Last week, we held a free STD screening event for UCF students. Each time we run this event, the need far surpasses our capabilities. It is both encouraging and worrying.
It is encouraging because students are taking their health into their own hands and protecting their future wellbeing by being proactive. But it is also worrying because so many students are desperate to get this service for free. With many students uninsured, the cost of STD test can prohibit them from getting the tests they need. On a few occasions, I have heard from students already experiencing symptoms of STDs that they plan to come to the event. My advice is to them is if you are already having symptoms, or know that you have been exposed to an STD via an infected partner, the time to get treatment is now! Don’t waste time waiting weeks for your test results to come back. There are faster methods of testing available. A 2 week waiting period can make a big difference. Sometimes if you had an infected partner, testing is not needed. We can skip right to treatment.
I am glad to be part of this important service to the UCF community. But I am also worried when I see students come to each event month after month. My hope is that they are just worrisome, and not truly engaged in the high-risk sexual behavior that would warrant a monthly STD test.