College students with HIV have to face many challenges when they are about to start their college life. Their first major concern is whether they will be treated differently. It’s not extraordinary for some individuals to discriminate against those who have AIDS in college.
After all, there has always been some sort of stigma related to HIV and AIDS. We’re here to help prevent that and show people who have been tested positive that there is no reason for their discrimination in college and that they should be treated just like everyone else.
Luckily, we have new and modern medical treatments in our age that can allow students with HIV to engage themselves in all activities that other students engage in. Moreover, they needn’t worry about getting proper treatment - their rights to good healthcare access will cover it.
The rest of our guide on how to help and support college students with HIV will also place great importance on raising overall awareness about this topic. With proper background knowledge about this diagnosis, we can all play our part and remove the stigma lingering around it.
Statistics about Young People in the US Living with HIV & AIDS
The statistics on the mortality rates from HIV in the USA show that it is a burning topic. In 2015, 22% of people diagnosed positively aged between 13 and 24, which shows that this virus is more widespread among teens.
Bisexual and gay males between the ages of 13 and 24 took the larger percentage of HIV-positive individuals with an astounding 81%. In the same year, around seven thousand people received this diagnosis aged between 20 and 24.
The second-largest group, with more than 7.500 members who were HIV positive, were individuals between 13 and 24. The tragic part about this information, other than it mostly being youngsters, is that around 50% of them had no idea that they were positive.
Latex condoms are a good tool that can reduce the risk of HIV transmission, but most youngsters don’t use them properly. Another tragic part about the illness among youngsters is that most of them fail to treat it properly. Let’s see how we can affect this by understanding HIV life better.
HIV College Students’ Challenges and Rights
When a student is HIV positive, that information is considered private medical information. For this reason, a student doesn’t have to give this information upon getting admitted into college. However, some HIV-positive individuals feel that it is their obligation to share this information with others.
Most states in the USA consider it a crime to expose a person to HIV or AIDS before letting them know the positive status. This situation occurs when an HIV-positive person wants to have sexual intercourse with a person who isn’t.
Even in states where this is not a legal obligation, a person who is diagnosed positively has to be aware that transmission can take place upon sexual intercourse with another person. Because this is so, even if there is no legal obligation, it is a moral obligation to share your positive status with others.
The other person always deserves to know, and this is why an HIV-positive status should never be kept a secret, especially in college. Since we’ve come to a conclusion that this private medical information has to be exposed in the end, we must discuss how this is received by others.
Some undergraduates will treat positively diagnosed students just like they treat everybody else. However, there will be some who won’t. At this point, the HIV college student will face discrimination like being excluded from some social events or kept out of some class activities.
What can be done, and what are the rights of students diagnosed positively when this happens? The bar on discrimination ensures that students diagnosed positively should not be discriminated against at school, offering them aid from health care workers advising them and their parents on the treatment procedure.
With such rights that the law has regulated, students in college with HIV can get a great tap on the back in treating their condition while remaining accepted in group projects and activities.
Raising Awareness and Supporting College Students with HIV
College years are the most common time for doing experiments in every field of life. Students tend to try illegitimate substances for the first time, drink more, and indulge themselves in sexual intercourse more often than other age groups.
Unfortunately, with such experimentation, this time of life is the riskiest time in a student’s life to contract HIV. It can be transmitted through regular vaginal sex between males and females and anal sex, popular among bisexual and gay people.
What students lack to be concerned about is that HIV cannot be cured and that they will face a long road faced with challenges if they do contract HIV. However, there are numerous ways to prevent the infection, which is what should be the main thing to raise awareness about.
Properly used latex condoms can greatly reduce the chances of HIV transmission from a positive person to a negative one. There is a chance that a condom might break, slip, or else, so the only method that is 100% HIV-free is avoiding sexual intercourse altogether.
But students in college never resort to this method. In addition, those more illegal substance-oriented may come to a point where they share needles, which is also a way HIV can be transmitted.
Abstinence from all drugs and sexual intercourse is the only way a student can be certain to avoid contracting HIV in college. Besides that, being open about this topic and discussing it may also prevent a student from having sex with an HIV-positive person if informed on time.
Students should get strong encouragement to test themselves on STDs regularly and promote open communication about this topic. There is no shame in asking your partner to test themselves. After all, you are doing it for both’ sake.
The Importance of Scholarships and Grants for Students with HIV & AIDS
The list of scholarships and grants for HIV-positive college students can help them greatly in their studies. Here’s what such students can expect and what benefits they can acquire from these grants:
- The Positive Futures Scholarship - specifically for students at the University of Colorado who are enrolled in the college full-time. This scholarship will grant students $1500 each year of their studies if their lives have been in any way affected by HIV;
- The Helen Veress-Mitchell Scholarship Fund - this fund is sponsored by the Capital City AIDS Fund. It is specifically for students who have any connection to Northern Carolina and are looking for a four-year college degree. The fund is $1500;
- The Joshua Gomes Memorial Scholarship Fund - for HIV-positive college students who want to attend a two-year or a four-year university for graduate and undergraduate study. The fund is $1000 and is based on personal merit as well;
- The HIV League Scholarship - for college students with HIV who want to attend post-secondary education for at least two years. The scholarship can vary, but in 2016, two students won $7000 with the organization;
List of HIV Resources, Organizations & Advocacy Groups
There is a list of twenty HIV resources, organizations, and advocacy groups that we will list below.
- What Works in Youth HIV Testing - facilitates improvement in young people to raise awareness on the diagnosis and give the effort to prevent it;
- We > AIDS - offers information about HIV trending news and campaigns and PrEP - a pill that can help prevent the disease contraction and is taken daily;
- Sero - fights against stigma around HIV and discrimination;
- Ryan White and Global HIV and AIDS Programs - for those who want to learn about the medical scene regarding AIDS and the healthcare around it;
- NASTAD - provides information on how to find healthcare programs;
- AIDS.org - all information about testing;
- AIDS United - research, funding, technical help, and policymaking on HIV in the USA;
- amfAR - aims at reducing HIV spread by promoting promising research;
- Avert - focuses on safe sex practices and HIV prevention;
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - health advice, resources, and explanation of HIV, as well as some useful information about AIDS in college;
- The Body - a complete source of information about HIV available online;
- NAM AidsMap - a website coming from the UK with information on testing and telling loved ones about HIV-positive status;
- Human Rights Campaign - places focus on the rights of those who are tested positive with AIDS and how to handle discrimination in college or at work;
- HIV Positive - an online magazine that helps those affected by the disease live longer;
- Center for HIV Law and Policy - focuses on laws and policies that aim at protecting those with HIV or AIDS;
- ClinicalTrials.gov - a database of the private and public clinical trials on HIV worldwide;
- GetTested - a website through which individuals can get HIV tested for free;
- HIV.gov - a website with intro information on the illness and programs to help fight it;
- HIV Equal Online Magazine - an online magazine with HIV-related news;
- GMHC - programs for this illness prevention and how to make a difference;
We hope that you better understand how important distributing information about HIV in college is. The article also illustrates how students that tested positively can feel, what challenges they can face, and how they may be discriminated against. Luckily, there are numerous ways to prevent transmission of this disease, so raising awareness about it is crucial.
Moreover, numerous grants and scholarships for such individuals can further help them get through tough times. The list of 20 organizations, advocacy groups, and resources should benefit both HIV-positive individuals and negative ones alike.