Wednesday, September 18

Ashe offers STD testing


The UCLA Arthur Ashe Health and Wellness Center offers testing
for sexually transmitted infections to all students, a confidential
and inexpensive service which may be unknown to many.

Some UCLA students say they have hardly seen or heard
information about STDs on campus or the testing available to them
through the Ashe Center. “Orientation was the only time in
college I heard about using sexual protection,” said Sandra
Valencia, a second-year Chicana/o studies student.

Other students add that they have heard little about sexually
transmitted infection testing while at UCLA.

“I personally haven’t heard anything at UCLA (about
STDs) or testing ““ although it’s an important issue
that should be addressed,” said Steven Louis, a third-year
sociology student.

Yet to the staff working at the Ashe Center, “there never
seems to be a lack of people coming in for (STD testing)
services,” said Ann Brooks, an Ashe Center nurse
practitioner.

Approximately 10 students will come in requesting STD testing
each day, Brooks added.

Of the individuals who knew of STD testing at the Ashe Center,
most weren’t clear about how much it would cost.

There is a lack of public knowledge regarding the cost and
process of testing, said Nathan Lee, a third-year mechanical
engineering student. Students Gary Hsu and Valencia assumed the
testing would be free, but were not sure.

After students go through testing, they may or may not get their
test results back. Contrary to normal testing procedures, only
students who tested positively or abnormally for STDs will be
notified by e-mail.

For students whose test results show no signs of infection, no
notification is given, said Michelle Pearson, director of Ancillary
Services at the Ashe Center. So if students do not receive an
e-mail they can assume they do not have an STD.

There is not enough support to do automatic test results or a
follow-up of all the students tested, she explained.

The existence of STDs among students is one of the main reasons
why Women’s Health Services and Men’s Services will
always be in the Ashe Center, said Brooks.

According to the Ashe Center Web site, Women’s Health
Services provides care for health needs specific to women, such as
treatment of gynecological problems, family planning services and
testing.

The Men’s Clinic diagnoses and treats health conditions of
men, including genital and urinary problems.

The Men’s Clinic also began offering free and confidential
HIV testing last year for all students. HIV-diagnosed patients will
not be treated at the center, but will be referred to another
hospital or clinic.

The Ashe Center serves as a confidential place for students to
obtain important information and sexual protection items.

STD information cards and condoms can be found on the second and
third floor, respectively, of the Women’s and Men’s
Services.

In fact, Brooks encourages that all females talk to
Women’s Services about contraception, STDs and general
women’s health examinations before they become sexually
active. They don’t even have to be tested or have a check-up,
she added.

“Some students are tested off-campus because they think
their anonymity is better protected there,” said Pearson.

But the Ashe Center goes through extensive measures to take care
of students, including their privacy, Pearson added.

If STD testing is needed and performed, a $10 fee will be
charged to students not covered by the UCLA Student Health
Insurance Plan. The STD test results will generally be available
after a week, said Brooks.

If and only if test results are positive or abnormal, the
student will receive an e-mail indicating that a message is waiting
for them at the Ashe Center Web site. From there, students will
schedule a follow-up appointment and receive more information
concerning their condition.

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