At a free HIV/AIDs testing event, students rushed to pet John, a labrador retriever therapy dog comforting the students.
Planned Parenthood Generation Action held free a HIV/AIDS testing event in Pugh Hall on Wednesday night. The testing kits were paid for by WellFlorida Council, Inc., said Jasmine Haddaway, the lead organizer of Planned Parenthood Generation Action. About 100 students attended the event and 26 students were tested, Haddaway said. The regular cost of the HIV/AIDS test from WellFlorida is $14.53, she said.
Other groups including UF Student Government Cabinet, Black Student Union, the Bob Graham Center for Public Service, LGBTQ Affairs, Multicultural Affairs, Health Affairs, Asian American Student Union, GatorWell and Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity, Inc. co-sponsored the event.
“We thought it would be a great to get students proactive and engaged in taking charge of their health and well-being,” the 21-year-old said. “We wanted to make sure that students felt comfortable coming to us.”
In addition to the free test, attendees got to visit the health and wellness organization fair in the same room, where there was a therapy dog and informational booths. Haddaway said the fair was an opportunity for students to see what organizations are working on HIV/AIDS prevention.
“The fair is for people who are statistically more targeted for HIV and AIDS to feel like they have a support system here on campus and a community that they can go to to be empowered about their health,” Haddaway, a UF international studies senior, said.
Samuel Stall, 20, said he thinks WellFlorida should give free tests every other month to help those who don’t want to make appointments.
“This makes it so much easier for the people who don’t care about being too private about their testing,” the UF computer science junior said. “This is the first time I’ve heard of this happening. This should be a regular event.”