In 2017, UWG was ranked as one of the colleges in the state of Georgia with the highest STD rates. When students come to college, they are introduced to a lot more freedom, which hands them the opportunity to engage in more sexual activities. Sexually active students are always at risk for transmitting diseases, especially when changing sexual partners and not getting tested beforehand, but not enough students are actually being tested regularly, especially not on the school’s campus itself.
According to the UWG Health Center, around 1,040 students make visits to the Health Center per semester, which includes STD testing. This lack of being tested increases the chance for diseases to spread throughout the campus. Leah Cannon, a nurse at the Health Center, stated that when students do come in for STD testing and are positive, the most common diseases that the nurses see students with are Chlamydia, Trichomoniasis and Gonorrhea.
“Students can see a nurse during our Get Yourself Tested (GYT) clinic hours for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Syphilis testing. Trichomoniasis can also be tested with a nurse; however, due to the high cost of the lab, normally we suggest making an appointment with one of our providers,” said Cannon.
Many students fail to get tested on campus because they are unaware that they are even carrying a disease. Many STDs are asymptomatic, meaning that symptoms are almost never present. Some may choose not to get tested because they are worried that they may actually have a disease and are afraid to get results back that they don’t want to see. Lastly, students on campus chose not to get tested on campus because of the additional pricing of $40, along with health service fees included in tuition.
It is imperative that all sexually active students, even those in monogamous relationships, go get tested for STDs and other STI related infections. The Health Center provides testing for Hepatitis C, Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), and pap smears, which tests women for Human Papillomavirus.
Being tested for STDs is a normal part of life and should not be something that students are afraid to do, nor should it be ignored. If you are a student and are sexually active, especially with more than one person, it is very important to get tested regularly, or after every new partner. If worried about the pricing of testing in the Health Center, there are clinics around the city of Carrollton, such as Positive Response and Walmart clinic, that provide testing for low prices.
“We hope to empower students through education and through this, we hope students learn to make better choices. Nurses and providers provide education while students are at health services and out peer educators also put on presentations across campus, ” said Cannon.