by RIKKILYNN SHIELDS & DIERDRE LEDLY, Editor & Staff Writer
Attending any college or university across the nation comes with a new age of freedom. With this freedom comes meeting new people and having new experiences. Often, these experiences and explorations include dating, alcohol consumption and even drug usage.
When combined, these experiences can often lead to unprotected sex and sexually transmitted diseases.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or the CDC, students aged 15-24 make up a one-fourth of the sexually active population. With that said, this age group represents one-half of the annual STD cases in the United States.
On top of that, only 52 percent of students use condoms during sexual intercourse. This means learning the hard way, by contracting STDs at twice the rate of all other age groups.
This trend, however, occurs for a number of reasons, including pressure in the hook-up culture, forgoing the use of condoms due to females believing oral contraceptives protect from disease, a lack of communication and education, being under the influence, etc.
While STD testing is offered on most major college and university campuses in health centers, STD testing is a very serious and intimidating topic to discuss, especially on a college campus.
Students at Manhattan College are able to use a plethora of free resources offered on campus, such as the Counseling Center and Health Services. One of the many services the Health Center offers is STD testing.
The nurse practitioner on Manhattan College’s campus, Amy Dall, came forward with a statement to the Quad on March 20 regarding the services at the Health Center.
“Health Services strives to offer full comprehensive services for all health related conditions. Sexually transmitted disease (STD) counseling, screening, testing and treatment are offered to all students seeking care and also offered to any student who may be found at risk that present for other reasons. These tests are confidential, we can not release any information to anyone unless we receive written permission from the student and in New York State, this includes anyone under the age of 18.”
The statement continued.
“There are certain diseases that are reported to New York State Department of Health as required by state law. We can not control what information the laboratory will send to your primary insurance holder, in many cases this is your parents. If concerns over testing through insurance are voiced, we also offer referrals and resources for free testing in the NYC area through the department of health.”
Compared to other schools in the surrounding area, Manhattan College’s Health Services web page lacks a lot of information.
New York University’s website states that their Health Services offers students just about anything and everything from STD testing, to getting a prescription for glasses or contacts.
While NYU does have a lot of information on their website, it is a very different school than MC.
Fordham University also has a page on sexually transmitted infection testing and notes that it is free for most students. If the student does not have health insurance, they pay a small price and will still be accepted and cared for.
On the Manhattan College website, it states that Health Services offers students that need “Diagnosis and treatment of minor or acute illnesses” as well as “Diagnostic testing: lab screenings, cultures and blood work – billed to students’ health insurance.” However, it does not specifically state that Manhattan College health services offers students STD testing.
“Our website includes a general heading for services, one category listed is ‘diagnostic testing, lab screening, cultures and blood work.’ This general statement is utilized because we offer a full range of testing, i.e. Mono, anemia, infections, hepatitis, HIV, STDs, kidney infections, basically for almost any condition and the list is extensive. We are continually striving to improve our services and communication with the students, our website is always a work in process,” Dall said.
While MC does offer confidential STD tests, most students on campus are unaware that STD tests, and many other services are offered right here on campus.
Senior Phoebe Torsilieri has attended Manhattan College since her freshman year and said that she was unaware that Manhattan offered STD testing.
“I’m really impressed with Manhattan College. I think it’s really important for educational institutions to provide free STD testing to their students. Regardless of our college’s religious affiliation, we as students deserve resources like this to keep us safe. I just wish the student body was more informed of this. I didn’t know the school offered this service until right now,” said Torsilieri.
Sophomore Chris Nuzzo heard of the college offering STD testing prior to the interview and believes that it is important that more students be made aware of this service.
“I knew the school offered STD testing, and I think it’s something that more students should know is offered on campus because, being that we’re in an age of technology and hook-up culture where a lot of people are having unsolicited sex with one another, people need to be tested for STDs/STIs way more often. It’s great that our school offers this, especially for those who might not otherwise be able to get tested with fear of their parents finding out,” Nuzzo said.
As college students transition to adulthood and get used to the newfound freedom that comes along with the college experience, it is a student’s right to be made aware of what the college has to offer, especially in the realm of healthcare.