The office of Wellness Programming at GGC coordinated a free HIV testing event with the Gwinnett, Newton, Rockdale (GNR) County Health Departments on campus Friday, April 16th. It’s the first time GGC held an HIV testing event this year, with the last one being over a year ago before the college was forced to close because of the pandemic.
Marty Carpenter, HIV Program Manager for the GNR County Health Departments, advises students to get tested regularly. “We definitely recommend everyone get tested at least once a year, and I personally recommended every six months,” Carpenter said.
In addition to free HIV testing, staff provided students with information about other services available to them at the GNR County Health Departments.
“We also offer PREP. If you don’t think you can afford PREP, there is a program where you don’t have to pay for PREP,” Carpenter said.
PREP, or Pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a medication in the form of a daily pill that’s prescribed to lower people’s chances of acquiring HIV.
Laura Calvert, HIV Health Educator with the GNR County Health Departments, also mentioned their HIV take-home testing kits and Condoms by Mail service. “Not everyone has the time or wants to come in to get tested, so you can take a test home with you,” said Calvert.
As for the Condoms by Mail program, Calvert shared her enthusiasm, saying, “We love giving out condoms to the community! If you live in Gwinnett, Newton, or Rockdale County, you can get condoms sent to you. It’s very discreet.”
The GNR County Health Department has a working relationship with GGC, and their services are open to any organization on campus who is interested in holding a health initiative centered around HIV health education.
Katie Buell-Corbridge, Assistant Director of Wellness Programming, is hoping to hold more HIV testing events at GGC, possibly once every month after students return to campus in the fall. Information about HIV testing, PREP, Condoms by Mail, and other health services can be found at GNRhealth.com. Ms. Calvert also welcomes students to reach her with any question they have by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org