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MMI hold free HIV/ AIDS testing

A crowd of cadets gathered outside of the health center at Marion Military Institute for free HIV/AIDS testing on Tuesday afternoon.

It wasn’t mandatory or apart of their military curriculum,

Instead, it was young college students who wanted to make sure they were healthy.

Cedric Wherry, the HIV/AIDS specialist for Selma Air — an AIDS service organization that provides HIV education and prevention for those in the community — was on hand to give the test to the cadets.

“I was here just a couple of weeks ago and I provided HIV education,” said Wherry. “I knew the youth would want to be tested.”

The cadets turned out in numbers following the presentation by Wherry.

The response was so good that Wherry had to return yesterday because he did not have enough tests for all of the cadets that wanted to be tested.

“With youth between the ages of 14-25, when I come out and give a presentation it may scare them,” said Wherry. “But the fear propels them to get tested.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2004 young people between the ages of 13-24 made up an estimated 13 percent of patients diagnosed with HIV/ AIDS.

“Between the ages of 14-25 HIV is a vast, fast growing virus,” said Wherry. “Because of various things.”