UF groups collaborate to host free HIV testing event on campus

February 7, 2014




Independent Florida Alligator
Robyn Smith, Alligator Contributing Writer

One-sixth of people infected with HIV don’t know they have it, but UF organizations are working together to make sure Gators don’t become a statistic.

The UF Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures, the Institute of Black Culture, LGBT Affairs and WellFlorida Council are hosting free HIV testing today.

It will run from noon to 2 p.m. at La Casita, 1504 W. University Ave.

Testing is free for all UF students, faculty and staff with Gator 1 Cards.

Austin Sanchez, a 19-year-old UF finance sophomore, said he is getting tested even though he does not think he has HIV.

“It’s just knowing that you’re clean,” Sanchez said. “I guess you always just suspect that you don’t have to worry about it, but in the back of my mind, I just wanted to know.”

He said when males get tested for HIV, it is automatically assumed that they are gay or intravenous drug users.

“There is a lot of stigma,” Sanchez said. “If you say you’re going to get tested for HIV, everybody kind of looks at you a different way.”

Iain Randall, a UF linguistics junior and junior ambassador for LGBT Affairs, recommended everyone get tested for HIV.

He said test results are confidential and are usually available in about two weeks.

“Everyone should know their status and also be empowered to know their sexual health,” Randall said. “People can have more conversations about sexual health and talk with their sexual partners about it.”

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