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Anonymous UHS Tests: About Time

By The CRIMSON Staff

In light of the rapid spread and danger of the HIV virus which causes AIDS, we are overjoyed that University Health Services (UHS) will begin anonymous HIV antibody testing next month. It is high time the possibility of going through a sometimes humiliating and terrifying experience without a record being kept of it became a reality. However, we are disappointed that the service is not being offered for free.

The AIDS Education Outreach (AEO) program, in concert with the task force on HIV policies, worked with UHS in an effort to get anonymous testing offered. For this we applaud them sincerely. Since AIDS is still a fatal disease that cannot be cured once the HIV virus is contracted, we want to see everything possible done to help combat its proliferation. Anonymous testing is a very important part of this process because it allows people who want to get tested--but are afraid of who will find out--to do so. Knowing is more than half the battle. Too often, contracting HIV is the result of unsafe and irresponsible behavior that includes not knowing one's own status.

We know that anonymous testing will not solve the AIDS epidemic, but if it encourages one more person who is at risk to get tested, then UHS' decision will have been a success. As of now, the test costs ten dollars. We think the cost of the new service should be waived immediately. For those looking for any reason to avoid getting tested, an extra $10 may be that sought after incentive. There is absolutely no excuse and no reason for discouraging anyone from having an HIV test. It is so important that everyone know their partners, know themselves and act safely. We encourage testing at all costs for those who have participated in unprotected intercourse, used intravenous drugs and even those who have had partners about whose sexual history they know nothing.

Unfortunately, misinformation and pure ignorance still persists in the field of AIDS education. Many still believe that AIDS overwhelmingly is transmitted through homosexual sex, whereas the reality is that "the increase in AIDS incidence has been greatest for women compared to men...and persons infected through heterosexual contact compared to other modes of transmission." Perpetuating the myth that AIDS is a strictly homosexual disease is downright dangerous. We hope that people will be guided by facts instead of misinformed prejudices and pay an unrecorded visit to UHS.

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