I never quite understood just how positive and empowering good sex could be until my first clinic visit for sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing. Once I got tested, I understood how knowing my status could help me feel comfortable and confident with my partners and teach me how I could help them do the same. So now I tell everyone who will listen not only about how important STI testing is, but also how great it can be! This is why we at The Wellness Centre have teamed up with Student Health Services to promote on campus drop in STI testing on Wednesday March 12th, from 2-4 pm.
On my first visit I didn’t have any symptoms, and I wasn’t asked to go by anyone. I just felt that as a sexually active student I owed it to myself. I was seen by a friendly nurse who wasn’t interested in lecturing me on condom use, but instead spoke to me like a responsible adult and helped me understand the risks I faced and how I could avoid them. The testing was quick and painless, and after I got my results back I felt like a new person.
Student Health Services tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV by using both blood and urine samples. There are no painful swabs or invasive procedures. The blood samples are usually taken from a vein in the arm and require only a small amount of blood. The urine samples require that you hold off on urinating for two hours before your appointment, which may require a bit of planning, but it ensures an accurate test. Results are delivered over the phone; the clinic will call you only if there is a positive result which usually occurs in less than two business days. You can also feel that your privacy is respected as the test results are confidential and can only be accessed by you.
If you can’t make the drop-in appointments just call Student Health Services (604.822.7011), they can usually see you within one day. There are also many centres across the lower mainland that specialize in STI testing, or you can always visit a walk-in clinic or your family doctor.
As a Wellness Peer, I know that not all students at UBC are sexually active. However for those who are, I’ve learned that having good sex includes a few key things like: knowing your status, getting consent, and using protection. If you want some more information about STI testing or other sexual health info you can drop by the UBC Wellness Centre in the basement of Irving K. Barber Library and speak with a Wellness Peer, or check out students.ubc.ca/livewell
Take pride in your sexual health and if you’re going to have sex… have good sex!
James P. Connell