Free, anonymous STI testing offered


Aubrey Anderson, Assistant News Editor

Buena Vista University students are now able to get free, anonymous, chlamydia and gonorrhea testing in campus Health Services, thanks to a program through Iowa Community Based Screening Services, funded by the Center for Disease Control.

Director of Health Services and Wellness Tami Laursen said this testing was created in part to fill a gap in availability in the area.

“This is something that we’ve seen as a need since our Planned Parenthood closed five years ago,” Laursen said.

The local Storm Lake Planned Parenthood, which closed in 2012, had offered free STI testing, but once it was gone, the closest location to be tested was Sioux City, Laursen said. However, the Sioux City clinic then closed down as well and there were no testing locations close to BVU. Health Services saw a need and partnered with Siouxland District Health to develop the free testing program now at BVU.

Laursen said the reason for focusing on chlamydia and gonorrhea testing was that they are the most prevalent STIs in the United States.

“We have them on our campus,” Laursen said. “If they don’t get tested, and they do not get treated, they are out there spreading it more and more.”

Laursen also noted that chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause life time problems in females, especially with fertility.

Health Services offers testing on Monday and Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. with a scheduled appointment. Appointments are necessary to ensure that two nurses are on staff. The first nurse meets with the patient and goes through an oral examination, while the second nurse makes sure that all the paperwork needed to send in the testing is filled out completely.

Laursen said that the testing process includes an oral exam. Then, an algorithm/flowchart is used during that oral exam and based on those results, the individual is asked to provide a urine sample, which is sent in along with the paperwork to be tested.

The entire process is anonymous and free to the student. Once the results come back, if the individual needs to be treated, Health Services also offers free treatment.

If students have questions or wish to be tested, Laursen encourages them to make an appointment and meet with the nurses in Health Services. They are there to answer questions, or assist in any way.