Students get themselves tested

Alex Palmieri – News Writer

Students at Southern were allowed to walk in to Granoff Health Services and get themselves tested for any kind of diseases or HIV.

The event was called Get Yourself Tested (GYT). Students simply had to fill out an application, hand it into the front desk, and await their name to be called. Once their name was called, students were taken in to get tested.

“This is actually the first GYT where we have HIV included,” said Jazmynn Jakubczyk, graduate intern for the wellness center. “So usually students can come in for GYT, and they’d only be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea. But we have two dates this semester (including today) where they can get tested for HIV.”

Jakubczyk said a lot of people ask for HIV testing, hence the reason why it was offered. GYT offered testing for STDs, HIV and PREP counseling. Jakubczyk said the first time Southern had the GYT testing, there were roughly 60 people. The second time around, she said she expected the same amount.

“The reason why we test for chlamydia and gonorrhea,” said Jakubczyk, “is because those are the most seen STDs on campus. Everyone wants to get tested; it’s nice to know; I think that’s why we do it. It’s nice to just be aware of your health.”

Jakubczyk said if somebody does test positive for sexually transmitted infections, the students will get a call within 10 days with the results. She added that students will get a call and set up an appointment to talk about the results and the possible treatment. They also do the treatment at Southern.

Layne Gianakos, the PREP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) services coordinator at AIDS Project New Haven, said a big part of the HIV testing was getting people to know it is a necessary thing that students should do.

“It’s a very simple, quick, easy test,” said Gianakos. “It only takes 20 minutes and it’s just a finger prick.”

PREP, Gianakos said, is a new way to prevent HIV. He was at the event to give awareness about that, as well as to remove some of the stigma behaviors that might put a person at risk for HIV.

“PREP is a way to prevent HIV,” said Gianakos. “So it’s actually a medication you take every day; it’s a pill, and it will prevent you from getting HIV. It’s over 96 percent effective; it’s very well tolerated; it’s very safe. So we help people access it.”

Gianakos said this was the first time that the AIDS Project New Haven did this. He said in the past, they have tested at Yale events, but took a hiatus from that for a while. They do testing in the community though, including health fairs.

“We’ve done testing at New Haven Pride,” said Gianakos. “We also go into some of the local bars and we’ll offer testing there.”

As far as just the HIV results, Gianakos said the results are given within 20 minutes. He said to find results of other STIs takes longer. Gianakos added that he wants to know and be able to identity people who have anything that is infectious, so it does not spread and those students can be the healthiest they can be.

“As you know,” said Gianakos, “HIV is something if you have it, you always have it. But you can be very, very healthy with HIV. So if we can identify the people that have it, then we can get them into treatment as soon as possible.”

Photo Credit: Alex Palmieri

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