This year the Williamsburg AIDS Network is conducting free HIV testing at the Student Health Center in a worthwhile effort to help students avoid becoming infected with the virus. As with any disease, the best way to prevent the HIV is to become educated about it. The free testing is anonymous and can help prevent a potentially lethal sexually transmitted disease at the College of William and Mary. This alone should be incentive enough for students to get tested and monitor their health.
The simplicity and anonymity in the process of making appointments of be tested is an asset to the program. Appointments can be made in advance by calling the Student Health Appointment Line and indicating that you would like a WAN screening. Only first names are required to schedule an appointment.
There are a lot of common misconceptions about HIV which seem to frighten people from getting tested. The most advanced form of HIV/AIDS is what we tend to hear more about in society. Many people mistakenly believe that HIV is a death sentence. This is not the case, however, when it is treated properly. Medical treatment can actually prevent the virus from progressing into AIDS, which is why early detection is so important.
Knowledge of HIV status is essential to protecting the vitality and health of your sex life. If you’re thinking about refraining from getting tested either because you’re worried that you’re positive or you simply don’t want to know what your status is, I encourage you to go. Choosing to ignore this valuable resource is much more destructive and risky to personal health than getting tested is.
A healthy sex life is built through trust. Have a conversation with your friends about getting tested. Even more importantly, talk about getting tested with your partner and share the results with them. I would strongly encourage students to do their part to reduce the negative stigma of HIV/AIDS.