Free HIV testing helps increase STD awareness

In an event we hope to see repeated regularly, free and anonymous HIV tests were provided on campus Nov. 30.

The availability of free testing is a great idea, especially for a college campus like UK, where many sexually active students might be unaware of how high the risk of coming into contact with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases actually is.

A study done by the University of North Carolina showed that about half of all sexually active college-age students will contract some type of STD or infection. With such a large chance of encountering an STD, being able to go and get tested for a serious virus like HIV free of cost is a necessity for students unaware of potential dangers.

Along with the option of being tested for HIV, the Kentucky AIDS Education Training Center, in collaboration with other local organizations, also provided free condoms to anyone who wanted them.

Offering condoms to students is a great way to promote safe-sex practices on campus and increase awareness about the risk that STDs pose. UK should strive to make events like this a regular occurrence in its efforts to increase understanding about the potential dangers of unsafe sex.

Everyone at UK should take advantage of opportunities to get tested and pursue more information about risks that STDs pose. Although free condoms are useful, there is more one can do to protect oneself from potential risks of a sexually active lifestyle. Getting tested and practicing safe, responsible sex will decrease the risk students have of contracting or spreading dangerous diseases.

Many students will be exposed to HIV without even knowing it. Taking advantage of a free HIV test is an opportunity that could save lives — those of both the students who take the tests and their sexual partners.

“We hope to let people come out and get tested and be informed, because that is so much how the disease is spread, people not knowing they are infected,” said Jennifer Edwards, program coordinator for the training center, in a Nov. 30 Kernel article.

Opportunities like this one are important to educating students about safe sex. Giving students the chance to receive a free and anonymous HIV test is a benefit to many, and all those involved should be commended for their efforts.