HIV/AIDS Awareness Week offers free and confidential testing

HIV/AIDS Awareness week featuring guest speakers in classrooms and free and confidential testing began at Pierce on Monday, March 17 and is hosted by the student Health Center.

The first of two weeks of awareness includes guest speakers from the “Being Alive” series visiting classrooms and discussing their journey with HIV/AIDS, awareness, and prevention.

Professors can book a speaker to come to their classroom and inform students on their battles with the incurable disease.

“Getting the new generation informed is most important,” Loralyn Frederick, the Health Center assistant said.  “We’re still active and trying to find a cure.”

The first week of awareness focuses on the “Being Alive” speaker series, a program that involves lecturers living with AIDS or HIV speaking to students and faculty in an informal classroom setting.

“I already had a speaker last week for one of my classes and I have another one tomorrow,” criminal justice professor Kathy Oborn said.  “We are having a speaker come and speak to our new faculty in April. It is a very important topic.”

Free and confidential HIV/AIDS testing will begin on Monday, March 24 in Parking Lot 1 from 2-7 p.m. and end on Thursday, March 27.  The mobile testing unit anticipates around 50-80 people per day, according to Beth Benne, director of the Health Center.

The testing takes approximately 25 to 30 minutes and results of the testing are given that day.

“They use to have to draw blood and then come in the following week for results,” Benne said.

If students are not available for the free testing, the Health Center regularly provides HIV testing that costs $13 and results will be provided in 24 hours.

“This is so real still,” Benne said.  “Nobody should be afflicted by this horrible disease.”