RHUL Sexual Health Clinic Remains Closed
Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day. University aged students, or those aged 17-24, make up more than a quarter of new HIV transmissions each year and a majority of those are attributed to people being unaware of their status. This year, Royal Holloway’s sexual health and HIV testing clinic has ceased to exist after changes were made to our local NHS structure.
There have been remarkable scientific advancements since the HIV/AIDS crisis, that many of our parents lived through, began. The age when a HIV/AIDS diagnosis in the UK/USA was a near death sentence are, for the most part, over. The crisis still lives on in many parts of the world but HIV/AIDS has a much lower profile than it did thirty years ago. While many HIV/AIDS sufferers can now take medication that gives them undetectable loads, it is naïve of our university student body to believe that we are free from the dangers of HIV/AIDS transmissions.
HIV/AIDS transmissions are going up yearly amongst young people. This is despite young people having some of the most accurate knowledge about the transmission of the virus. It is in this worrying context that Royal Holloway’s sexual health clinic has closed. The Blanche Heriot clinic that served our campus has been restructured by the wider NHS body and subsequently does not aoperate on campus anymore..
Instead students will have to go to Windsor for a referral and anyone that was previously under the care of the Blanche Heriot clinic must now travel to Woking. The Royal Holloway website are yet to state that sexual health services and tests aren’t available directly at the health centre and the college has been slow to respond.
We are lucky to live in a country where we are free to engage in sexual activity if we wish. Here on campus, we have a thriving community of young gay males in which the transmission rate has been climbing nationwide for years. To help our particularly vulnerable communities protect themselves, we need the college to take faster action. Their silence this past National HIV Testing Week and World AIDS Day has completely let us down.
How can you help?
Share this article to protest the sustained closure of our sexual health clinic.
Buy one of the red ribbons that raise awareness of HIV/AIDS from the SU helpdesk and wear it proudly.
HIV/AIDS is not a disease of the past, know your status. Learn more about getting tested.