Free STI testing event returns to campus

A public health event is being served up at Brock — with a side of pizza.

No health card is needed for members of the Brock community to take part in free and confidential sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing on Wednesday, Oct. 25.

A partnership between Brock’s Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre and Niagara Region Public Health, the event runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Sean O’Sullivan lobby. Participants will provide confidential urine samples in nearby bathrooms. The urine samples will then be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia.

As an added incentive for participating, students will receive a free slice of pizza.

Julie Fennell, Brock’s Health Promotion Educator, said an event focusing on sexual health and STI testing is particularly important for Brock’s student demographic.

“These infections are becoming increasingly prevalent,” she said of gonorrhea and chlamydia. “They are most common in men and women between the ages of 20 to 24. Half of all chlamydia infections occur within those four years.”

In the last seven years, STI rates have been on the rise. And with 80 per cent of those infected with chlamydia or gonorrhea having no symptoms, Fennel stressed that it is important to get tested regularly.

“Though the infections may be asymptomatic, they can lead to long-term concerns including infertility,” said Fennell. “This is just one of the reasons we encourage students to get tested before a relationship blossoms. It can be a great idea to get tested together before you have sex.”

Beyond the free pizza available for participants — catering to all dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten free — there will also be resources available to learn more about safe sex, as well as complimentary condoms and other items.

“This event promotes a healthier community, and encourages awareness of the importance of regular testing, which is a critical part of sexual health as a whole,” said Fennell. “ Last year we had 650 people participate, and we are hoping for even more this year.”

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