Free STD testing at FIU for students and non-students

Brigitte Onorato/Contributing Writer

College students are at the prime age for sexually transmitted diseases, and with Miami having one of the highest contraction rates for the human immunodeficiency virus, testing for such diseases is critical. Luckily, FIU wants to help.

Eva Wales, community research coordinator of FIU-BRIDGE, a prevention research institute dedicated to promoting school- and community-based health, urges students to who are sexually active to get tested.

“It is good to be tested every three to six months if you are sexually active,” said Wales.

The testing is federally funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and provided by Union Positiva, a community-based nonprofit organization specialized in HIV/AIDS services in South Florida.

The project offers free and confidential HIV testing at FIU, whether the patient is a student or not. Testing takes place on Mondays through Wednesdays in Academic Health Center 5, room 100W2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There, certified counselors provide free condoms, informational brochures and tips on how to reduce HIV and STDs.

HIV testing normally begins with a blood sample collected from the finger, and results are ready in as little as 20 minutes. Testing for diseases including chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea are done through a urine sample, which takes about two weeks to complete.

Because all tests are confidential, Union Positiva will only contact a patient if the results are positive for a sexually transmitted disease. Staff meet with the individual one-on-one and provide them with a referral to be linked to care.

If students are unsure where to go for resources, pictures of the project’s mascot, Cody the Camel, can be seen all over campus guiding students to AHC5. A camel was originally chosen by the project’s focus groups when testing was offered only on Wednesday, said Wales. The friendly-neighborhood animal represents Hump Day, or the middle of the work week.

An outreach team is also available on campus every Wednesday at the Graham Center or the Chemistry and Physics building, where condoms, flyers and stickers are passed out to inform students of the project.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.

1 Comment on "Free STD testing at FIU for students and non-students"

  1. Is this open during the summer semester?

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