HopeHealth gives students free STD tests

Men and women visited HopeHealth’s free STD testing event in the housing of ce on Nov. 19.

Medical professionals met with students and tested them for diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. The Resident Student Association (RSA) and HopeHealth offered refreshments and informational pamphlets in the Community Center.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services pamphlet that was distributed at the event, 72,000 people were diagnosed with one type of Hepatitis in 2010 alone. In South Carolina, HopeHealth recorded that 3,092 people were living with HIV or AIDS at the end of 2014.

While students waited to be tested, RSA held a trivia contest in the waiting room. There were two teams of students, and members of RSA asked questions. For each round, the representative for the winning team won a prize. The prizes included a daily planner, a keychain, a cup and a wallet, all with FMU’s logo. The questions were about STD awareness.

One of the trivia questions was, “What was AIDS referred to before 1982?” From the four multiple-choice answers given, the correct answer was GRID. Before 1982, AIDS was known as Gay- Related Immune Deficiency because studies on AIDS were not advanced yet, and homosexuality was believed to be the cause of the disease. By 1982, enough research was done to show that AIDS was not directly related to homosexuality and could actually be contracted through means other than sexual intercourse.

According to HopeHealth’s educational pamphlet on HIV, the disease can be spread through semen, blood, vaginal fluid and breast milk. Sex can spread HIV, but sharing needles and syringes can spread it as well.

Freshman pre-nursing major Destinee Woods helped RSA give out refreshments and informational booklets at the event. She said she believes that being tested is important, and raising awareness is crucial for college students.

“This event is to get students aware of what’s going on, for students to nd out if they have HIV and to encourage people to think about their actions and be aware of their health,” Woods said. “Students sometimes have multiple partners, and this is how they can be aware if they are spreading it or getting it from someone else.”

Woods suggested ways that HopeHealth and the Student Health Center might increase awareness for their STD testing program.

“Instead of only having one lecture to start the event, they could do multiple ones throughout the day so that students can get informed,” Woods said. “Another thing they could do is send out emails to keep students aware of these opportunities to get tested.”

During the test, a medical professional asks the patient questions about his or her history of sexual intercourse. They prick the student’s nger and take a sample of blood to test for common STDs. While the student waits, prevention methods are explained along with the ways of spreading STDs. Later, the student receives the results from the test. If the results come back positive, showing that the student has contracted an STD, they can speak to the medical professionals at the Student Health Center or their personal doctor.

HopeHealth and the Student Health Center encouraged students to get tested for STDs at the campus facility or with their personal doctors.