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GYT Campaign challenges students to get talking and get tested

CSU Health Network's medical clinic, with its seven board-certified physicians and six nurse practitioners, offers a plethora of services including screening tests, wellness counseling and STI evaluation and treatment. (Collegian File Photo)
CSU Health Network’s medical clinic, with its seven board-certified physicians and six nurse practitioners, offers a plethora of services including screening tests, wellness counseling and STI evaluation and treatment. (Collegian File Photo)

According to the CDC, one in two sexually active young adults will get an STD by the age of 25. The CSU Health Network started participating in the GYT campaign in order to improve this statistic.

GYT is a national campaign with founding roots from the CDC, Kaiser Foundation and MTV. It stands for “get yourself tested” and is working to normalize STD testing for young adults. The CSU Health Network is running the GYT campaign on campus until April 10. During this time, students can get an STD test for the two most common STDs, chlamydia and gonorrhea, at over 50 percent off.

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“Normally these tests cost between $60 and $75, during the campaign it is only $28,” said Gwen Sieving, manager of sexual health initiatives at the CSU Health Network. “These tests are not at all invasive. For men, it is nothing more than peeing in a cup, and for women it is either a urine test or a very basic swab test, based on their risk level.”

The campaign is intended to remind students to be responsible when it comes to their sexual health.

“We want students to know that it is not shameful, and more importantly, it is the responsible, adult thing to do if you’re sexually active,” Sieving said. “We want people to actually talk to their friends about it, talk to their partners about it so that the stigma of getting tested goes away.”

According to Sieving, the stigma around STD testing is one of the largest reasons that people do not want to get tested — they are embarrassed.

“I think it’s silly that we have created a stigma around getting tested,” said Frannie Sovcik, a junior stuyding social work. “I think we should support and empower one another to take care of ourselves and get tested.”

In many situations, neither chlamydia nor gonorrhea show any symptoms which leads people to assume that there is nothing wrong.

“Students have to know that just because you don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean you’re safe,” Sieving said. “In order to be sexually responsible, you have to get tested every time you switch partners.”

STD testing at the CSU Health Network is 100 percent confidential. This means that unless permission is given by the student, the information is not released. The tests can be paid for with a student account, but the receipt will not show what the charge was for.

According to Sieving, it is important for students not to worry about confidentiality, but also not to worry too much about handling the outcome of the tests.

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“An important thing to know is that both of the STDs we’re testing for are absolutely curable,” Sieving said. “In most cases, all you need is antibiotics to get rid of them.”

In past years, the CSU Health Network has seen that women come in for testing more frequently than men, according to Sieving. In 2012, 80 percent of STD tests done at CSU were done by women, and only 20 percent done by men. In 2013, the numbers increased to 70 percent women and 30 percent men. The GYT is continuing to work to increase the number of men that get tested.

“I think for the most part men are worried about having to do something embarrassing or overly invasive during the test,” said Chad Wachsmanm, a junior studying engineering. “I like that this campaign is clearing that up. Getting tested is the responsible thing to do for anyone that is sexually active.”

Students can schedule an appointment at the CSU Health Network website or by phone at (970) 491-7121. Walk-ins are also accepted at Hartshorn Health Center.

Collegian reporter Emery Love can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @emerynlove

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