Student Health Services is teaming up with Caring Communities, a non-profit clinic, to provide free Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) tests for students.
The idea for this partnership came from sophomore theatre major and Student Government Association (SGA) Class of 2022 Representative Jarod Engle.
“Students holding representative positions on SGA have to choose a goal they want to accomplish each semester. When I was thinking about my goal, I noticed that this service was not currently being offered on campus,” said Engle. “I really like to advocate for different issues, and I thought this was something that needed to be addressed.”
Director of Student Health Services Maura Smith said she agreed with Engle that this is an issue not being talked about on campus. She said in the past if a student was thought to have an STD, the student would be referred to Maternal and Family Health Services in Scranton.
“Its uncomfortable for students to have to go off campus to a facility they are not aware of to receive such a personal test,” said Smith.
Through this partnership, Caring Communities will offer free gonorrhea and chlamydia tests and HIV screenings to students at on-campus events at the Student Health Services facility. Smith said the tests will be administered by staff from Caring Communities using the facility’s two private exam rooms to help protect the privacy of students. She said students should receive their results from the tests and screenings about a week after they are administered.
The tests for STDs will consist of an oral swab while the screening for HIV involves students taking a questionnaire to decide if they are at a high risk for contracting the disease. If they are deemed to be at a high risk, a urine sample will be collected for testing. If the test indicates the student may have HIV, students will receive a referral for further testing.
Smith said she believes this new relationship with Caring Communities is a step in the right direction for Marywood.
“I think it’s part of a holistic approach to care,” said Smith. “STDs can happen to anyone, and we want to be able to provide the best possible care when those things do happen to students.”
Assistant Director of Campus Ministry Sr. John Michele Southwick, IHM assisted Engle in researching ways to provide testing on campus. Southwick said she believes this relationship correlates with Marywood’s Core Values, especially respect.
“If we respect each person, then we respect who they are. We respect the needs that they have,” said Southwick. “So, why wouldn’t we try to offer them the best?”
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