The Well offers free HIV testing on Valentine’s Day

Statistics courtesy of the Virginia Department of Health. Infographic by Hunter Nye.

Michael Pasco
Contributing Writer

Statistics courtesy of the Virginia Department of Health. Infographic by Hunter Nye.

Out of all the at-risk groups in the U.S., college students have the greatest chance at contracting STDs. As a result, many other college universities have started to allow for their students to be tested for STDs, including HIV, at no cost.

Following this trend, on Valentine’s Day, VCU’s Wellness Resource Center will allow students to receive free HIV tests.

HIV tests generally involve a blood test, but tests using saliva or urine are also available.

The Well uses blood tests for their HIV testing.

Normally, The Well offers chlamydia/gonorrhea tests and HIV/syphilis blood tests at $15 each.

Because this is one of the few occasions where that price tag is not a factor, students are encouraged to attend purely for their own sake.

“Students need to trust that they are safe,” said The Well’s director Linda Hancock.

The Well has had HIV testing for about two and a half years but has been testing for other STDs for much longer. This is the first Valentine’s Day HIV test to date.

According to Hancock, event turnouts in the past have fluctuated between 50 to 120 students. The largest turnout has always been on Dec. 1, which is also World AIDS Day.

VCU’s student body is about average in comparison to the rest of the nation when it comes to the prevalence of STDs, Hancock said.

Typically, more women get tested than men do because it is more convenient for females. Women can get tested when they go to have their annual exam, while men generally only go and get tested if their partner asks them to or if they show symptoms, Hancock said.

 

This year’s Valentine’s Day tests will take place between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at The Wellness Resource Center. Any day of the week, students can call the Student Health Clinic (MPC 828-8828 or MCV 828-9220) and make an appointment for STD testing.

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