HIV testing increases on campus

HIV testing increases on campus

Amanda DeBerry | Contributing Writer | The Legacy

Published 11/22/2013 – 5:36 P.M.

Free testing for Human Immunodeficiency Virus is provided through LU’s health clinic on the first floor of Spellmann Center, and the clinic has seen a recent increase in testing.

LU’s nurse practitioner Kelly Martin said that testing for HIV is simple. It is a finger stick to obtain a drop of blood that is put on a test strip with a reagent. It takes 15 minutes to get the results.

“We have had a significant increase in HIV testing as a result of the incident involving an LU student,” she said. “I think it is great that individuals are becoming more aware of some of the risks they are taking regarding their sexual practices.”

Martin said HIV is a virus that is transmitted through body fluid to body fluid contact. It is mainly transmitted through sexual activity with an infected individual or through sharing needles with an infected individual.

“At this time the virus is not curable, but it is more manageable today than in previous years. There is continued research on obtaining a cure or preventative vaccine,” she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that one out of two sexually active individuals will get a sexually transmitted disease by the age of 25 and most will not be aware of it.

“The only way to know for sure is to be tested,” Martin said. “It is recommended that sexually active young adults be tested yearly for STDs.”

Martin advised students to be safe.

“Use condoms every time you have sex, be safe, and know your partners.”

The Student Health Center is contracted through SSM Health Care and all patient information is confidential.

“Students feel comfortable coming into the clinic. They never have to tell the student workers why they are coming in and their information is confidential,” said Martin.

There are numerous tests performed in the office, and some testing and other treatments have a cost associated. Students can make appointments for services including HIV testing and well-women exams.

To make an appointment, students may call 636-949-4804 or visit the center prior to 2:30 p.m. to be seen on the same day.

The clinic, located in the first floor of Spellmann Center, is open from 7:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.