Check Yourself

By now I am sure you are all aware about the rumor that JMU had an outbreak of HIV/AIDS. The University issued a statement that these allegations are false, however, students are still on edge about contracting HIV.

HIV, medically known as Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a sexually transmitted disease that is commonly known. This can transform into immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS if it is not treated properly. There is currently no cure for HIV, however, if it is caught early enough it can be controlled.

In order to control HIV, people should get STD tested regularly and pay attention to signs. Some people have signs two to four weeks after getting an infection. These signs are similar to flu-like symptoms. However, some people do not have signs until it is too late. If someone is not tested regularly and contracts HIV and does not take treatment, the average survival rate is three years.

Around the globe, but especially in America, there is a huge, negative stigma around HIV/AIDS. When most people meet someone with HIV/AIDS they often already have a preconceived notion of him or her that they will pass it along to them. People are quick to judge someone based off of their condition.

Often doctors, nurses, therapists, and other health care professionals will refuse providing treatment to someone with HIV.

By excluding people with HIV it can create emotional trauma and negatively affect their self-image. If HIV is caught early then, someone can live a happy, healthily life. It is important not to negatively view someone based on a disease because it makes them insecure to talk about or possibly get tested because they do not want it to be confirmed.  

As a cultural norm, society should break down that barrier of discriminating people with HIV/AIDS.


It is hypocritical for someone to let one thing negatively impact their perception of them. It is 2019, we are intersectional people! One thing does not define us, so why should we let one thing define people with HIV?

When the rumor spread about HIV spreading, and it possibly being linked to one fraternity on campus all students went crazy. All of my group chats were warning me about going to that frat because I may get an STD.

When I heard this information, I was surprised, but looking at it now I was so stupid to let this affect my opinion. This rumor just does not add up, how one organization spread HIV across the entire campus??? Also, this should not reflect that organization as a whole even if it was true.

When being sexually active it is always important to be safe. This will help with contracting STDs, sexually transmitted diseases, but it is important to regularly get STD tested. The CDC recommends people who are sexually active and unsafe be tested yearly.

JMU does a good job about making STD tests accessible. Students are able to get tested at the University Health Center (UHC), and the students just have to pay for the test. UHC also holds STD testing clinics periodically too which are free.

Photo via CDC

It is important to be on top of your sexual hygiene because if STDs are caught early then they can be treated or maintained. If STDs are not caught early, then it can lead to deeper problems and possibly death.

Talking about sexual hygiene is important because it saves lives, literally! Often, people are embarrassed to get STD tested, but they shouldn’t be! It is worse to not get tested and not be aware of whether or not you are clean.

By making it more socially acceptable to talk about, we are breaking the stigma around STDs and HIV/AIDS. So, do not be embarrassed to talk about it! Most people are experiencing the same dilemma and problems you are! Talk about it rather than keep it in and make it more socially acceptable!

Featured image from Planned Parenthood


2 thoughts on “Check Yourself

  1. Thank you for speaking about this because stigmatizing people’s situations or conditions in today’s world is far too prominent. Getting STD tested is so important and so is staying healthy. I think this also addresses the issue we all have with believing everything we see through social media, there was no proof just someone saying it with no justification! Very glad you and JMU addressed such an problematic situation.


  2. I love what you said about why you let it affect your opinion on an organization. Reflecting and criticizing ourselves and our actions is hard to do! You are right though, this disease does not define someone nor an entire organization. We should not isolate people who may have this disease, but support them when they need it most. Coming to college a virgin, I was pretty unaware of how important STD testing and asking those uncomfortable questions to partners are. After being with someone, I now realize how we as a community and peers have worked to make those uncomfortable questions…not uncomfortable anymore! It is a norm that is now instilled in college life to protect one another! We are making progress but still have a long way to go.


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