On Dec. 4, the Wellness Center is hosting a free STI clinic for students from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. that will have additional STI screenings.
This event will differ from the other STI clinics the Wellness Center hosts once a month because it will be free for all students who are screened instead of just the first five. It will also offer additional forms of testing for HIV, hepatitis C and syphilis along with the regular tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Medical assistant Simone Woods explained this STI clinic differs from the others because it is hosted by the Southern Colorado Health Network, an organization dedicated to promoting sexual health.
Many STI tests require blood draws to detect infection. Woods said the Wellness Center doesn’t have the manpower for these tests at their monthly clinics on its own, so the Southern Colorado Health Network will provide the funding and additional resources for these blood draws at the upcoming clinic.
The Wellness Center can test for STIs that require a blood draw if a student makes an appointment with them individually.
“We want this to be open and an accepting and convenient safe space for everyone,” Woods said.
Woods encouraged students interested in visiting the STI clinic to register beforehand. Students can register at the event, but registering online will speed up the process.
The Wellness Center’s monthly STI clinics began in spring 2022. The free clinics hosted by the Southern Colorado Health Network have occurred once a semester for the past three semesters, and Woods said they plan to continue holding them once a semester.
During the usual monthly STI clinics, students after the first five registered must pay for the screening. The fee for testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea is $45, and the fee to just test for one or the other is $20.
This semester, the Wellness Center began offering rectal and oral swabs, so students can choose what area they would like tested dependent on the kind of sex they are having.
Woods emphasized sexual health as a priority of the Wellness Center, and the STI clinics as an important part of meeting that priority.
“This is such a pivotal time… in our students’ lives that if we can offer those monthly screenings and… provide students with a safe space to come and get tested, that’s one less thing that they have to worry about,” Woods said. “The whole purpose behind it is safe sexual health and… promoting student success so that the focus can remain on education and not other worries.”