On November 8, 2016, the Student Wellness Centre along with the Niagara Public Health organization will be hosting a totally free STI testing event for students and faculty at Brock. The event, which is now an annual tradition that has been running for two years, allows for students and faculty to anonymously and confidentially come in to the on-campus site and perform a non-invasive test for commonly-spread sexually transmitted infections among the university-age population, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.
With 677 cases of Chlamydia being reported within the first half of 2016 by the Niagara Regional Public Health program, the easily detectable and treatable illness, causes symptoms such as burning and irritation in the genitals (especially when urinating), and abnormal discharge. If not treated, infection can develop into severe long-term health effects, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, causing permanent damage to the internal reproductive system, infertility,, and a potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy (one which develops outside of the uterus.) According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), untreated chlamydia may also result in a likelier chance of giving or receiving Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) the precursor the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndome (AIDS), though further investigation is currently being conducted.
“Gonorrhea rates have increased by over 92 per cent in the last two years,” according to a representative from Niagara Public Health, “and 60 per cent of infections of chlamydia in the Niagara region occur between the ages of twenty and twenty-four.” Keeping this in mind, these are only the numbers that are reported and publicly released. There could be many other cases that go unreported in the region, and since these infections can often come without serious or noticeable symptoms, many will not get tested or treated, even though the test is non-invasive and easy, safe, and relatively fast.
There is also undoubtedly a stigma that goes along with these infectious diseases due to their relevance to sexual health and safety. Many students are afraid to get tested simply due to personal embarrassment in doing so or they are afraid of information getting out to their peers or family. The Student Wellness Centre and Student Health Services aim to lessen and even eliminate the social taboo about getting tested. Students from all backgrounds are welcomed to come out the event on November 8, or if they are uncomfortable doing so that day, they can visit many locations on and off campus to obtain advice and seek treatment and testing. As the event will only be testing for infections whose testing are easily done in a large scale event such as this (chlamydia & gonorrhea), students are encouraged to seek testing in other facilities if they are worried they may be carrying other sexually-transmitted infections such as HIV, HPV, and syphilis.
The STI testing event will be held on Nov. 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre, and pizza and refreshments will be available for all students who wish to participate. For more information on how you can get tested for free or low-cost at Brock and in the surrounding Niagara Region, please do not hesitate to contact or visit The Hub for Wellness on campus (located across from the BUSU office), Student Health Services (ext. 3243), or the Niagara Region Public Health Program at 1-800-263-7248. You can also get in contact with Telehealth Ontario, which provides fast and free information and resources in coordination with the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) at