Raising Awareness For Return of STD Testing on Campus

By Seferina Limones

Staff Writer

Nov. 6 will be the second of two HIV/AIDS and STD screening days offered by the Dallas County Health Department at Brookhaven College.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fewer than half of people who should be screened actually receive screening, and because of that, there are 19 million new cases of STD infection reported annually. When you break it down, that is 37 people a minute being infected by HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes and other sexually transmitted diseases. Of those people, nearly half of the infected are people under the age of 30.
Professor Gregory Jacobs said he understands how STDs can affect anyone. “Every year I have students that are HIV positive and I have had to give them extensions, at times, because they were in the hospital or were extremely ill,” Jacobs said. “HIV is an equal-opportunity virus. Anyone can get at any time.”
Jacobs previously taught human sexuality at Brookhaven and urged students to be safe. “I always said, if I had a daughter, I would tell her not to let an erect penis within 100 yards of her without a condom,” Jacobs said.
Students throughout the campus seem to side with Jacobs on the importance of testing and safe sex as well.
Freshman student Pedro Herrera said: “I think it’s a good idea and people should take advantage of it because it’s free. I know I am.”
Some students who support testing also see why people would be unlikely to want to be tested in public. Student Abe Alvarado said: “Because it’s at school, other people might see them coming in or out to be tested and that could get them to be scared. It’s still a good idea to do it. It’s free and it should be done.”
Right now, the age ranges with the highest HIV rate are people ages 14-25 and people over the age of 55.
Mildred Kelley, college nurse, mentioned something that may encourage a larger turnout for Nov. 6: “Testing is not just for the students of Brookhaven, it is open to the public as well. Being tested is very important, and the free testing helps those who can’t afford it or simply do not have a physician to go to.”
For anyone wanting to learn more about prevention and the effects of HIV, Brookhaven’s Gay Straight Alliance and the Office of Student Life will hold an HIV/AIDS awareness meeting Nov. 8. Students can contact Chad Price at 972-860-4923 for time and location. Information is also available in the nurse’s office, located next to advising in the S building.