Student Association President Lamar Thorpe announced Tuesday night that the University would begin offering free HIV testing through Student Health Services, an initiative many students in the SA have been pursuing over the last three years.
“We must collaborate to protect the sexual and physical health of GW students,” said Thorpe, a senior, in his State of the SA address Tuesday night in the Marvin Center.
Although students will no longer have to pay the $40 previously required for HIV testing by Student Health Services, they will still have to pay the $20 office fee beginning Oct. 20 when the free testing starts.
All screenings must be scheduled in advance, and Student Health Services is encouraging all students to be tested unless they have already been tested within the past six months, said Susan Haney, clinical program coordinator for SHS.
For several years, GW students have been pushing for free sexual transmitted disease testing. SHS has been unable to provide free testing on a continual basis.
According to Haney, the free HIV testing at GW is part of a broader program funded by the District of Columbia Health Department, which provides free HIV testing at several other locations throughout the District.
“We are very pleased that this is happening,” Haney said. “I hope it will encourage more people to be tested.”
Over the summer, the city launched a citywide HIV testing campaign in response to reports that the District has the highest rate of new AIDS cases of any major U.S. city.