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Davis, California

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Letter to the Editor: Response to STI Testing opinion

We as Student Assistants at Health Education and Promotion (HEP) at Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) would like to address some of the concerns presented in the May 2 guest opinion piece regarding Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) testing accessibility and the climate of sex positivity on campus. Firstly, we would like to say that we are concerned that the student had what they felt to be a negative experience when trying to get tested. From our time working here we know that the professional staff at SHCS strive to create a safe and non-judgemental atmosphere.

We strongly encourage students to utilize the resources available at SHCS. We believe that sexual health is crucial to overall well-being, and we try to make it as easy as possible for students to get tested. In fact, we just ended our “Are You Positive You’re Negative?” campaign that informs students about our chlamydia testing resources. We also support students taking control of their sexual health by having multiple ways to schedule STI-testing appointments (such as over the phone or online via Health-e-Messaging), as well as providing free, anonymous HIV testing and low cost screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea.

In addition to the services available in the clinic, the Love Lab, our mobile cart that provides safer sex products at no charge, has been part of our campus outreach since 2007. It is always stocked with information on low-cost or free community resources related to HIV and STI testing. More recently, we have produced a guide to healthy sexual communication entitled, “How to be Sexcessful”, and have created a campaign to address this issue. Our goal is to empower students to talk openly and without shame about sex so that they can have happier, healthier sex lives. In addition, through our website, we provide a HIV- and STI-testing map for those who prefer online resources. Students with questions about SHCS STI testing services can visit shcs.ucdavis.edu/sti.

As students who value access to quality sexual health care we have confidence that SHCS leadership welcomes input about how to best meet the needs of students. We hope all who are part of the university community will continue the discussion about how we can work together to provide optimal sexual health services on our campus.

Sam Wall and Rosa Gonzalez
Sexual Health Student Assistants
Health Education and Promotion

Merril Lavezzo
MPH Candidate
Social Media Coordinator
Health Education and Promotion

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