OPINION | People should know their status

HIV seems to have gained a stigma in America as a disease that college students aren’t at risk of contracting.

Many people are unwilling to get tested for HIV simply because they think there is no way that they could have it.

I understand that it is very unlikely to contract HIV if you have not had unprotected sex or shared needles.

Let’s be real though,  we all know that protection isn’t 100 percent effective. Even if you are so sure that you do not have HIV, why not get tested anyway?

Instead of spending a night watching television with your friends or sitting in your room being unproductive, take a break and get tested for free here on campus in Health Services at the HRC on Nov. 1, 15 or 29.

Some people are afraid of taking an HIV test in the case that they test positive. This can mean they spend months, even years, worrying about possibly having HIV, when they might not even have it. I know that sometimes people are also afraid of the testing process.

Now, this may be a little harsh, but get over it now.  If you are afraid of something that one day might be the only way to save your life, then now is a perfect time to get past it.

I’m not the person you’ll find running around the hospital in a testing cheerleading uniform, but I also know that sometimes you have to suck it up. In almost every case, it is better to know your status officially than not to know.

If you are diagnosed as HIV negative, your mind will instantly be put at rest, you can stop worrying and move on.

It’s like taking a test that you know you are going to do great on. When you get it back, it still feels really good.

People who are infected, but are unaware of it are not able to take advantage of the medical attention that can keep them healthy and extend their lives, nor do they have the knowledge to protect their current or future partners from becoming infected.

Early medical attention can slow the progress of HIV. The slower the virus spreads, the longer an infected body will be able to ward off the illnesses and life-threatening conditions that often accompany AIDS.

Getting tested for HIV is not a matter of, ‘I don’t need to know.’  If you think there is no possible way you have HIV, then get tested and have proof.

For all college students, asking for proof from your partners is a good step in building trust and empowering your own health.

I am pretty sure that if you have known someone for less than 24 hours that you do not have any basis to trust that person, so if you could see that they were being honest, it would be a step in the right direction to respecting yourself and each other.

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