Student Wellness Center to host STI/HIV testing clinics

The Lantern
A new, one-minute HIV test being demonstrated at Metro Inclusive Health in 2019. Florida will receive 0.61 million in funding to expand HIV infection prevention and treatment efforts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Credit: Martha Asencio Rhine

The Student Wellness Center, in collaboration with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, resumed free HIV/STI this month for the first time since its suspension due to COVID-19.

Arianna Camel, associate director of the Student Wellness Center , said the center has three clinic dates set for the fall semester, with plans to expand testing to once every two weeks in the spring. According to the center’s website, testing began Sept. 19.

Camel said this testing provides students with the free and anonymous STI resources they need but haven’t had access to since before the pandemic.

“There’s a need for STI/HIV testing because there are students who want it, but are afraid to ask for help,” Camel said. “There are some students who want to separate their healthcare experience from their academic life.”

This restart also marks the beginning of the center’s partnership with Nationwide Children’s Hospital — which Katelyn Scott, senior media relations strategist for Nationwide Children’s, said in an email will provide its services and work to break down barriers to student sexual health.

“Our goals include continuing to provide OSU students with free HIV/STI testing throughout the fall semester and into the spring semester, educating students regarding preventative measures and risk factors associated with HIV/STIs, and increasing awareness of the FACES clinic services, including walk-in testing and PrEP initiation,” Scott said.

According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s website, the Family Aids Clinic and Educational Services program is a pediatric and family HIV clinic that serves more than 400 HIV-positive patients across central Ohio.

The FACES clinic also offers prevention services, including offering PrEP, a medication that reduces a person’s risk of getting HIV, according to its website.

Camel said the center is hoping to expand services to include partnerships with the Center for Belonging and Social Change and Hale Hall, where the Office of Diversity and Inclusion is housed.

“If there’s one thing I want to say, speaking to the student community, it’s if you don’t know your status, it’s OK,” Camel said. “Come get tested anyway. If you’re not sure how to have those conversations, come learn anyway. The biggest thing is the educational piece.”

The Student Wellness Center will host clinics Friday and Nov. 18 in RPAC B130 as well as in Hale Hall’s MLK lounge Oct. 21.

More information on testing locations, times and resources is available at the Student Wellness Center website .

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