Alcohol abuse counseling, free HIV test available for students

Students can receive a free $10 gift card when they take a free HIV test, courtesy of Palomar’s Health Services and the Vista Community Clinic.

The test is set for 10am to 2pm on Sept. 22, Oct. 27, and Dec. 1, Health Services will be offering free HIV testing in room NS-146 to students who sign up. Students who participate will also take a written test to determine if they are eligible for drug and alcohol abuse counseling.

According to, drinking alcohol or taking drugs can increase your risk of testing HIV positive. These substances inhibit your ability to make safe choices regarding sexual activity and drug use such as sharing needles, which are the two of the leading causes for HIV infection in the United States.

Those who register will do a simple mouth swab test and then fill out a Clear Screening questionnaire while waiting for the test results. The form will include six questions.

“The Clear Screening will have questions such as how many times have you drank more than five drinks in one sitting” said Jayne Conway, the director of Palomar’s Health Services. “These are really general questions, not a deep, intensive assessment so that students feel like they can take advantage of this.”

The $10 gift card will be given to students who do the free HIV testing and Clear Screening questionnaire.

The results from the Clear Screening will then be used to determine if a student is at a higher risk of alcohol or drug abuse. These students will be invited to become participants in a six week Clear counseling program.

According to Jayne Conway, the director of Palomar’s Health Services, last semester a group of students took the Clear Test and the results showed that 20 percent could have used more counseling. Students who partake in the Clear counseling will receive an additional $25 gift card for every session they attend.

“We want students to take advantage of this which is why we are offering them a financial incentive for each counseling session they take part in,” Conway added.

The Clear counseling sessions will be given from counselors of the Vista Community Clinic. These counselors are trained and certified to help college students who are at risk of alcohol or drug abuse.

“Everything in the program has been set up confidentially which always helps because I know when I was in college and kids were partying too much, they sure didn’t want their teachers to know” Conway said. “It is good to know the guidelines so that you don’t put yourself in high risk situations.”

Palomar Health Services is available offering various health screenings and treatment plans all semester long. Students and staff are welcome to stop by the Health Services (HS) building to see the full list of services and costs.

Students interested in signing up for free HIV testing should call the program assistant Lenka Schanka from Health Services at (760) 744-1150 ext. 2380 to make an appointment. All are encouraged to “like” Palomar College Health Services on Facebook to get the current updates on this program and more.





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