UNB held an STI self-screening pop-up session on Nov. 21, aiming to combat high rates of STIs among student age groups as well as the stigma around STI testing.
Sexually transmitted infections, notably chlamydia and gonorrhea, have had an increasingly widespread presence in university students over the past several years.
Chlamydia continues to be the most prevalent STI in Canada, which is highest in those aged 20 to 24.
According to the World Health Organization, the majority of STIs have no symptoms or only mild symptoms that may not be recognized as an STI.
The most prevalent STIs among young adults often don’t show any symptoms, which is why routine testing is so vital.
It is estimated that about three quarters of people who have chlamydia show no symptoms at all.
This rise in sexually transmitted infections can be partly attributed to a lack of regular testing for sexually transmitted and blood borne infections (STBBI).
STIs are still stigmatized as gross and dirty, so for most people, picking up the phone and booking an appointment can be awkward and humiliating. To protect yourself and your partner(s), regular testing is an important duty.
The University of New Brunswick is making STI screening for students easier. UNB offered its third pop-up session to students who wish to get tested for sexually transmitted and blood borne infections (STBBI).
The purpose of the DIY screenings are to break the stigma around sexual health by allowing students to test for STIs alone.
The pop-up had gender neutral bathrooms available for testing, and all results are confidential.
Getting tested for STIs is not intended to be a horrifying experience. Because so many infections do not show symptoms, there is no way of knowing if you have come into contact with an infection or not. The only way to protect yourself—and others—is to routinely get tested.