Opinion: ASUP and Health & Counseling Center Partner to Provide Free STI Testing

By Michael Gallagher | February 11, 2019 8:06pm

mg-1749-1024x731
ASUP Vice President encourages students to take advantage of free STI screenings at the Health and Counseling Center.
by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

Hey everyone! Michael Gallagher here, your ASUP Vice President. 

Y’all know what gets me excited? Free things.

Sure, this is the everlasting college student trope, but I might as well lean into it.

So, what is the free thing that warrants a whole Beacon opinion piece? Will I ever stop with these rhetorical questions?

The answer is Free STI Testing at the Health and Counseling Center (and the second answer is no, I won’t stop), brought to you by ASUP and Multnomah County. 

Although I wish that the reaction to this would be similar to other free services, because of some cultural stigma, I bet that is not the case. Before I go into the reasons why you should take advantage of this, I want to preface with why the HCC is a great place to get these quick, easy and noninvasive tests done.

One, the providers at the HCC, who are Miko, Courtney, Kaylin, and Sean, are absolutely incredible. They are knowledgeable, kind and non-judgmental. Two, the HCC is extremely confidential. All visits, topics discussed and test results will never be shared with anyone but YOU. When I talked with the aforementioned practitioners, this was emphasized heavily.  Three, (because it warrants its own point) the HCC as a whole is non-judgmental and is only concerned with student safety. I’m talking very non-judgmental, where any question is welcome and valid. That is why they let you (yes, YOU!) perform the tests yourself. Also, because I’ve heard this funny, but valid concern before: There is no probing. As I said, you do the tests yourself. They send the samples to get analyzed, and you get the confidential results. 

Now that I resolved that concern, here is a list of those who should be taking advantage of this free screening:

1. All sexually active students

2. All sexually active students

3. ALL SEXUALLY ACTIVE STUDENTS!

Jokes aside, it is crucial that anyone who participates in any sexual activity gets tested, and regularly. The possibility of STIs is scary, but it is better for your health to get tested and treated! You wouldn’t want to avoid the doctor just in case they might say you have pneumonia. Sure, you might not have it, but if you do, pneumonia long term isn’t healthy. Same with STIs. 

I am sure my very convincing article has you asking, “Well, HOW do I take advantage of this awesome free screening?”  Calm, fellow Pilot, I shall tell you shortly.

1. Call the Health & Counseling Center at (503) 943-7134.

2. Ask for an appointment for the “free screening.”

3. Go to your appointment.

4. Get your confidential results.

5. Rest easy knowing that you are taking care of an oft-ignored cornerstone of health.

Because this is free, it won’t show up on any bills or records at all. It will be just between you and the practitioner. 

Test Positive? No worries. The practitioners will help you get treated and on your way.  

Anyway, I hope lots of students take advantage of this. If you’re the first person in your friend group to go, strongly encourage everyone else to take advantage of this, too. It is worth it!

The tests available are chlamydia and gonorrhea screening (which are free through the county), as well as HIV and syphilis (which are free through ASUP funding).  

The HCC also provides vaccines, health checkups, free goodies (Advil, Tylenol, Neosporin), pregnancy tests, and is always there to answer questions and support your health.   

Michael Gallagher can be reached at gallaghm19@up.edu. 

B