HIV tests to be given free

By Melissa Prentice

Arizona Daily Wildcat

If you are sexually active, you should be concerned about HIV and AIDS, according to organizers of anonymous testing on campus.

Jeff Sanchez, an art history senior, has organized free and anonymous HIV testing to be held in the Women's Resource Center this Wednesday.

Sanchez ran for the Associated Students' Undergraduate Senate in 1993 on a platform that included providing anonymous HIV testing on campus and although he was not elected, he has continued to work on the project.

"During a mini-course at Yavapai College a man with AIDS spoke to us and I realized the ignorance other people had about the disease and what he would have to overcome for a disease that would eventually kill him," Sanchez said. "I thought moving to the UA and a bigger community would be different, but people remain ignorant about AIDS. I want to help open people's minds and make people aware they need to be tested.

"According to the World Health Organization, 85 percent of the people who are contracting AIDS are contracting the disease through heterosexual sex and people don't know that," he said. "People think they are not at risk and continue to play games with their lives."

The Pima County Health Department will administer the tests Wednesday from 12:30-3:30 p.m. The test takes about 10 minutes.

The testing is anonymous and only the person being tested will be given the results, although the state must keep count of positive result statistics. In contrast, positive results and the personal information of "confidential" tests must be reported to the state.

During the testing, participants will be counseled about how to have safer sex, what constitutes risky behavior and how to prevent contracting the disease, Sanchez said.

Christina Rossetti, Tucson AIDS Project director of programs, said she supports the idea of providing anonymous testing on campus because many students are at risk.

"Many people participate in high risk behavior like not using condoms or not talking to their partner about past relationships," she said. "Anyone who has done these behaviors now or in the past may want to be tested.

"Now more than ever there is something

you can do (if you test positive)," she said. "There is a network of support in the community, both emotional and medical."

Sanchez said he plans to offer testing once a month at different centers on campus. Probable locations include the Residence Hall Association, MEChA and the Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Association centers.

Read Next Article