Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

HIV: Are you infected?

News(hiv graphic)-rafael gutierrez

The San Antonio AIDS Foundation (SAAF), in collaboration with The Play Campaign and the Alamo Area Resource Center, administered free HIV and Syphilis testing to UTSA students on Jan. 22 at the H-E-B University Center parking lot.

“Students need to be aware that contracting STDs can happen to anyone. This event is good because it is free, fast, and students can get a lot of free stuff,” said Lisete Maldonado, a health educator intern for The Play Campaign.

The students began arriving for the free tests at 10 a.m. Outside the SAAF testing van, an educational table designed by The Play Campaign, had testing registration forms, free condoms, lubricants and information on STDs. Free shirts were distributed in exchange for Facebook likes. The waiting time for the test and results was moderate.

“The thing about STDs is it doesn’t care if you are black, white, hispanic, gay, straight; it doesn’t discriminate. I would advise people to get tested every six months for STDs — especially HIV, depending on how many sex partners you have,” said Derrick Hudson, a health educator and Community Outreach Coordinator for The Play Campaign.

Hudson emphasized the importance of outreach to college students. “Events like this one are helpful, so students know that they can get tested for free. It spreads the word on how easy it is to get tested.”

More students than anticipated came to either get tested or collect free condoms.

One of the students standing in line to get tested was Anthony Gutierrez, an art major.

He had some previous experience with HIV/AIDS awareness when he worked with the city of Los Angeles to create a packet-style brochure with information on HIV/AIDS.

The brochure was distributed to incarceration and medical facilities in downtown Los Angeles.

“I received an email from the UTSA Student Health Services that there was an HIV testing happening on campus today, and I thought it was interesting. We need to be aware and accountable for our adult decisions; so even though I had a testing last year, I think it is good practice to get tested regularly and an encouragement to others to get themselves tested, be safe and responsible.

“I would advise students to get checked at least once a year.”

Recently, the UTSA Institute for Health Disparities Research in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Division of Community Pediatrics received $900,000 from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention for a joint project to prevent and reduce substance abuse and HIV/AIDS transmission among young adults in San Antonio.

The San Antonio AIDS Foundation offers free testing to all San Antonio residents Monday-Thursday at 8:30a.m.-4:00p.m., Fridays at 9 a.m.-1p.m., and Saturdays at 11:00a.m. – 3:00p.m.

They will be on the UTSA campus again to offer free HIV and syphilis testing on February 12, March 26 and April 23 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

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