HIV testing returns

Reza Gostar and Kelly Goff

After announcing last month that free HIV testing would no longer be available on the Pierce College campus, the Health Center will once again be offering confidential testing beginning November 13.

In addition to the confidential testing, the speaker’s bureau Being Alive will be returning to campus for an AIDS/HIV Awareness Week that will highlight personal accounts of living with HIV/AIDS.

According to Beth Benne, R.N., this testing does not involve needles and the results will be available in 20 to 30 minutes.

The testing is free and confidential, however it is not anonymous.

“We have a very sexually active population and I think that HIV is a commutable disease and people need to take responsibility, and they do when we provide the services,” said Benne.

109 students were tested last year by the Health Center.

Shelly Halliburton, a Pierce nursing major who is also a former HIV-tester and counselor for the Valley Community Clinic, says,

“You have your window and a lot people are costing us excessive and unneeded money. Due to the fact that they have a six-month window period, and they don’t maintain safe sex during that window period, so we see chronic repeaters testing after three weeks, after four weeks, testing 24 hours after sexual intercourse so and so forth.”

The announcement that testing will continue on campus comes following a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that estimates 252,000 to 312,000 Americans who are infected with HIV are unaware of their infection.

The CDC recommends that all Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested.

Anonymous appointments for HIV testing can be made by calling 818-710-4270.