Free STI testing offered

Health Services now offers free STI testing for those students who are at risk. This service is available to students because of the relationship the institution has built with the PA Department of Health. The testing is meant to target students at Millersville who might have been exposed to or have symptoms resulting from risky behavior.

“I want to target people that are most at risk and people who have already been diagnosed with other STI’s. Also I want to target students who are involved in risky behaviors such as unprotected sex, men having sex with men and IV drug users. We don’t want students to come here and get tested just because their professor is offering extra credit,” said Nurse Supervisor Holly Freas-Webster.

The test is available to students immediately, however the infirmary is not able to do HIV testing at this point in time.

As of now there is no set time that the test is available. One who is interested would need to call in, to make an appointment. However, in the future Health Services is looking to expand the service.

“We are really under-staffed at this point in time and are unable to say for example; Tuesdays, you can set up a counseling appointment with a nurse,” Walker said. “In the future I would like to have a room upstairs that is a comfortable environment so people don’t feel trapped in an exam room. I can’t do that yet because I don’t have the man power or the women power but once I have a staff I would like to do that,” Webster said.

This service gives students an alternative to traveling to locations off campus to receive free treatment or pay to be tested. In the past tudents who were at a questionable risk, did not have the option to be treated on campus.

“I think this is a good thing to have on campus. Primarily in the past I have heard of a lot of students going to Planned Parenthood to get tested. This is on campus and its free and it is also confidential,” said Senior Stephen Wright.

Freshman Lindsey McKee agrees with Wright; “I think it is a good thing. I think I would feel more comfortable there than driving off-campus.”

To utilize this service, students have to call and make an appointment. After talking to a nurse about their symptoms, a test will be administered if it is felt that the person is at risk.

The lab results are sent out once a week on Wednesday to a lab in Texas. The state of Pennsylvania covers the cost of the lab study.

The results are returned within 24 hours. A person tested on Thursday would have to wait up to a week to receive the results. If there is a great concern, students may use their insurance to get the results quicker.

If a student doesn’t want to go on record for being seen at health services, they can be referred to an off-campus location. The Department of Health offers different locations where the test can be free.

It is important that the tests are only administered to students who are at risk and not just to those doing it for extra credit or just to see what it is like.

The Health Center has to prove that a certain number of students were treated because of the testing, in order for it to remain free. If this is not the case, a price could be put on the tests.

“I think this is a good thing. I am not going to be like, ‘hey I can go out and have sex because they are offering this’,” said Freshman Garret Wood.

This service is only one of the services the Health Center offers to promote safety among students who are sexually active. They also provide contraceptives to prevent pregnancy and emergency contraceptives.

“I didn’t know that they offered free testing, I did know though that they offer condoms-12 for  a dollar daily,” McKee said.