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October 13, 2013

Joint Blog with a Friend

My very good friend Julian and I, went to an on-campus HIV/STD free testing event (9/27/13). Upon walking into the room, we both just knew it would have been a packed room of individuals curious of their status.  Boy, were we wrong. We could literally count on just two hands how many people were in there just during the time span we were there, which was almost an hour. I can only speak for myself but I was completely disappointed in the turn out. Why the stigma with getting HIV tested? Why weren’t a huge number of individuals there?

Granted, I have no idea how well this event was advertised but in the event that some entity is offering FREE testing, I just feel as though people should come out in numbers. I don’t know about you but I choose free over $60+ any day.  Ok but back to my question, why the stigma? Julian and I discussed going to get tested prior to actually going and for some reason hesitated in doing so. I will be the first to admit, that at first, I was really scared. Scared to know. Scared to have to deal with. I honestly and truly believe that along with the previous listed, people just don’t want to be seen getting tested, but why not??? Please be reminded that this is just my opinion, but I respect an individual for knowing their status versus playing Russian roulette with not only their life and health but with others as well.

By: Julian Cobb

It still blows my mind that people would pass up an opportunity to get tested for FREE.  This generation can stay in tune with the latest music or even spend time scrolling down their Instagram timeline but can’t take a few minutes to partake in something that can dramatically impact their lives. I understand that people may feel intimidated or just scared of not going because they fear what the results might say. I was always taught that fear is nothing but false- evidence- appearing- real.  Going to get tested with a friend, just like I did with Keiara, is a good way to ease that anxiety. It is better to know for yourself than to keep wondering “what if”. Too often people are concerned about what others think of them. Quite frankly, knowing that you got tested might encourage someone else to do the same. Never underestimate the power that resides within you because I guarantee that somebody is watching. The question is what do you want them to see? You taking the initiative to get tested or being passive because of fear? Fear is only what you make it. You have control over your thoughts so choose to be positive and know your status.

Ever since we went to get tested, we’ve truly been playing the waiting game but it has been on my heart and mind that people really hate to talk about HIV/STDs, really don’t want to get tested out of sheer fear. We encourage and challenge you to get tested, know your status, and then encourage others to do the same. I’m very glad that I…we went to get tested. We’re friends. We hold each other accountable.



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In Partnership with: Poole College of Management, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, National Science Foundation, Penn State

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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