Stay safe, get tested regularly for virus

Sarah Cockrell

HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of death among African-American men, higher than heart disease, according to reports made by the Centers for Disease Control in 2005.

The CDC reported African Americans are 13 percent of the U.S. population, but 50 percent of new AIDS cases.

“One in 50 black males have HIV/AIDS,” said Deidre Jones, an intern at the Office of Health Promotion, “One in 160 black females have HIV/AIDS compared to one in 3,000 white women.”

Today is National Black AIDS Awareness Day, and representatives from University Health Services will be handing out information about HIV/AIDS and how you can protect yourself in the Student Center today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Participants have the opportunities to win door prizes and condom kits will be available.

The Office of Health Promotion offers one free HIV/AIDS testing clinic per month. Students may register online or call the health center to schedule an appointment. Signing up a couple weeks in advance is encouraged, as time slots fill up quickly.

HIV/AIDS testing is offered daily at the DeWeese Health Center. The procedure takes less than 15 minutes to complete. It takes about a week to receive the results. In urgent cases, results can be obtained the same day.

Most of the testing on campus is done orally, in which a swab is rubbed along the inside of the cheek. It may also be done by pricking a finger or by drawing blood.

Jones said schools that offer HIV/AIDS testing tend to have lower rates of infection on campus.

“One in every 500 college students are infected with HIV/AIDS,” said Sarah Hallsky, graduate assistant in the Office of Health Promotion. “One percent of Kent State’s students have the disease.”

The one percent of Kent State students are those that self-report. The actual numbers are higher because everyone does not get tested, Hallsky said.

There are no vaccines to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

“Everyone tells you that the best way to prevent getting AIDS is not to have sex,” Hallsky said. “That doesn’t work.”

The CDC’s Web site,, suggests using a latex condom every time you have sexual intercourse. It also says that it is possible to contract the disease from oral sex, but the risk is slightly lower.

HIV/AIDS can be transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk, according to the CDC Web site.

African American males most commonly contract the disease from having sexual intercourse with other males. African American females most commonly get the disease from engaging in heterosexual sex with a male who has had sex with another male, according to the CDC.

It also said that African Americans with HIV/AIDS do not live as long as other races or ethnic groups with the disease.

The best thing to do is to know your status and get tested, Jones said.

“Most people who don’t get tested are afraid of finding out the truth,” said Jones.

Contact on campus medicine reporter Sarah Cockrell at [email protected].