Confidental HIV testing on campus

By Sebastian Moronta Blanco, Staff Writer

On Tuesday, February 7, Seven Hills Behavioral Health clinic set up shop in the Frederick Douglass Unity House to conduct free and confidential HIV testing for the UMass Dartmouth community.

Testing like this happens every month here on campus, according to Laodecia Fevrier, a marketing and management double major and member of the class of 2018, who The Torch spoke with at the clinic last Tuesday.

This month the focus is raising awareness in the black community, in honor of Black History Month.

The testing moves to buildings all over campus including Oak Glen and the apartment buildings.

“Our goal is to get at least one person who’s never been tested before to come in and get tested, and then that will hopefully spread,” said Fevrier. “Especially because, I don’t know if it’s being said enough how important testing is, so our goal is to really spread that out in our community.”

Beyond testing, students and visitors can get information on HIV and related topics from the Center for Disease Control provided by UMass Dartmouth’s Peer Health Educators.

The Torch spoke with Michelle Borges, a program manager and phlebotomist with Seven Hills.

She has been conducting HIV testing on campus for 3 years, as well as other clinics and throughout the area of Taunton and New Bedford.

The clinic’s work spans beyond HIV testing, as they conduct testing for Hep C, STD’s, Overdose Prevention, and more.

Borges supports students getting themselves tested. “It’s important; Everybody’s different, it’s up to individual preference, but you should get tested as often as you feel it’s necessary,” she said.

The Torch also spoke to several students who were either considering getting tested or were getting tested themselves that day.

In an effort to respect their privacy they will remain anonymous throughout this publication.

One student, who planned on getting tested on Tuesday, feels getting tested is simple. “We shouldn’t even consider it, everybody should get tested regularly, for everyone’s health and safety. Frequent testing and public awareness is how anyone who isn’t a scientist working on a cure does their part in ending the disease.

Another student grappled with the decision. “On the one hand, yes. Obviously, I should get tested there’s no real reason not to, it’s just scary, and kind of stressful. The fact that needles are involved doesn’t help.”

Finally, a third student knows just how timely the testing can be. “I knew someone who got tested on their campus, and it came up positive. They caught it early, and he was able to get the help he needed. He tells me to get tested every time I get the chance. You never really know, and finding out could save your life.”

The clinic hopes more students take the opportunity to get tested. The process is completely free and the technicians do their best to maintain confidentiality.

Seven Hills Behavioral Health Clinic is located in New Bedford and for more information on the clinic or their testing across the area visit


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