Chlamydia, gonorrhoea most common STDs on campus
Jacob Waring—Opinions & Features Editor
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recent data indicated that two million cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis were reported in the United States in 2016, the highest ever recording by the Center.
According to those at the Wellness and Health Centers on campus, college rates of STDs tend to follow the national trends.
Jazmynn Jakubczyk, graduate intern for the Wellness Center, collaborates with the Health Center and with the ‘Get yourself Tested” events. She said they have monthly testing events, and their next one is Feb. 14.
“The STD tests just tests for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea because those are the most common STDs in the United States in general,” she said.
According to Jakubczyk of the tests conducted by the Health Center, there’s 12-15 percent of a positive result each semester. That statistic is only of students who get tested on campus. She said that the service is affordable and confidential.
HIV testing is also provided. She also said that the data they have on hand goes as far back to 2016.
Connecticut health officials have said that there has been a four percent increase of HIV in Connecticut in 2017. In response to that recent information Jakubczyk says they’re going to just continue testing, and educating the campus and community on sexual health.
The Wellness Center keeps track of condom usage as 71 percent of men and 79 percent of women do not use condoms. The Center keeps track of the rates of students who have not gotten tested for STD, she said that 68 percent of men and 52 percent of women have never been tested.
Jakubczyk said they keep track of this data as a way to inform students on what their peers are doing.
Both the Wellness and Health Center have said that the trends on campus typically matches the rate of increase of STDs.
Jakubczyk said that at Southern, the data has showed that the knowledge of STD testing is rising but the utilization of testing services are decreasing. They are in the process of trying to figure out the why behind that particular data.
Dr. Diane Morgenthaler, Director of the Health and Wellness Center said that the Health Center has practitioners and physicians who are qualified to diagnose then treat STD symptoms. Morgenthaler, and other clinical providers roles are to diagnose students who come in with particular symptoms, do appropriate testing and treat.
She said they do routine testing for those who may not have symptoms but are planning to have a new partner, or already have a new partner and by those who request testing as a precaution due to various factors.
She said they are in the process of narrowing the testing to certain times in the day to make it easier for both the staff and students who visit. Morgenthaler said that on average in a week the Health Center does 10 to 15 tests, and that is students who come in specially requesting for a STD Test. During the ‘Get Yourself Tested’ events, on average they get 30 to 40 per event.
“A good thing about those [Get Yourself Tested] events is that in addition to doing the routine testing, we do a consult,” said Morgenthaler, “you can come to ask particular questions, gives us an opportunity to talk about other STD that could potentially be a problem.”
Morgenthaler said that tests for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea goes to the state lab for a minimal fee, and it’s all confidential. She also said that HIV testing can be done on campus and the results would be confirm in approximately 15 minutes.
The Health Center has brochures that are filled with information on symptoms, treatment and factiods. The testing for men are typically urinating in a cup while for men while for women it would be a vaginal swab. For STD’s like Syphilis would be via blood being drawn or with the HIV test it would be a by pricking a finger for a blood sample.