Free and anonymous HIV testing protects students

The Student Health Center located on the west side of campus directly across the Zinfandel Residence Halls recently held a free and anonymous HIV testing for all students encompassing Sonoma State campus. The event was on Dec. 4 from 12:00 - 4:00 p.m. with the hopes and intentions to bring a large number of students to come and get tested. 

With being located on a college campus, the Student Health Center knew with the year wrapping up it would be smart for Seawolves to come in and make sure they are healthy going into the holiday season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Youth aged 13 to 24 made up 21% of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States.” With many students attending Sonoma State within the age range, HIV is a disease that can happen to anyone, especially on a college campus. 

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. If the virus is not treated properly, it can lead to AIDS. When pertaining to HIV, it is unlike any other virus. When one is diagnosed with HIV, they will carry that virus for the rest of their lives. One can receive treatment, which will help avoid developing other viruses as well as helping one stay as healthy as possible while having HIV. 

According to HIV.org, “The medicine used to treat HIV is called antiretroviral therapy or ART. If taken the right way, every day, ths medicine can dramatically prolong the lives of many people infected with HIV, keep them healthy, and greatly lower their chance of infecting others.” If the infection is caught immediately and treated properly, it can help keep more people healthier and live longer lives.

With the Student Health Center being knowledgeable of all that can occur while having HIV, they wanted to make it easier and more comfortable for students to come in and get tested. All information and testing that is done at the Student Health Center is confidential and only discussed with the patient that comes in to get tested. 

According to Baylie Sheroski, a Junior Kinesiology Major, “The Student Health Center has been a good resource for me to use, they are so helpful there as well as being really nice, and everytime I go there they make sure to get me in or find a date that I can come in and meet with someone.” With students having positive experiences like Sheroski, it brings hope that more students will share the same experience and go to the center when they need to have check-ups or get tested. 

HIV testing is usually not free, but with the help of Face to Face of Sonoma County, the Student Health Center held this event and made every test free for students on this day. 

Face to Face wants to make sure that Seawolves are getting the testing they need. According to F2F.org, “13 percent of people living with HIV do not know they have it, and are responsible for most new infections.” Through this statistic, the Student Health Center and Face to Face teamed up to try and lower the 13 percent of people that are continuing HIV. Seawolves were able to walk in and get tested with results available within 20 minutes. The tests were given with no needles. 

The free and anonymous HIV testing was implemented by the Student Health Center and Face to Face with the hopes to lower the number of those unknowingly affected. The motive being to assure that Seawolves are getting the help and testing they need to make sure their health is watched and taken care of if need be.