STI testing available outside of on-campus medical facilities
With sexually transmitted infection testing no longer free at Foust Medical Clinic, students may want to turn elsewhere after Valentine's Day for their yearly check-up. They should, however, still be ready to pay a fee.
STI testing is available around the city of Mount Pleasant at McLaren-Central Michigan's emergency room, Central Michigan District Health Department and by asking a general physician. A 2015 report from the Center for Disease Control stated three notifiable STIs — chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis — have increased for the first time since 2006. Nationally, there has been 1.4 million documented cases of the STIs since the diseases were researched in 2013.
Regardless of where a student chooses to get tested, however, costs will be calculated based on the severity of the infection and the type of insurance.
Melissa DeRoche, emergency preparedness coordinator and public information officer for the Central Michigan District Health Department, said students should contact their local health department branch to figure out the costs associated with getting tested.
"We bill insurances or use a sliding fee scale for low income male and female patients," she said.
Along with STI testing, the Health Department also offers pregnancy tests, morning after supplies, birth control supplies, male and female condoms and several programs associated with HIV care and testing.
At McLaren-Central Michigan, the situation is no different. The costs of STI tests are determined by insurance and the type of disease or infection.
Kelly Jones, nurse manager for the emergency department at McLaren-Central, said students should be tested for STIs depending on how sexually active they are and the types of protection they use in the bedroom.
"The piece of mind that comes with STI tests (is) to know if you actually are carrying any type of disease so you can handle it (and) not pass it on to other partners and they're not passing it on to other partners," she said. "If you have a (sexually transmitted) infection and not know it, you could do damage to your body. It's important to handle that in a timely manner."
The CDC reported nearly "half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted diseases diagnosed each year" are among young people ages 15 to 24 years. People between those ages account for almost two-thirds of the reported STI cases.
Jones said this number can be brought down by doing several simple things: using protection, knowing your partner and in some cases, outright abstinence.
For sexually active students, both Jones and the CDC recommend getting tested at least once a year.