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Sexual Discourse: Know yourself

Getting tested for STDs too important to ignore

 by Erika Wurst  published on Thursday, March 3, 2005

<em>Danielle Peterson / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE</em><br>Communications senior Mac Lomax says he gets tested for STDs every six months.  
/issues/arts/692276
Danielle Peterson
Danielle Peterson / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
Communications senior Mac Lomax says he gets tested for STDs every six months.
 
<em>Danielle Peterson / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE</em><br>Special education senior Ariana Mejin says she's never been with a guy who hasn't been tested.
/issues/arts/692276
Danielle Peterson
Danielle Peterson / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
Special education senior Ariana Mejin says she's never been with a guy who hasn't been tested.
 

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Taking any kind of test is nerve wracking. Whether it's math, science or English, confusing Scantron sheets and dull No. 2 pencils are enough to make anyone's heart race.

But the hardest test to take isn't one that will determine whether you will graduate on time. It's the one that will determine whether you may be harboring a deadly virus or a sexually transmitted disease.

And while STD tests may be scary, they are ultimately more important than almost any other test you will take.

That's why the San Francisco City Clinic started offering online STD testing after a recent syphilis outbreak among gay men in the city. The online testing is perfect for those who are either too embarrassed or too busy to make it to an actual clinic.

Those using the services can print out a slip online that contains an ID number, get their blood taken at a number of locations, wait three to seven days and check back online for their anonymous results.

At ASU, students don't have the luxury of online testing. But the Student Health and Wellness Center on campus conducts tests for the human papilloma virus, HIV herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia and other diseases. Prices vary depending on each test.

Female students are required to make an appointment by calling (480) 965-3349. Men can just walk in, but an appointment is recommended.

Folks at the Health and Wellness Center say some students come in regularly, but they want to see more. So this week, SPM decided to query students about their own testing habits, whether they feel it's important, and what can be done to spread the word.

Who: Communication senior Mac Lomax
Where: Looking lonely on a bench.

SPM: Have you ever had an STD test?

Lomax: Yes. I do a six-month check-up. I have since first semester my freshman year.

SPM: Wow, good for you. And why do you feel it's important to do this?

Lomax: Just to know if I have anything. I don't want to get anything or give anything to anyone else.

SPM: And when you get tested, where do you go?

Lomax: I go to my dad's place in California. He's a doctor and his nurses take care of me. But around here, I'd probably go to Health and Wellness, where all of my friends go.

SPM: You sound like a pro at this; do you still get nervous waiting for results?

Lomax: Yep, still. I'm nervous every single time. You never know what you might have gotten.

SPM: Is it important to you that your partner gets tested, as well?

Lomax: I'm more kind of worried about myself. I'm generally more promiscuous than my partners are.

SPM: So, in your opinion, why don't more people go and get tested?

Lomax: No one wants to know. It's easier to start younger because you've been with less people and are less likely to have something. After you've had multiple partners, it's harder to get tested.

SPM: Do you think the idea of online STD testing is a good one?

Lomax: Yeah, but people will be just as nervous. I have tons of friends that don't get tested because they don't want to know.

SPM: What do you think will raise awareness about these issues and get people into the clinics?

Lomax: In general, there needs to be more awareness. Testing isn't talked about that much. I don't see stuff on campus promoting it. Maybe there is; I just don't see it.

Who: Special education senior Ariana Mejia
Where: Hanging outside the MU.

SPM: Have you ever been tested for STDs?

Mejia: Yes, I have. You get all the Pap smear stuff, then I get STD testing and my blood tests done once a year.

SPM: And why is this important for you to do?

Mejia: The truth is because there are sluts at ASU. You never know who you're with and you can't always see an STD.

SPM: When you do get tested, where do you go?

Mejia: Usually Student Health and Wellness. I know Planned Parenthood does testing, but I've never been there.

SPM: Tell me about the dreaded waiting period before you get results. What's that like for you?

Mejia: Even if you know you don't have anything, even if you're positive, when you get the call, it's still scary.

SPM: When you're with somebody, how important is it to you that he gets tested, also?

Mejia: It's very important. I've never been with anybody who hasn't been tested. I'll usually bring it up once the making out begins. It's easier to do it in the beginning than it is later on.

SPM: What does being tested mean to a relationship?

Mejia: It allows you to be more intimate. You can go in with a full heart and maybe it will accelerate sex a little quicker.

SPM: Why do you think people don't get tested?

Mejia: I think ignorance is one reason. Fear is another. It's a lot easier to pretend you don't have it. You assume because you don't see bumps or a rash that it doesn't exist.

SPM: What could be done to get more people into the clinics to get tested?

Mejia: Well, the more public it is, the less nervous people will be about it. We'll be able to stop STDs before your penis falls off.

Reach the reporter at erika.wurst@asu.edu.




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