GV offers STI testing on campus


GVL / Samuel Nelson

Sabrina Rihtarshich, Staff Writer

The Recreation and Wellness Center is partnering with The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) to offer free sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing on campus. This is part of the “Get Yourself Tested” campaign developed by the Centers for Disease Control.

On the second Wednesday of each month, from 4 to 7 p.m., students can visit the Holton-Hooker Living Center, room 107A, to receive a free and confidential STI test.

According to the Recreation and Wellness Center, “STI testing is important for better understanding of your own health and how to protect your wellbeing.”

According to the CDC, sexually active young adults acquire half of all new STI cases in the U.S. each year. Many don’t know they’re infected, which is why getting tested is suggested by healthcare workers. Anyone interested in getting tested can expect an easy, quick and painless process. A urine test, cheek swab, blood test, physical examination or swab of sores may all be used for STI testing.

Free STI testing isn’t new to campus. Alison Clark, the communications specialist for OCDPH, said they’ve worked with Grand Valley State University in the past.

“OCDPH has provided sexually transmitted infection testing on Grand Valley State University’s Allendale campus once per month for the past three years,” Clark said. “The department’s involvement at Sex Ed Week at GVSU is limited to STI testing and the provision of condoms for young adults on a voluntary basis.”

Some students may hesitate to get tested due to the stigmas surrounding STIs, so it’s important that those wanting to get tested feel supported and comfortable doing so. Clark comments on their values regarding their department treating people of the community.

“The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) respects our community members’ personal values and their discretion when choosing educational materials, health services, or adopting health behaviors that align with their values and circumstances,” Clark said. “We recognize that each person has unique needs and differences, and we aim to ensure that all people are valued and are treated fairly, with dignity and respect.”

Clark said people under the age of 25 are at the highest risk of being diagnosed with gonorrhea, chlamydia or both, making 18 to 25-year-olds a priority group for STI testing and treatment.

Aside from getting tested on the Allendale campus, those who want to get tested for an STI elsewhere can also visit Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood health centers can offer advice and resources to help avoid STIs and offer STI testing and treatment. According to the Planned Parenthood website, “Some STDs are serious, and others are no big deal – but either way, getting treatment if you need it is the best way to help you stay healthy.”

In addition to Planned Parenthood, there are other locations near GVSU where students can get tested, including the Campus Health Center, which takes walk-in patients, the GVSU Family Health Center, the Ottawa County Department of Public Health and the Kent County Health Department.