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Monday, September 25, 2023


Free campus HIV screening today

University Health Center will administer free HIV screenings to students, faculty and staff from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

Health Center Director Floyd Robinson initiated free HIV testing at UH fifteen years ago when the UH Health Center saw a small number of people getting tested for HIV.

Convinced HIV was on campus, Robinson attributed the lack of involvement to cost and sought permission from UH administration to eliminate the $15 fee.

"My feeling is not that we try to limit those who get tested, but for those who need to get tested, we test them. It is all part of education," Robinson said.

In the midst of advancing technology, the Internet serves as a portal for young men and women to meet, but is unfortunately overrun with chat lines that promote sexual activity, Robinson said.

"We are seeing more HIV in young gay men because it is so easy with the computer system. Chat lines are easy," Robinson said. "Very rarely is the question posed are you HIV positive or HIV negative?"

The Elisa antibody test will be used to determine the results. The test has a 5 percent inaccuracy rate because of the window period of three to six months. Within six months, the body should develop sufficient antibodies for the test to conclude if the antibodies are infected. The test may also return a "false positive" in about 0.0004 to 0.0007 percent of cases in the United States.

Chief Nurse Laura Moore urges people who are sexually active to get tested every six months.

"If you are going to be sexually active, you need to be smart and make sure you are taking precautions," Moore said. "Part of being smart is coming in and getting tested every six months if you are sexually active."

Even though the test is offered at no cost, students who test HIV positive will have to pay $65 for a Western blot confirmation test.

Both the Elisa and the Western blot do not detect viruses. They instead use protein reaction indicators to verify the presence of infected HIV antibodies. The Elisa detects one subset of antibodies, with the Western blot detecting several more through a more comprehensive process, to confirm Elisa positives.

At the onset of HIV, a person may go through night sweats and fatigue similar to the flu. Persons who are sexually active and suffer from tiredness and night sweats should receive testing.

Students can opt to take either anonymous or confidential testing. Anonymous testing does not require a name. Instead, the individual will be assigned a series of numbers. Upon collection of results, records will be shredded and the individual will not receive a copy. Confidential testing, however, requires identification and test results will be attached to medical records at the Health Center.

Based upon the volume of labs, test results should be ready by Monday.

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