AIDS counselor has frank conversations with SFA students, East Texans about disease risks

AIDS counselor has frank conversations with SFA students, East Texans about disease risks

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Stephen F. Austin State University community is doing its part to educate students about AIDS.

Health Horizons in Nacogdoches tested people, mainly college students, for the disease Monday, which was AIDS Day. East Texas News had some candid discussions with some of the participants.

It's Health Horizons counselor Gary Roberts' job to stay up on current trends, such as Internet slang.

"Do you know what a 'thot' is?" asked Valerie Osamar, an SFA student.

Osamar proceeded to define it. You can find the acronym words, of course, on the Internet. Let's just say here that it's someone who has sexual relations, a lot.

Osamar who shared she's never had sex, said she plans to be more like her friends.

"The people I hang out with, like they do have sex a lot, but like, it's weird, they don't, it's not like casual or whatever," Osamar said.

Another trend concerns Roberts.

"I know you've heard about sidelines and mains," Roberts said.

"Oh yeah. Awkward," Osamar said.

Robert didn't blush. It's his job to inform the public of trends right here in East Texas.

"They have their main partner. When they are with that individual, female or male, they don't want them to approach them," Roberts said. "They're considered that main partner. But once they're not with that individual at that moment, they could call them up in the evening or somewhere and come over. Those are the sidelines."

Bria McIver, another SFA student, said she didn't think the "safe sex" message has been getting through to college students.

The latest risky trends are feeding the spread of HIV-AIDS.

"HIV is real," Roberts said. "It's here in this community, and the more casual sex you have the more risk you put yourself in of becoming HIV positive."

Knowing that created anxiety for McIver. Fortunately she tested negative for HIV-AIDS.

"Yes, I was nervous," McIver said. "You just never know. I'm happy now."

Health Horizons is currently treating over 300 clients with HIV-AIDS who live within a 12- county region. Testers know there are many more who don't know they have the disease.

Health Horizons offers free testing every day at its East Main Clinic.

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