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HIV on the rise among RI college students

November 1, 2010

Update- The Department of Health says the number of RI college students diagnosed with acute HIV in the past 6 months is actually 4, not 3.

Brown is not only offering free HIV tests to its students, it’s also instituting a new “opt out” policy where students will automatically get tested for HIV when they visit Brown’s health services for other medical reasons. This is a change from Brown’s “opt in” policy where they asked students if they wanted an HIV test.  Now students must ask not to be tested.

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According to an article in The Brown Daily Herald, three RI college  students have tested positive for acute HIV in the past 6 months.  Acute HIV often occurs 2 to 4 weeks after infection and can resemble the flu.

The BDH quotes Edward Wheeler, the director of Brown’s health services, who says  in general RI has seen a 20 percent rise in HIV infections between men who have sex with men.

Brown University is responding with a presentation by the University’s Health Services and its AIDS program at 7pm tonight.

Brown has also sped up its plans to to offer free and confidential HIV testing. Organizers originally planned to have the testing available next semester, now students can get the tests every Friday afternoon ( by appointment) starting this week.

Go here to see Brown’s letter to the community about its efforts to combat HIV.

I have calls out to Brown University and The Department of Health, so stay tuned for more information.

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