On Thursday, Nov. 7, the women of the Delta Iota chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated partnered with the Foster John Health Center and the Office of Public Health to de-stigmatize sexually transmitted diseases on the campus of Grambling State University.
The ladies reserved most of the classrooms in the Favrot Student Union to create effective and confidential testing environments.
A little over 100 Grambling State University students showed up and got tested.
“When brainstorming for event ideas, we wanted to do something that is not always done. I know that personally, I’ve always been very open about sexual health, and doing what is necessary to ensure that I know my own personal status, and I saw that there was a decline in students actually prioritizing their health. So when I brought this idea to my sisters, I explained that not knowing your status puts other people in harms way,” said Sarah Renee Gardner, Program Planning and Development Chair for the Delta Iota chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, said.
Students signed in, filled out the medical forms and proceeded to get tested. They were able to get tested for STDs such as Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV. STIs are sexually transmitted infections that individuals contract are more likely to get when having unprotected sex.
Most people say STDs rather than STIs however, most of them are curable therefore they are infections rather than diseases.
One in two sexually active persons will contract an STI by age 25.
Earlier in the academic semester Grambling had an alarming number of new STI cases.
College students are more prone to STIs because of their lifestyle. They are more likely to use drugs and drink alcohol which leads to impulsive decisions.
“In addition to just knowing your status, there is an unsafe amount of ignorance surrounding STDs on this campus, and I’ve even heard some students say that they never even want to go into the health center because of fear of being judged,” said Garner.
“That always bothered me because one, the health center does more than just STD testing, and two, no one should ever feel ashamed about being proactive. So that was really why we wanted to host an open event. In the black community specifically, we have this notion to categorize STD free people as clean, and people with STDs as dirty, and that also has to stop”, Garner said.
According to PrioritySTDtesting.com, the best way to prevent STIs is through abstinence, however that is a far reach for a lot of college students.
Realistically, students should make sure that they get tested regularly. If you’re sexually active and under the age of 25, the Center for Disease Control recommends that you get tested at least yearly.
Knowing your status and the status of a partner or potential partner is essential to protect yourself from STIs in college.
Using protection, such as internal and external condoms, will also help, but they don’t protect against every kind of STI.