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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Tucson sexual health agencies provide STD tests for students on UA Mall

Tyler+Besh+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0AJazmyn+Carter+helps+pass+out+free+condoms+for+the+womens+resource+center+as+a+part+of+their+FORCE+campaign+Wednesday+April+17%2C+2013.
Tyler Besh
Tyler Besh / Arizona Daily Wildcat Jazmyn Carter helps pass out free condoms for the women’s resource center as a part of their FORCE campaign Wednesday April 17, 2013.

Local organizations gathered on the UA Mall to offer information about sexual health, free contraception methods and STD testing at the Get Yourself Tested Resource Fair on Wednesday.

The Get Yourself Tested campaign works to combat a frightening statistic: “1 in 2 sexually active young people will contract an STD by age 25, and most won’t know it,” according to the campaign’s website. The campaign, a partnership between MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation, is supported by a number of agencies, many of which were represented on campus in honor of STD Awareness Month.

Representatives from Campus Health Service, Feminists Organized to Resist, Create and Empower, the Pima County Health Department, Planned Parenthood, the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, the Student Health Advocacy Committee,the Southwest Institute for Research on Women and the Theresa Lee Clinic showed up to inform UA students about the importance of self-awareness when it comes to sex.

Carrie Hardesty, a health educator for Campus Health, said it is important for students to be sexually aware.

“We know that not all students are sexually active, but whether or not they are, they should have, and need to have, accurate and comprehensive sex education,” Hardesty said. “They can use the knowledge that they gain from this [resource] fair to protect themselves and their partners if and when they decide to become sexually active.”

Along with resources for sex education, there was also a mobile clinic where students could be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea, a service provided by Pima County Health at no cost. Free condoms, lube and other prizes were offered and a mascot called “Mr. Condom” also made an appearance.

Zoe Warren, a public health junior, started volunteering with Planned Parenthood six years ago and said students should make testing a priority.

“It is important for students to get tested because it is one of the only ways to tell if you really have something,” Warren said. “Many diseases or infections can go easily undetected. It is really easy and it is something that everyone can do.”

Samantha Balland, a freshman studying nursing, said she came to the event for the free items and that she appreciated the education provided.

“A lot of people aren’t aware of STDs that could be going around and you can’t see an STD that you may have,” Balland said. As far as getting tested, Balland said students shouldn’t feel embarrassed. “You’re in college, we all do [have sex]. It’s not a big deal.”

Rebecca Cline, a physiology freshman who stopped by the booths with a friend on the way to lunch, agreed that it’s important to get tested, regardless of whether people feel uncomfortable.

“It seems pretty obvious that people should get tested,” Cline said. “It is a big health concern. The
whole ‘ignorance is bliss’ thing doesn’t really work in this situation. You need to know and other people do too. You don’t want to be screwing people over — in more ways than one.”

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