HIV testing: What it means for you and the community

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One in five people living with HIV do not know they are infected. When looking at young people ages 13 to 24, that statistic rises to almost three out of five.
For the third year in a row, Community Awareness Resources and Education Services (CARES) Outreach Services is providing free, confidential HIV testing at New College. Tests will be administered in the New College Student Affairs (NCSA) office, which is located in the mailroom in Hamilton Center.
“Everyone should get tested, even people who have never been sexually active before,” NCSA President and thesis-student Cassandra Corrado said. “Getting tested in and of itself is sort of a political act. You’re saying I accept that there is no stigma in getting tested, and I am doing this for myself.”
The test takes 15 minutes. The patient’s finger is pricked with a lancet, and their blood is put into a small testing device. This test checks for reactivity of specific antibodies.
Beforehand, students must fill out a consent form required by the Department of Health, as well as a questionnaire to determine the student’s risk factor.
The entire test is confidential. CARES volunteers cannot disclose information given during the test or the results of the test. However, if the patient tests positive, an additional test must be run for confirmation, and the patient will be contacted by the Department of Health. The test result then remains a part of the patient’s confidential medical record.
CARES Outreach consists of five volunteers. Two volunteers that assist at New College are CEO Michael Kehoe and James Rodgers. Both have been involved with CARES since it began in February 2011.
“It’s the commitment we make to the community,” Kehoe said. “Getting tested benefits the whole community, because just one individual can affect the community.”
HIV testing was moved to the NCSA office in an attempt to make testing more convenient for students. The room is private and was approved by both the state and county.
Kehoe and Rodgers both advocate that everyone should get tested. However, those who are in risk groups are especially encouraged.
On the national level, risk groups include individuals who have anal sex, have used intravenous drugs, have had unprotected sex, are sex workers or are transgender individuals.
“It’s really important for college students to know that they are not immune,” Corrado said.
Information for this article was taken from

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