By Seferina Limones
Nov. 6 was the final day this fall to receive free HIV/STD testing through Dallas County Health & Human Services at the Brookhaven College campus.
Willie Holland, a 35-year employee of Health & Human Services, is head of the mobile testing unit that travels to each campus. “I enjoy what I do,” Holland said. “I couldn’t ask for a better career.” He was recruited by Dallas County while attending Rice University and said he has never looked back. Holland has been working in the mobile unit for the six years it has been available.
The mobile unit is offered for the convenience of those who want testing but do not have the time to schedule a doctor’s appointment or do not know where to go to be tested. Members of Dallas HHS take the unit to every college campus in the Metroplex each month. Some students said they do not have a problem being tested but do not want others within their personal circles to see them going in or coming out of the unit. Others said because everyone who is sexually active should be tested, they do not see a problem with it.
Larry Arrington, secretarial employee in the mobile unit, said: “Some people are worried about what others think when they come aboard, but they have to see it the way we see it. If you are here, you care about your health. It looks better when your health is important to you than if you don’t take care of yourself because you are worried about being judged.”
The unit includes testing for HIV/AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. Holland said that syphilis is the trending STD for people age 16-25, which is almost parallel to HIV/AIDS trending among people age 14-25.
“In my opinion, your first date with someone should be to the mobile unit, so you can find out your statuses together before having sex,” he said. “What if the guy or girl has something and doesn’t know? They’ll spread it and never know because they were too afraid to take that step.”
The Dallas HHS mobile unit is taken to a new location every day, and the location schedule can be found at www.dallascoun ty.org. People of all ages who are sexually active are encouraged to come and be tested at any of the locations.
On days the unit is on a college campus, the hours are from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., unless otherwise stated online. As with any other testing center, results become available approximately two weeks after testing. There are also rapid results available for HIV and syphilis, depending on the testing location.