TWIN FALLS • College of Southern Idaho students are putting on an event Wednesday with the goal of raising awareness about HIV/AIDS in the community.
The yearly event in recognition of World AIDS Day is scheduled for
11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at CSI’s Taylor Building.
CSI student Tom Hunt, a member of the college’s Community Service Council, said groups hope to increase knowledge of HIV/AIDS and work to prevent it.
“Our goal is to bring awareness to CSI students and the community,” he said.
This year’s theme is “Getting to Zero: Zero New Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS Related Deaths.”
Hunt said the way to reach the goal of no new infections is through education.
The event is sponsored by CSI’s Community Service Council and Wellness Committee, as well as the South Central Public Health District.
SCPHD will offer free, confidential HIV testing for students and community members from noon to 4 p.m.
Program manager Mary Jensen said the district has been involved with the World AIDS Day event at CSI since it started years ago.
In the past, SCPHD set up a table to give out information about HIV/AIDS and where students could get tested. This is the first year it’ll offer testing.
“People should be tested annually,” Jensen said.
That’s based on a recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for those at high risk for HIV infection.
For those who decide to get tested Wednesday, SCPHD will use a rapid HIV test. It’s similar to a pregnancy test but uses blood from a finger stick.
Hunt said there will be a room set aside in the Taylor Building for testing. It takes about 15 minutes to receive test results.
If test results are positive, blood will be drawn from the patient for a second test for confirmation.
In addition to HIV testing, Whitney Holman-Ginder — a board member for the Idaho Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS — is scheduled to speak at noon Wednesday.
She’ll talk about how HIV is transmitted, as well as resources for people who have HIV/AIDS.
“There tends to be a lot of fear and stereotypes about how it’s transmitted,” she said.
Although there’s no cure for AIDS, it can be treated. But Holman-Ginder said people won’t know they’re HIV-positive until they’re tested.
One in five people who are HIV positive aren’t aware they’re living with the virus, according to the CDC.
Early detection can prevent a person from transmitting the virus to others.
And for people living with HIV/AIDS, Holman-Ginder said the earlier they start treatment, the better the results.