Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
This Monday, December 1st was International World AIDS Day, a day to learn and talk about AIDS and how it has affected communities across the globe. This year, the theme of World AIDS Day was “Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation.” Today, 35 million people are living with AIDS worldwide, including 3.2 million children younger than 15 years of age.
In recognition of World AIDS Day, Worth Health Center is offering free confidential rapid oral HIV tests on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week and encouraging students to think about their sexual health. This includes taking time to reflect upon sexist advertising, jokes, phrases, microaggressions, and and anything else that encourages gender inequality or inequality based on sexual orientation.
Beth Kotarski wrote in an email to The Daily Gazette, “We recommend testing because knowing your HIV status is an empowering and healthy practice which enables people to more fully enjoy their sexual experience in a responsible and wholly meaningful way. Knowing HIV and other STD status says you care about your own health and the health of potential partners. Believe it or not, this collective consciousness raising raises the sexual health of a whole community.”
Students are also encouraged to reach out to their Sexual Health Counselors or talk with a nurse practitioner at Worth about their HIV screen, safe sex practices, or any other general questions.
Students who have had unprotected sex (anal, vaginal or oral) are especially encouraged to come to Worth for a test, which can be scheduled by calling in at x8058 to schedule an anonymous appointment. Students will receive a number upon calling and will be asked to present this number at their appointment time.
For students interested in learning more about World AIDS Day and how they can help spread awareness or get involved, see http://www.worldaidsday.org/.
For information on how the US government is addressing AIDS, see http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/onap.
Images courtesy of http://aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/