By Sophie Lange, Assistant News Editor
On Dec. 7, the Office of Sexual Respect and Title IX held an event for World AIDS Day that offered free HIV and STI testing from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the CUB Ballroom. The testing, which was provided by Family First Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, included rapid HIV testing as well as testing for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.
Title IX Coordinator and Director of Civil Rights Compliance and Education Amanda Blaugher explained that this was the second annual HIV and STI testing event in recognition of World AIDS Day. She noted that students have expressed appreciation for the ability to have free STI testing available on campus, and this is why the Office of Sexual Respect and Title IX offers these opportunities once a semester.
Blaugher said, “We want for our students to be able to access this testing and to raise awareness about STIs and HIV. This year Family First Health and the PA Department of Health expanded their partnership with us for this event and provided additional educational materials for students to be able to learn from while they were waiting for results, or for those who might not [have] wanted to go through the testing.”
Family First Health is a community-centered Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that offers a wide range of services beyond STI testing, including routine health exams, immunizations, family planning and pregnancy care, behavioral health services, substance use services and dental care.
Community health worker for Family First Health Emily Graft said, “It’s important to have that education of how it [STIs] could be spread, whether it be by unprotected sex, or when it comes to HIV, through substance use…Also, when you’re in the college age, a lot of us are still under our parents’ insurance. To have a free, confidential place for someone to go [get tested] and not have the fear of repercussions is very important.”