Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923
Danielle Vitek, Crestiad Special
College students must face a world full of challenges such as obtaining high grades, being accepted for who they are, dealing with peer pressure, figuring out the correct career path; they should also be worrying about Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD). Cedar Crest College of Allentown Pennsylvania offered free testing of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) for their students on March 20th 2013.
The free HIV testing was put together to allow students a chance to be honest with themselves and inexpensively check the status of their health. Nancy Roberts, head of the Health Center at Cedar Crest college said approximately 20 students out of the entire student population took advantage of this free opportunity. Roberts also explained that this was a great opportunity for the college as well because the Allentown Health Bureau donated their time, personnel, and all the supplies needed to fund the HIV testing clinic at the college.
Jai Molina a Cedar Crest College nursing student did not attend the free screening but says” I do believe more students should have gotten tested if they have had more than one partner, or have experienced a one night encounter. I believe students that are having unprotected sex should get tested because it can determine a life threatening infection that they will carry for the rest of their lives.” Even though Molina thought this was a great opportunity for Cedar Crest’s students, she merely did not attend this screening because of the lack of advertising. She did not know about it until it was too late because it was only publicized by email.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) supports that maybe the college should have focused on a more equally occurring STD between men and women. The CDC provides information that HIV is more common in men than it is in women. Approximately 24,000 men and only about 8,000 women were infected by HIV in 2011. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1,178,350 Americans are living with HIV; of those, approximately 240,000 are unaware of their HIV-positive status.
Dr. Brian Misanko a biology professor at Cedar Crest College Supports the CDC when he said “I think it was a good choice to test for HIV. Presently, there is no vaccine to prevent HIV nor is there a cure for AIDS. There is an antiretroviral therapy for AIDS that slows down or stops HIV reproduction but the medication must be continued indefinitely. Although many of the other STD’s have vaccines or are curable, preventing the transmission of STD’s is still very important”. The CDC makes an effort to suggest that the more people who are aware of their HIV status the more the virus can be prevented.
The CDC presents that the college student age group was actually not the highest infected group of people. The highest infected age group was actually 45 to 49 years of age even though college students possess the stereotype of being very sexually active. The CDC presents the numbers for 2011 which shows that there were about 2,500 people aged between 20 and 24 infected by the virus. The CDC chart also expressed that people between the ages of 45 to 49, about 5,000 of them were infected by HIV.
The CDC stated that “If you have an STD, get treatment because persons who are infected with STD’s are more likely to acquire HIV infection.” Molina also pointed out that along with testing for HIV; she thinks the college should test for other STDs such as chlamydia because of the STD’s hidden symptoms. Molina’s opinion supports the CDC’s advice of treating the STDs as soon as possible to lower the chance of becoming infected with HIV.
Along with the CDC funding many jurisdictions with HIV testing, Cedar Crest College took a stand with encouraging their students to take control of their health and bodies and to give them a chance to realistically see what their status of HIV was. Even though very few students took advantage of the college’s offer, 20 more people now know their HIV status and can begin to assist the country with prevention of this life threatening virus.