Free HIV Testing at GSSS


Image of the GSS flier for free HIV Testing. | Photo Credit: Camille Daley

Gender and Sexuality Student Services (GSSS) is an organization dedicated to welcoming all gender and sexual identities equally, as well as educating students on the many identities and ways to support those within the LGBTQIA+ community. When students and individuals enter the GSSS space, they are immediately welcomed with acceptance and reassurance of their identity. This follows just as well into helping support individuals who may worry that they are HIV positive. The goal is ultimately to offer unconditional support and accessibility – and free HIV testing does these very things.

This goal encourages sex positivity and safety as much as possible, and one of the biggest ways is by providing free access to resources that help people be safe sexual partners for others and themselves. There are free condoms, lube, pamphlets on consent, and information on STDs & STIs. This is where HIV testing comes in – one of the best ways to establish yourself as a safe partner is to know your HIV status and keep your sexual partner(s) included in that information. That way, the best next steps can be made towards protected and safe sex.

When it comes to the discussion of HIV/AIDS, there is a seemingly insurmountable degree of stigma surrounding individuals who have tested positive for HIV. From being considered “dirty” or HIV being treated as something that only gay men experience, false and hurtful stigmas can decrease people’s willingness to get tested. GSSS and other institutions offering free testing to students create an opportunity for a shift to be made in the way we view HIV and individuals who have it. In fact, there is a lot that students can learn about HIV from these events, including u=u, meaning that when an individual has undetectable levels of HIV, they cannot pass it to their partner through sexual intercourse. The best way to encourage undetectable levels is through awareness of one’s own HIV status, as well as consistently taking the medication required to lower the HIV levels.

The testing will be continuing until May 10, so there is still time left for students to check their status. For more sex positive events or opportunities, check out the GSSS UIS page, UIS Connection, or email at [email protected] to ask for more information.