Letter to the Editor

World AIDS Day should prompt students, community members to get tested

This coming weekend we celebrate World AIDS Day, Dec. 1. This disease affects millions of people across the world even in Syracuse.

According to the New York State HIV/AIDS Surveillance Annual Report in 2010, there were 1,752 reported cases of persons living with HIV or AIDS in several counties within the Central New York region, including Syracuse. This number indicates more can be done, and here’s what we’ve done and will do to decrease this number.

Under the Affordable Care Act, millions more people will be eligible for health insurance and HIV care. Services such as counseling and screenings for HIV infection for all sexually active men and women will be fully covered through their insurers. This means insurers would have to cover HIV screenings without co-pays. The best way to prevent the spread of HIV is to get tested routinely, and it’s even better when these critical services are offered at no extra out-of-pocket cost.

Reproductive health care providers, including Planned Parenthood health centers, will play a large role in translating these new requirements into expanded access to health care for people across the country. Here at the Syracuse University Health Center, students qualify for a free HIV test once a year (regardless if you are insured or not). Both health centers are working hard to reduce the high rates of sexually transmitted infections through education and screenings — in an effort to create the healthiest generation ever. Regardless of where you receive services, they should be affordable and of quality.

So remember on Dec. 1 we are celebrating the lives of those who are still with us and the lives of those we’ve lost, but most of all we are standing up against this disease. With your commitment to sex education, we can and will defeat HIV/AIDS.

To set up an appointment for testing, visit the Planned Parenthood Syracuse office today or call at 1-866-600-6886. Or call the Syracuse University Health Center at 315-443-9005.

Erin Carhart
Class of 2014
Co-president, Students Advocating Sexual Safety and Empowerment

 

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