NAACP Aims to Stop the Stigma


Ariana Lasher/ The Charger Bulletin

Cornell Scott Hill Health Center offered Free HIV testing to students.

On Thursday, Nov. 8, the university’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) hosted their annual free HIV testing event in the Moulton Lounge. HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is the virus that causes AIDS. Health care workers from the Cornell Scott Hill Health Center tested students and educated them about the disease. The Cornell Scott Hill Health Center regularly tests individuals in the greater New Haven County area.

The NAACP hosts the event to promote safe sex and safety on campus.

“We want to bring awareness to the black and brown communities that it is okay to be tested for HIV,” said NAACP chapter president, Arely Parra Lopez. “On a college campus, there is a stigma that if you get tested, you’re dirty. But it’s the opposite because you should be getting tested to make sure you’re being healthy and safe. You are your own priority in college and you have to watch out for yourself.”

A health center employee, Kathleen Pitner, said the test is simple.

“First, we’ll take a sexual history, which consists of how many partners you’ve had and the last time you’ve had unprotected sex,” said Pitner.

After spending a few minutes talking about safe sex and HIV prevention, the student completes a consent form. Next, the health care workers use an Oraquick test.

“We prick your finger, take a little blood, stir it in a solution, and it reads a result in 20 minutes,” said Pitner. “This is not a diagnostic tool. This is a screening tool.”

The test is positive if any antibodies are detected, but a follow-up test is required to determine if the individual has HIV.  

Pitner urges anyone and everyone to get tested. For additional information or if you’d like to get tested, call 203-503-3000 or visit the Cornell Scott Hill Health Center.

“Everyone in their lifetime, no matter how old they are, if you are sexually active, you should get tested regularly,” said Pitner.