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University offers oral test for HIV

A quick swab of the mouth can tell a person if he or she has HIV.

HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, is the virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, according to Physician-in-Chief Dr. Glenn Egelman.

The OraQuick test, which is the method of testing the University Health Center uses, is conducted by taking an oral swab that tests for antibodies. Students can receive results approximately 30 minutes after the test.

“It’s painless, takes little time and you can get fast results,” Egelman said.

Grad student Lisa Scott said she thinks HIV testing is a good resource for University students to be able to take control of their lifestyle.

“Getting tested is an easy way to ensure you’re physically healthy. It protects your confidentiality and it’s free,” Scott said.

First-year grad student Pamela Klueck agrees the HIV test is beneficial for students.

“People should have access to this service to know about their health and to prevent the spread of HIV,” Klueck said.

It is important for people to find out if they have HIV so they do not infect someone else. If people know they have the virus, they can avoid passing it on to another person, Egelman said.

Explaining the value and importance of students being tested, Egelman said many people have misconceptions about getting the virus.

“HIV is not something you can tell about someone by simply looking at them. Anyone can have the virus and not even know themselves, therefore it is very important to get tested,” Egelman said.

Someone can get HIV by contact with blood, semen, vaginal fluids or breast milk from an infected person. Sharing used needles or syringes and unprotected sex with an infected person puts you at risk for getting the virus. Infected women can pass the virus to their babies during pregnancy and childbirth, according to Egelman.

Egelman explained several myths people have about getting the virus. A person cannot get the virus from contact of an infected person’s sweat, tears, saliva or casual kiss, he said. Also, people cannot become infected from contact with forks, cups, clothes, phones, toilet seats or other things used by someone who is infected with HIV.

Knowing the risks and taking the necessary precautions for not getting the virus is extremely important, Egelman said.

“It’s real, it’s out there and you must take actions to not get it,” he said.

A precaution people can take to avoid contracting HIV is to practice safe sex, which means using a condom and getting tested for HIV, according to Egelman.

If a student does get HIV, however, Egelman said the Student Health Center offers treatment and can direct students to resources they would need.

The health center offers a free and confidential OraQuick Advance Rapid HIV Antibody Test on Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., by appointment only.

Students can schedule an appointment by calling the Wellness Connection at 419- 372-9355.

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