Sexual health clinics around campus seek to break the stigma of STIs for ASU students

There are multiple, cheap options where students can get tested near ASU's campus

Almost half of the cases of sexually transmitted infections each year are diagnosed in individuals aged 15-24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — meaning that STIs are an issue that college students need to address. But that can be difficult without the proper resources.

Fortunately there are multiple places on and near ASU’s campus where students can get tested for STIs.

Tayler Tucker, the media relations specialist for Planned Parenthood Arizona, which provides STI testing along with many other services, said she wants to dissolve the stigma around STI testing.

She said STI testing is not something to be ashamed of, but actually something that is a sign of a positive commitment to health.

Stefanie Schroeder, the medical director at ASU Health Services, said STI testing can be done at any ASU Health Services location on all four campuses. 

Maricopa County Public Health also comes to campus a few times a year and offers free STI testing at various locations in the ASU community. 

If testing isn't covered by a student's insurance, or if they don't have insurance, they can pay $20 per test at ASU Health Services.

More extensive testing can cost up to $100, Tucker said. A physician can order these tests, or students can get walk-in tests at the Health Services building on their campus.

"We suggest once-a-year screenings and (testing) every time there is a change in the sexual partner,” Schroeder said.

ASU's previous reputation as a party school has made it the butt of jokes regarding STIs, such as in the movie "Ted 2" which jokes that ASU has a high STI rate. But, Schroeder said, “ASU has lower rates of STIs than the national average.” 

However, Schroeder said there has been an increase in STI rates among college students in general.

“Chlamydia is the most common STI among American college students. There has also been an uptick of Syphilis and Gonorrhea compared to previous years," she said.

Cara Vollaro, a nursing junior, said it is important to be tested because, even though some may think that STIs correspond with a physical change or symptom, many of the infections can appear symptomless. 

“Multiple of my friends have been tested for STIs,” Vollaro said. “They either went to their own health care provider or ASU health services to be tested. They said the process was quick and easy, and they received their results within a couple days after being tested." 

Tucker said she believes that it is important to get tested because STIs can have long-reaching implications for health and fertility, for both partners in a relationship.

“Some STIs like Chlamydia can cause infertility in women if left untreated,” Schroeder said. “HIV, if caught early, is very treatable with the medications that are on the market at this time.  Syphilis, if untreated, can cause transitory symptoms and lead to severe neurological and other issues years later."

Tucker said that testing positive for an STI is not as much of an obstacle as it may have been a decade ago, and that those with STIs can still lead healthy sex lives.

“A lot of people get scared about STI testing, because they are scared about the results and the idea that a positive means the end of their life," she said.


Reach the reporter at jlmyer10@asu.edu or follow @jessiemy94 on Twitter. 

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