Testing Together encourages gay couples to test for HIV together, discuss results, plan future

Published: January 18, 2012

CHICAGO — Newly dating and slightly anxious, two men bared their arms for blood tests and pondered the possibility that one of them, or both, could be infected with HIV. An innovative program — called Testing Together — would allow them to hear their test results minutes later, while sitting side by side.

Eric Zemanovic, a dental hygienist, and Dominic Poteste, a restaurant server, had been dating two months after a yearlong friendship. In the past, they’d both practiced safe sex and got regular HIV tests. Both are in their early 30s. They’d grown up when AIDS meant an early, horrible death. So, whenever they heard about friends testing positive, they felt pangs of fear.

( M. Spencer Green / Associated Press ) – In this Jan. 5, 2012 photo, Dominic Poteste, left, and Eric Zemanovic pose before taking HIV tests together at the Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago. Testing Together, now under way in Chicago and Atlanta, takes an unusual approach: It encourages gay male couples to get tested together and hear their results together.
.Poteste explained: “There’s always an anxiety that comes with getting tested, even though 99 percent of the time I’ve been safe and been careful, there still is always …” His voice trailed off.

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