Students Will Get HIV Tests

Blythe Bernhard, David Hunn and Steve Giegerich, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 16, 2008

St. Louis County Health Department officials said Wednesday they will establish a testing center at Normandy High School after determining that “several” Normandy students may have been exposed to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

A routine investigation into the source of the virus following a diagnosis last week led health officials to Normandy High.

On Monday, the district responded by sending Normandy’s 1,300 students home with letters that advised parents of the risk.

County health officials said it is the first time in memory that a public health investigation led to a local high school.

{snip}

In remarks to approximately 60 parents and school officials attending an information session Wednesday night in the Normandy gymnasium, health department director Dolores J. Gunn cautioned that it is “still early in the investigation.”

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“Our job at the health department is to find as many people as possible who might have been exposed to HIV and get them tested as soon as possible,” said Gunn.

LaCharles Harris, a 10th-grader {snip} acknowledged that many Normandy students are sexually active.

“But most of them know to use condoms,” said Harris.

{snip}

About 5 percent of HIV cases in the St. Louis region are diagnosed as teenagers, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

{snip}

 Students by Ethnicity 

 This School 

 Missouri School Average 

% American Indian

n/a

n/a

% Asian

n/a

1%

% Hispanic

n/a

3%

% Black

99%

20%

% White

1%

73%

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