Independent Florida Alligator
By Taylor Russell
UF’s pre-health honor society and a local health nonprofit organization are teaming up to host an HIV testing and sexual health awareness event for the first time today.
The WellFlorida Council will be administering free HIV tests, while Alpha Epsilon Delta will spread the word on safe sex from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Reitz Union Lawn.
Students will have the chance to win prizes through Q-and-A games.
Naomi Ardjomand-Kermani, HIV prevention specialist for WellFlorida, said the agency will be administering the OraSure HIV test. Specialists will use a small toothbrush-like instrument to swab mouths, and then students can obtain their results within two weeks.
Ardjomand-Kermani said WellFlorida offers programs for HIV-positive individuals to receive the medical care they need.
UF nursing sophomore Maddie Beeler, who is also a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, said the event is a great way to spread awareness about sexually transmitted infections.
“A lot of people are aware about HIV but don’t take the time to get tested and take care of themselves,” the 19-year-old said.
Other organizations providing sexual health information at the event include Planned Parenthood, UF Women’s Student Association, Chronic Gators, GatorWell and the Pre-Physician Assistant Association.
Allison Villarreal, a UF finance sophomore, said some people are scared to go into a doctor’s office to get tested for HIV.
“This event is great for people who are worried, concerned or just want to be safe about their sexual health,” Villarreal, 20, said.