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University of South California Announces Free HIV Testing for Students

From now on, the students enrolled at the University of South California will have their HIV testing done for free, the school announced in a release.

The undergraduate student government (USG) has announced a grant to cover the cost of testing for those students who face financial barriers.

USC undergraduate and graduate students on all insurance plans will be covered under the program. The testing will be provided on campus by USC Student Health at both Engemann and Eric Cohen student health centers.

“For college populations, when it comes to safe sex and healthy relationships, providing care encompasses listening to the patient, addressing needs with both professionalism and compassion, and ensuring that appropriate follow-up care takes place,” said Co-Medical Director Dr. Mildred Wenger.

“Removing financial barriers to testing really amounts to expanding access to medically necessary care—something all of us in clinical care know is a part of creating an ongoing, trusting relationship between providers and patients.”

The recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control puts the number of individuals ages 13–24, diagnosed with HIV infection cases at 22 percent. At USC, only 7 percent of students have undergone HIV testing.

The program is mostly aimed at students in high-risk categories and those on pre-exposure prophylaxis.

“We believe STI and HIV testing are primary health resources that should be easily accessible to all students,” said Trenton Stone, student government president.

“This is an effective way to keep students healthy, stop the spread of disease, and reduce negative stigmas that exist around both sexual activity and sexually-related diseases.”

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