Halloween’s much anticipated arrival is finally here, and with it comes everyone’s collective nostalgia for candy, corn mazes, and costume parties.
And yet, something even scarier than monsters and midterms might be on the minds of Sonoma State students. Last week, the Student Health Center tested more students for sexually transmitted disease than they ever have before.
According to Health Education Nurse Toni Boracchia, this is actually good news.
From the 22nd to the 26th, funding from the Health Center’s reserve account allowed students to receive a truly incredible deal: blood, urine or swab testing for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis and HIV all for just $20.
“STI testing is not a once in a lifetime event,” Boracchia underlined. “Everyone should be tested when they have a new sexual partner, even if this is their only partner, because they could be symptom free and still be diagnosed with an infection.”
“You have to get tested,” agreed Jessica Wood, a second year Computer Science major, who loves the idea of $20 testing, “It’s better safe than sorry.”
While it doesn’t sound too bad that men can unknowingly host symptomless infections that will never harm them, it’s important to remember that these dangerous, completely preventable infections can still be passed onto women. That’s the tricky thing about STIs; years of their secret existence can result in irreparable damage and infertility.
Despite their necessity, costs for the four most common STIs are normally more than $55. In most cases, this is more than students are capable of spending, even if they wanted to practice safe sex.
Thanks to the discount, Nurse Practitioner Tracey Eaton underlined, and the planning by the Student Health Advisory Committee, STI awareness was spread. The week was considered a success.
“If needed,” Eaton continued, “treatment is available and will be prescribed by the doctor or nurse practitioner.”
For those who missed out on last week’s special testing, Boracchia and Eaton assure that “we are here to support your health and college success.” Tests are still available to students of every sexual orientation, gender, and practice. They’re also hopeful that this will become a regular event in the future.
Additionally, on Dec. 4 from 12:15 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Health Center will be hosting Sonoma County’s Face to Face. With a simple cheek swab, walk-ins can benefit from free, anonymous HIV testing with results in 20 minutes.
Students are strongly encouraged students to call the Health Center at 707-664-2921 to schedule an appointment during the week. Ultimately, there’s no downside to getting tested.