Students will have the chance to get tested for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) at no cost the week following Spring Break. On March 22, staff from Mental Health Mental Retardation of Tarrant County (MHMRTC) will visit the Wesleyan historic campus to provide free HIV testing to students. Testing will also be available on April 26.
The HIV testing services are funded through a government grant called University Prevent. Testing will take place in the Baker Building from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tests are a simple oral swab procedure and will be conducted by staff certified in HIV oral swab testing. Students can learn their results in 20-30 minutes.
Julien Yberra, University Prevent program specialist, said in an email that it is important for students to know their statuses to prevent the spread of HIV.
“Knowing your status can be empowering regardless of the result,” Yberra said.
Yberra said the grant, University Prevent, specifically targets college students. In addition to Texas Wesleyan, University Prevent also tests at University of North Texas, Texas Woman’s University, University of Texas at Arlington, and Tarrant County College.
Currently, University Prevent only tests for HIV but the staff can refer students to other locations if they would like to be tested for other sexually transmitted diseases.
Yberra said if a student is identified HIV positive, another test will be conducted to confirm. This test takes 10-14 days to complete. References and linkage to care will be available to students confirmed HIV positive.
“Early detection is key to staying healthier longer,” Yberra said.
Joe Brown, dean of freshmen success and professor of theatre arts, said he has been HIV positive for 29 years and has spoken to more than three thousand students about how to protect themselves.
Brown said it is important for students to use condoms and get tested for HIV regularly.
“Students need to get real,” Brown said. “If they are sexually active they need to do the testing to make sure everyone’s safe.”
For more tips on prevention and information about HIV visit University Prevent’s website, www.thinkbeforeyousleep.com.