Getting tested for HIV and other STDs can be very nerve-racking and many people will avoid it out of fear or embarrassment. However, your health should never take a backseat. Roosevelt offers HIV/STD testing for those students who may be nervous to go to the doctor.
This is an annual program that Roosevelt puts on three times a semester. Sep. 27 was the first time this semester, and is scheduled to be followed by two more testing events in October and November. In the spring semester, they will be held in Feb., March and April. The event is put on by the counseling center and the Howard Brown Health Center.
Warren Komis, outreach coordinator for Howard Brown, said that the center has been going around to colleges and helping students through a program called the Broadway Youth Center.
“The Broadway Youth Center provides medical services to people 13-24 who may lack access to healthcare,” Komis said. Also, for anyone who may need further treatment after getting tested at Roosevelt, will be treated by Howard Brown regardless of their ability to pay.
Dr. Leila Ellis-Nelson, staff psychologist and outreach coordinator at Roosevelt, said that having this event on campus allows students to get rid of the stress around not knowing what their status is. Having this event at Roosevelt offers students to get tested with the support of other students and the comfort of the therapy dogs from Lutheran Church Charities, Ellis-Nelson said.
This event was setup to allow students to learn more about their bodies, how they function and how they can effect other people, Ellis-Nelson said. The event stressed getting to know your body better, to promote health and safety and meeting with health professionals on a regular basis.
Kinjal Panchal, advanced extern for the counseling center, said the event is meant to decrease stigmas around what it means to get tested. “Just because you’re getting testing, doesn’t mean that you have something… but the fact that you’re getting it to be safe,” Panchal said. There should be decreased stigmatization around what it means because when it comes to your body “knowledge is power,” Panchal said.
Although, the next HIV/STD free testing event won’t be held for another month, students that may have questions about STDs can call the State of Illinois AIDS/HIV and STD Hotline anonymously at 1-800-243-2437.