Thursday, May 14, 2009

Over 200 turn out for HIV/AIDS testing

by Allison Herman

Ohio University's Health Promotions office is helping to get out the word about HIV and AIDS by offering free, anonymous testing. Over 200 OU students, faculty, and administration turned out to get tested for HIV/AIDS Wednesday. However, just because the testing was free of charge, that does not mean the tests themselves were free. Each cheek swab costs about $100. Tammy Norway, an intern with Health Promotions, says the money to do testing like this comes from the Ohio Department of Health. For this event alone, the testing cost over $200,000.

Tammy Norway explains how the tests end up at Ohio University.

Ideally, OU Health Promotions would like to do this testing during HIV/AIDS Awareness month, but it is during the summer month of June, when college students are gone on summer vacation. Regardless of the time of the year, Norway says getting out the information is extremely important.

Tammy Norway says events like this are important, especially for
college students.

For OU Freshman Allison Maloney, getting tested was a no-brainer. However, she chose to go the confidential route instead of anonymous. Anonymous testing means your name is never used, you are only referred to as a number. With confidential, your name is used on official documents and would be visible to doctors and insurance companies.

Allison Maloney explains why getting tested is important to her.

The cheek swabs are 98.6% accurate, and even though they run $100 a swab, they
are a much cheaper and quicker alternative to blood tests.
Other testing sites around Athens include Hudson Health Center and Planned Parenthood.

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