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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Demand outstrips available HIV tests

    A glass jar of condoms dubbed the Tub of Love were offered to those in attendance Monday night at a Sex Education presentation in the SUMC. The presentation focused on informing the public about the threats of AIDS and HIV for World AIDS Day.
    A glass jar of condoms dubbed the ‘Tub of Love’ were offered to those in attendance Monday night at a Sex Education presentation in the SUMC. The presentation focused on informing the public about the threats of AIDS and HIV for World AIDS Day.

    The Women’s Resource Center and the Social Justice Leadership Center offered free HIV testing on Wednesday. Unfortunately they were only able to accommodate 25 of the 67 people who inquired about the event.

    “”As of right now, we have 42 people that weren’t able to be seen today just because our reservations were filled,”” said Jai Smith, WRC intern. “”Hopefully (for) those individuals, we’re going to be working on getting another event going so that those individuals can be seen as well.””

    The high turnout for this testing session will allow the UA to attempt to make these tests a regular occurrence, Smith said.

    “”Ideally I think (to have free testing) once a month would be a wonderful opportunity,”” Smith said. “”For this kind of programming to go on and hopefully with the groups that did help the programming this time around … we will be able to bring all of those groups together and have a continual program that goes month to month to month doing testing like this on campus,”” he said.

    Tim Malan, a molecular and cellular biology senior, decided to show up to get tested, but he was unaware that the event was by reservation only.

    “”It was not really well-advertised,”” Malan said. “”We heard from a friend and then we had a hard time finding it, and then it seems like a small-run organization. If more people were running it, maybe you would get more people in and maybe you could just show up.””

    While there was a large group of people who were unable to get tested, Smith said it was important that each person was given an extensive amount of information about HIV.

    “”Because we had such a great turnout, there was enough information that was passed back and forth that people are going to be more willing to get tested in the future, and I feel that for those who weren’t tested, we gave them adequate resources so that it sort of demystified it a little bit, so that there is more of a chance that they get tested in the future as well,”” Smith said.

    Shannon Quay, a health and sexuality intern with the WRC, said the convenience of localized testing seemed to be a major contributor toward the high turnout.

    “”People are really enjoying to be able to come (get tested) on campus, rather than have to go somewhere off campus,”” Quay said. “”It has been a really mixed and open group. I think a lot of people are interested in being HIV tested.””

    While it may not happen overnight, Smith said it is definitely a short-term goal to make HIV testing a regular occurrence on the UA campus.

    “”In order to set it (up), it is probably not going to be this semester just because the Pima County Health Department is revamping their specific department which does the mobile testing,”” Smith said. “”I am looking at the beginning of next semester for the actual testing.””

    While it would be ideal to make free testing available once a month, Smith said the details will have to be worked out between the WRC, the Social Justice Leadership Center, the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, the Pima County Health Department, the Student Health Advisory Committee and AIDS SAFE of Tucson, which all helped to put on Wednesday’s event.

    “”We definitely solidified a second testing, or the potential for a second testing,”” Smith said. “”But as far as the once-a-month goes, that is definitely something that needs to be discussed among the different groups that helped co-sponsor this event.””

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