As part of Safe SexFest 2010, student group AIDS and Sexual Health Awareness (ASHA), in partnership with the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective (HGLHC), organized an STI testing clinic held on Nov. 5 at Eclectic. This marked the first time that ASHA has offered STI testing this semester; 127 students were tested for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia, 6 students were tested for syphilis, and 37 students were tested for HIV.
“We decided it would be great to try and do one event per semester, because it’s suggested that if you’re sexually active you should get tested once every six months,” said ASHA’s STI Testing Coordinator Susanna Banks ’13. “In the end, we got about the turnout that we normally get and it went really well.”
According to University Medical Director Dr. Davis Smith, the tests did not yield any particularly surprising statistical results for the University.
“The results were in line with existing positivity rates for screenings done at the Davison Health Center,” he wrote in an e-mail to The Argus.
According to Smith, the University treats about two to three cases of Chlamydia per month, while only about a third of these are test-confirmed. Gonorrhea is less common—the University has only seen a few cases in the past five years.
“The statistics that are put out there say that one in every two sexually active people gets an STI by the time they turn 25,” Banks said. “Testing is really important, one, because most STIs are completely curable as long as you catch them and get treatment, and two, because getting tested and getting treatment prevents further spreading of STIs and other infections.”
This was the first time that ASHA has worked with the HGLHC in conducting STI testing. The Hartford-based health collective offers medical services, support groups, mental health services, and health education, particularly directed toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities.
As a culminating event for Safe SexFest 2010, ASHA organized a concert/dance party on Friday called “Sexy Can I” to raise funds for the HGLHC, as well as Planned Parenthood of Southern New England and The Oasis Center, an affiliate of the Community Health Center in Middletown that provides a variety of services to people living with HIV and AIDS. The event raised over $1,600 and included performances by Mad Wow, Darkslope, Paradise Stomp, and several Risky Fresh DJs.
Other Safe SexFest events during the past two weeks included SEXLEY—a sexual health fair in Exley, a sex toy workshop led by Megan Andelloux, and several workshops and displays relating to issues of sexual health and communication.