Commentary: STDs affect UNF

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In the past months, students have been hearing the buzz about getting tested and knowing their status for
HIV and AIDS.

The chatter began on campus when UNF kicked off a huge campaign for World AIDS Day Nov. 27, which was a huge success.

Somewhere between 50 and 75 people signed up for HIV testing and received their status that day, and that is a great first step for the UNF community to deal with an international epidemic.

Currently, there are more than 33 million people throughout the world living with HIV or AIDS, and more than 340 million are infected with other STDs, studies show.

And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida recorded the second highest rate of AIDS cases during 2006 – only New York had a higher rate. To hit even closer to home, the Florida Department of Health’s statistics showed Duval County had the sixth highest rate of HIV cases in Florida.

It’s not just HIV, but rather sexually transmitted diseases in general.

Duval County boasts the highest rate of Gonorrhea and the second highest rate of Chlamydia cases, which is the last thing to be proud of. Unfortunately, STDs and HIV are a reality that affects our friends, family and community – even UNF.

Students shouldn’t think UNF has no cases of these life-changing diseases because the truth is one in every four Americans has an STD. This means that in a regular UNF classroom of 30 students, eight of your classmates would have an STD.

The majority of people don’t exhibit signs or symptoms of the disease they are infected with, so they might not even suspect they have a STD.  And it’s estimated that one fourth of those infected with HIV do not even know that they are HIV positive. This is the main, deadly reason a lot of people don’t get tested.

It is time for students to join the efforts and partner with Health Promotion, which is trying to prevent, decline and eliminate HIV and STDs.

The best way to accomplish this is through education and student testing because no student is invincible.

So take the first step: Students are offered anonymous HIV and STD testing at the UNF Medical Center for a laboratory service fee.

E-mail Jonda Jordan at [email protected]