of our counselors are certified by the state of Massachusetts and are ready to talk to you. Call 617.267.0159.

Case Management

For patients with complex health problems such as HIV and other chronic illnesses, Fenway offers comprehensive case management services. Our registered nurses and medical social workers help patients understand and access the many resources available to them.

For chronically ill patients, the primary care nurse assumes the additional role of case manager, assisting and supporting you through the course of your illness. Your RN will help you understand the disease process and the impact it is likely to have on your health and provide the information you need to stay healthy and make sound choices about your health care.

Medical social workers are available to help you cope with the practical and emotional aspects of your care and help you access mental health care. A medical social worker can help you apply for Medicare or Medicaid and access community-based services, such as financial, housing and legal assistance programs, and pastoral counseling; coordinate and facilitate communication among multiple service providers; and make referrals to various other services. To help patients deal with the profound disruptions—physical, emotional, and financial—that serious illness or injury can bring, medical social workers also provide short-term, focused counseling and education to patients and their families.

Information About HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis & Other STIs

HIV/AIDS

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome:

  • Acquired means you can get infected with it.

  • Immune Deficiency means a weakness in the body’s system that fights diseases.

  • Syndrome means a group of health problems that make up a disease.

AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. If you get infected with HIV, your body will try to fight the infection. It will make antibodies – special molecules to fight HIV. A blood test for HIV looks for these antibodies. If you have them in your blood, it means that you have HIV infection. People who have HIV antibodies are called “HIV-Positive.” To schedule an HIV test or for more information on Fenway’s HIV Counseling & Testing Services, call 617.267.0159. For more information about HIV/AIDS, click here.

Hepatitis

Hepatitis refers to viral infections of the liver. There are several types of hepatitis, but here we will discuss the most common – Hepatitis A, B and C. Different types of hepatitis are transmitted in different ways:

  • Hepatitis A

    is transmitted through oral contact with contaminated feces. It can be passed through sexual contact, especially in men who have sex with men, or by coming into contact with contaminated food. There is a vaccine for Hepatitis A. •

  • Hepatitis B

    is highly contagious and usually contracted through sexual contact with an infected partner or through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids. There is a vaccine for Hepatitis B.

  • Hepatitis C

    is more difficult to acquire than other types of hepatitis and is most commonly transmitted through blood-to-blood contact as can happen when injection drug users share needles. There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C and it can often be incurable.

Hepatitis symptoms vary in intensity from person to person but commonly include:

  • Fatigue, at times severe enough to make it difficult to get out of bed
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting that gets worse as the day progresses
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Darker urine than normal and sand colored feces
  • Loss of smoking desire
  • Dull pain in upper abdomen (Hepatitis A)

For more information on hepatitis, it’s symptoms and how to protect yourself from it, click here.

Other STIs

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are infections you can get through sexual contact involving the mouth, penis, vagina or anus. Each year, there are more than 15 million new STD cases in the United States. STDs are more common that most people think. Young people are at particularly high risk.

Most STDs are easily cured if they are caught early. Unfortunately, many people don’t seek treatment because they have no symptoms and they don’t know that they have an infection. Other people have symptoms, but they don’t go to the doctor because they are embarrassed or they don’t realize that their symptoms are the warning signs of a serious infection. If left untreated, some STDs can cause severe health problems or even death. And if you don’t have an STD treated, you are more likely to pass it on to someone else. Talk to your doctor or counselor about any STD concerns you might have.

Click on the links below for more information on specific STDs:

To schedule an HIV test or for more information on Fenway’s HIV Counseling & Testing Services, please call

617.267.0159

Ansin Building

1340 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215

Appointments

617.927.6000

Fenway: South End

142 Berkeley Street
Boston, MA 02116

Appointments

617.247.7555

Sidney Borum, Jr. Health Center

75 Kneeland Street
Boston, MA 02111

Appointments

617.457.8140

16 Haviland

16 Haviland Street
Boston, MA 02115

Appointments

617.267.0159

MyFenway

Patients can use MyFenway.org or MyBorum.org to request prescription refills and referrals online, and communicate over email with some Fenway Health or Sidney Borum, Jr. Health Center providers. Get help creating a MyFenway or MyBorum account here.

Questions? Email myfenway@fenwayhealth.org

Requesting Medical Records

To request a copy of your medical record, please download the medical records release form (PDF) and then fax it to 617.425.5713 or mail it to Medical Records, Fenway Health, Ansin Building, 1340 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215.