Students, Community Members Now Know HIV Status
CLARKSDALE – Do you know your HIV status?
Nearly 100 Coahoma Community College students and Clarksdale community members can now answer this question thanks to free HIV-testing offered Tuesday, Feb. 4, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the lobby of the Student Affairs Multi-Complex Building on CCC’s campus.
Held in honor of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the event was sponsored by the CCC Student Health Center, the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Center and the Clarksdale-Marks Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
The day wrapped up with a “Rock The Red” Awareness Day Fashion Show from 7 to 9 p.m. in CCC’s Georgia Lewis Theater. Students and community members who were tested earned free admission to the fashion show. Refreshments and other informational pamphlets were also available during the testing event. The testing process was painless, and participants received their confidential results within 20 minutes.
CCC’s Nurse Athsicia Gooden said it’s the first time the college has offered HIV-testing in observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
“We’re giving students the opportunity to get tested if they choose,” said Gooden. “Anybody that has ever had unprotected sex needs to be tested.”
Gooden said HIV could happen to anyone, citing a statistic that every 35 minutes a woman tests positive for HIV in the United States.
“It’s very important to know your status because the earlier you detect it, the greater your chances of survival with treatment,” she said. “HIV/AIDS is no longer the death sentence that it once was. As long as you are compliant with your medication, you can live a long time and lead a good life.”
Aaron E. Henry Community Health Center staff members Mark Vortice, project manager; and Veleria Cozart, case manager-social services; were also on hand to answer questions from participants.
“We’re here at the college because we know that this is some important information to give the students who are now growing up,” said Cozart. “Most people know someone who has been affected by HIV/AIDS. Although they’ve pushed African Americans as being the top infected group, other ethnic groups are at just as much risk.”
Those who missed the event can still learn their status by visiting one of three Aaron E. Henry Community Health Center sites located in Clarksdale, Tunica or Batesville.