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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Free HIV testing to continue at Santa Fe

When Jordan Chediak heard there would be free HIV testing at Santa Fe College, he didn’t hesitate to stop by.

After learning in his Human Sexuality and Culture class that the symptoms of the virus can lie dormant in the human body for two to four years, the decision to get tested was obvious, the 22-year-old Sante Fe mechanical engineering student said.

The WellFlorida Council, Inc. offered a free oral HIV swab test, along with condoms and lube, to interested students at Santa Fe on Tuesday afternoon.

Typically the service costs $30, said Dawn Blizzard, a program assistant at the Santa Fe Student Health Care Center, but WellFlorida has been coming monthly since Fall, and will continue to do so, to make it more accessible to students.

“People don’t realize how easy it is to contract HIV,” Chediak said. “Why wouldn’t you do something that’s free and helpful to know?”

Alachua County has the fourth-highest rate of sexually transmitted diseases in Florida, according to Alligator archives. Blizzard said the ranking hasn’t changed much, if at all, and students should take advantage of the service.

“The test is painless,” Blizzard said. “Students have nothing to be scared of.”

Chediak said his results would be ready in a few weeks, and he has to pick up his results in person from WellFlorida.

“Every student should get test- ed,” he said. “You might not even know you have it and could be spreading it.”

Contact Max Chesnes at and follow him on Twitter at @chesnesmax

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