It must be Magic. Basketball star Magic Johnson's stunning announcement last week that he has the virus that causes AIDS has kept phones ringing at health offices throughout the University. And at the Student Awareness of Safer Sex Supplies office, which sells birth control devices for students, sales have increased since Johnson's disclosure, according to SASSS Administrative Assistant Rita Ricks. "We were bombarded the first day with a lot of students asking questions and wanting to be tested," said Ricks. "We've had a definite step up in inquiries." And Student Health Director MarJeanne Collins said Johnson's frank disclosure that he has tested positive for the HIV-virus has raised questions in many students' minds. "There's no question that having someone like Magic Johnson standing up and saying, 'I'm HIV-positive,' shook a lot of people up," Collins said. Student Health is continuing to offer AIDS testing for students, but the testing process is classified as "confidential" rather than "anonymous." "Confidential" means that the results are only accessible if the patient signs a release form. But the records would be required if a person wants to take out any insurance policy. "Anonymous" testing means that the blood sample is coded so that there is no way to determine the identity of the patient. Sexual Health Educator Kate Webster suggested that if students want to be tested and are concerned over their privacy, they may be better off being tested at off-campus testing sites. Collins said Student Health does not do anonymous testing because it would run counter to the principles of a health care center, which are to treat any illness. "The reason we don't do anonymous testing is because we want to be able to give care to the patient if he tests positive [for HIV]," Collins said. Webster, who is currently organizing events for International AIDS Awareness Day on December 2, said that she hopes something enduring will come out of the increasing attention the AIDS virus has been receiving. "I'm not happy Magic Johnson has the infection, but he's certainly given us a change in perspective," Webster said. "Whether this scare will make [students] use safer sex, only time will tell." Webster said it is important for students to actively protect themselves from getting AIDS. "If students think that there is no HIV virus on campus, they are sadly mistaken," Webster said. As coordinator of Facilitating Learning About Sexual Health, Webster has been working to promote AIDS awareness on campus.Comments powered by Disqus
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