This is a huge deal. I’m a junior now and when I was a freshman, my favorite student organization – FACE AIDS – almost lost its association with the university for trying to participate in a national campaign “Be Positive You’re Negative” by offering to provide students who wanted to get tested with non-Creighton-affiliated transportation to the nearest testing center off campus.
One of my best friends and a fellow FACE AIDS-er gave a presentation on HIV/AIDS with three other nursing students for their community clinical rotation. Despite being completely censored from using the c-word, condom that is, their presentation was informative and effective in dispelling the most common myths about the virus.
After the presentation, they invited everyone upstairs where the free HIV and STD tests were being given. The environment was super nonjudgmental and welcoming, but one sentiment I kept hearing was, “I don’t need to take this. I only want to see what it’s like.” Even if you are confident that you’re HIV-negative it is good to be familiar with the process and lessen the stigma of getting tested for anyone who isn’t sure. Still, these comments seemed to serve the purpose of distancing the student taking the test from any invisible mark of shame that might be associated with actually needing an HIV test.
Since our FACE AIDS debacle two years ago, I have been meaning to go get tested on my own but never got around to it. I wasn’t worried, but I couldn’t say that I was 100% certain about it either. It feels good to know for sure. Now I know I have a healthy body to take care of, and I want to keep it that way. If everyone at Creighton had taken a free HIV test today, I think students would be more thoughtful about sexual health in general. More importantly, students who might not know that they have the virus could get treatment right away.