AIDS testing at CSUB

October 5, 2007
CONTACT:
Kathy Miller, 661/654-2456, kmiller26@csub.edu or
Michele Newel, 661/654-2720, mnewell1@csub.edu
 

Black Women On Campus (BWOC) will host an annual AIDS testing day on Oct. 29, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at California State University, Bakersfield's Student Union.

The event's main purpose is to inform the community about AIDS, according to BWOC president Natasha Weatherspoon. Its most important reason for organizing the event, she added, is the fact that college-aged black women have the highest percentage of AIDS and HIV cases.

The event is open to the public and is not limited to age. Each test will take about five minutes and will be done anonymously. Counselors will be on site.

If a test turns out positive, the test taker will be asked to attach his/her name to the result. If he or she does not have insurance, the person will be linked to the proper services.

Miiyoshi Stewart-Young, treasurer of Black Women On Campus, said about the upcoming testing day: "I feel that as college students we feel that we are invincible, and this is an opportunity to make people knowledgeable about their status."

BWOC's mission is to make known to young women of color that college is an option, and that it is achievable.

Black Women On Campus also does community outreach, where members visit under-privileged schools in areas where the organization may be needed.

"Sisterhood, togetherness, and doing things for the greater good are the most valued keywords within the organization," Stewart-Young said.

AIDS is an epidemic in the African American community and it's spreading fast. Black Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population but account for more than 50 percent of all new cases of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. That infection rate is eight times the rate of whites.

According to an ABC-news story in August 2006, almost 70 percent of all newly diagnosed HIV-positive women in the United States are black women. Black women are 23 times more likely to be diagnosed with AIDS than white women, with heterosexual contact being the overwhelming method of infection in black America.

The Kern County Health Department will be on site and all of the testing will be done by blood work with the results ready in a week.

For more information please contact Stewart-Young at mstewart4@runner.csub.edu or at (323) 317-3743 or (661) 654-2275.

BWOC will provide refreshments for people with appointments.

The testing day will be hosted by BWOC in collaboration with the CSUB Health Center and the Kern County Health Department. Provided information and results will be confidential.