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Free screenings lead to better well being

Student Health Services department offers free HIV screenings

Meagan Wright, Reporter

credit feministWhen thinking about one’s personal wellness, knowledge is key and awareness is empowerment. Student Health Services at TWU advocates for students to #KnowYourStatus by offering free HIV screenings and additional personal health resources to all enrolled students throughout the school year.

In the realm of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, better recognized as HIV, knowing one’s status is critical when making healthy choices or participating in risky behavior. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system and destroys cells in the body that fight away disease and infections. In the United Sates, at least two people test positive for HIV every hour of every day, due to its quick spreading character via sexual behavior or drug injection using needles. Statistics also mention that half of all new cases of HIV result between the ages of 15 and 24 years old.

TWU’s Health Promotion Assistant Director Sonia Redwine shared: “Knowing that there are sections of our population who don’t have a regular heath care provider or health insurance, it is still important that they have access to these services.” Redwine also discussed: “The age group [ages 15-24] make up for half of all STD cases…so it is important that we provide the education so that they can make healthy choices.”

Aspects contributing to HIV screening awareness can tie back to having accurate information, accessibility to resources, as well as maintaining reliable resources. Health Promotion at TWU engages students through on-campus health promotion groups such as Promotion and Wellness and Peer Advocates Teaching Health, which work to host health presentations and programs expanding on topics relating to wellness. Redwine shares: “We know that we have students that have a variety of backgrounds and a variety of education, and we want to be able to support their decision however they chose.” Redwine also mentions: “We need to talk about healthy relationships. There’s a lot of different components that come into sexual health and not just ‘Here’s the birth control and condoms, go take them and use them.’”

Student Health Services at TWU have partnered with outside organizations including MHMR of Tarrant County to make it possible to provide screenings free of charge to students through grant funding. Additional organizations in the Denton region providing screenings and testing to students include Health Services of North Texas and the Denton County Health Department clinics.

Clinic services are available to all enrolled students at a reduced cost that favors college-sized budgets. Future HIV screenings through Student Health Services will be held by appointment on April 5 and April 20 from 12-4pm.

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