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UNF HIV testing options

Alexandra Torres-Perez

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We are all aware of the dangers of STDs, but often times high school health classes don’t stress the importance of getting tested. One in seven people don’t know they are infected with HIV according to HIV.gov, and the CDC says at least one in three Americans who do test positive are tested too late to get full treatment.

People who are 18-24 are least likely to be tested for HIV, but students had the opportunity to be tested for free at Market Day  in honor of World AIDS Day, which is on Dec. 1. In addition, the school offers several opportunities for students to be tested for free throughout the year.

The Department of Health Promotion offers free and anonymous HIV testing for students by appointment, so all students have to do is call their office to schedule it. They give students an oral HIV test, and they will have to wait two weeks for their results.

Student Health Services also provide students with a blood test to screen for HIV and other STDs as well. The test is confidential, though unlike the test from Health Promotions, $18. Students usually receive their results in a week.

If you don’t want to wait for your results, the LGBT Center also holds a confidential rapid testing event on the last Wednesday of every month, where you can find out if you are HIV positive in a matter of minutes. Students can also be tested for other STDs like Hepatitis C and Syphilis at these events.

According to the LGBT Center, the number of students that go to these event can be as few as five, but as many as thirty. Student Health Services also stated they sent off 85 tests from Dec. 2016 to Nov. 2017. That’s around eight students per month when there are over 16,000 on campus.

It’s important for UNF students to get tested, especially since Florida has one of the highest infection rates for HIV. The truth is HIV is preventable, but people need to be aware of their status.

“If we get people tested for HIV, we get them into care,” Phil Wilson from the Black AIDS Institute said in a video talking about the importance of getting tested. “We get them on treatment, we keep them on treatment. We suppress the viral load. We are able to reduce HIV transmission by up to 96 percent.”

The CDC recommends everyone should be tested at least once a year, but you might want to be tested more frequently if you have sex often with several people.

For a look at testing options for other STDs and which ones are most common on campus, check out our guide to UNF STDs.

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