News Briefly: UHS offers free STI testing to hundreds of cautious students

Jody Serrano

University Health Services treated more than 200 students in their free HIV and STI testing workshop on Thursday.

UHS holds free STI testing every semester in conjunction with the Austin/Travis County Health Department to encourage high-risk students to get tested. The test includes a blood sample, urine test and questionnaire. Gulielma Fager, a health education coordinator for UHS, said UHS holds these free workshops because more than 50 percent of students at UT do not practice safe sex and are at risk to contract a STI or HIV.

Fager said one of the main reasons students don’t get tested is because they assume if they had an infection they would recognize the symptoms. She also said many students know they have not engaged in safe sex practices and simply do not want to know if they’ve contracted a STI.

“One of the things you can do to get people who don’t plan on getting testing is bringing the testing to them,” Fager said. “The irony is that people who use condoms consistently are the ones who want to get tested.”

Deanna Kilgore, a Healthy Sexuality peer mentor, said she’s known many people who refuse to get tested because they think it’s easy to predict if their partner has a STI. Kilgore became a mentor because she felt the sex education students get before coming to college is inadequate and wanted to create an open dialogue about sex.

“Everyone should get tested,” Kilgore said. “The test is easy and quick and it only takes one sex experience to get an infection.”

Printed on Friday, October 21, 2011 as: UHS offers free STI testing to hundreds of cautious students