Nearly 100 Students get tested for HIV/STDs

Area health organizations provided students the opportunity to get tested for HIV/STDs before they head off for their spring break destinations, earlier this week.

“We did this to let students know their status before leaving for spring break,” said Jason Wheat, with the city of Wichita Falls HIV preventive services program manager. “We originally wanted to do it during Safe Spring Break, but we were unable to both at the same time”

The organizations come to let students know their current status on whether or not they’re clean at the moment. Wheat said it’s important for students to know their status before they leave to a place full of people they don’t know, especially if they are going to participate in sexual activity.

“We do it every year, and try to come once a semester,” Wheat said. “We do it often, because every year we end up with a positive result in the college age range.”

He said he wants students to be aware that there are people who test positive on campus for HIV and AIDs, and where a person won’t know who that particular person is, it’s important for them to remain safe.

“We’re giving out free condoms to people who test,” Wheat said. “This is to ensure that students protect themselves against any STDs or HIV.”

The organization is aware that students will be sexually active during spring break and by giving out condoms they’re giving students the opportunity to remain safe when making the decision to have sex.

“The importance of getting tested is to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases,” said Kasau Gomes, marketing freshman. “Also if you get a partner you can be completely honest with them before doing anything.”

Gomes said people do crazy things during spring break, like getting drunk and doing stupid things, which can lead to sexual activities with a stranger.

“Abstinence is the best way to prevent getting HIV or and STD and remain safe, but if you feel the need or want to have sex, use condoms,” Gomes said.

She said condoms were made to protect people from diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

“If I had to say anything to someone about staying safe, I’d basically tell them to think about their future, and why you’re in college. Too many diseases happen when students get caught up in the moment of having fun,” Wheat said.

He said it’s important for students to think about the long term consequences that can happen from one night of fun, and he hopes this program will help students be more aware of the decisions they make during spring break.

“In the past the screening events were a lot bigger. Especially when I was an undergrad, but over the years the idea of getting tested started to die down,” said Cindy Onyekwere, community service and volunteer support manager. “We had good success with the program this year.”

Number of Tests
Past: 75-150 total tests
This year: 15-30 on Tuesday and 50-75 on Wednesday