Florida A&M University is now providing rapid HIV testing, which was implemented by the Student Health Services department in May.
Wendie Jose, a FAMU nursing student from Ft. Lauderdale is happy for the quick turn around, and believes that the rapid testing is great for students.
“I know a lot of people get anxious from waiting even though they know they are ok,” said Jose.
According to the Centers for Disease and Control more than 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and almost 1 in 7 (14%) are unaware that they have been infected.
In Florida, approximately 6,019 HIV infection cases were reported in 2014.
Data Source: Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. Leon County, Florida Health Profile
Leon County Health Department HIV & AIDS section supervisor, Dale Harrison says the advancement of the test provides the same validity as older testing methods.
“It’s just more accurate and gives a quicker response time to anyone being tested,” said Harrison.
The clinic at FAMU, provides results in 20 minutes unlike previous testing that required waiting several days or weeks to receive results.
The FAMU clinic is state funded, which enables testing to be provided to anyone who walks through the door. No appointment is needed.
Clinician Randy Henley is one of the three certified technicians who administers the tests and encourages people in the community to know their status.
“There is no way to know except to know, that means get tested,” said Henley.
By the fall of 2015 all FAMU staff clinicians will be certified to provide the rapid HIV test.
If you receive a reactive test result, which indicates that HIV is in your blood stream, a confirmatory test will be done to ensure no mistakes were made.
Partner notification is offered by the clinic or the individual can opt for a state agency to conduct it for them.
Henley says the clinicians at FAMU get involved with locating the infected individuals past partners from detailed descriptions of the person or persons they were sexually active with.
The testing is administered daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the summer.
Starting in fall of 2015, late night testing will be available on Tuesday’s from 5-7 p.m. in the clinic and on Thursday’s from 5-7 p.m. in FAMU’s Recreation Center upstairs in the Cardio Bridge.