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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Student Health Services offers free testing at Beutel

Beutel+Health+Center+is+hosting+free+self-referral+testing+for+sexually+transmitted+diseases.
Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Beutel Health Center is hosting free self-referral testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

In honor of Lab Professionals Week, Student Health Services is hosting free testing for sexually transmitted diseases at the A.P. Beutel Health Center. Testing will be held in the basement of Beutel Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tests offered include HIV and syphilis on Monday and Tuesday, chlamydia and gonorrhea on Wednesday and Thursday and blood type tests on Friday.
According to the SHS website, Lab Professionals Week is dedicated to celebrating the individuals who play key roles in the field of health care. The website said nearly 300,000 practitioners, medical lab professionals and pathologists in the United States play a vital role in the diagnosis and prevention of disease.
Jo Ann Culpepper, medical laboratory administrator at SHS, said she is helping promote a healthier campus by pairing with the state to keep students informed about their sexual health.
“Our motto is to help students ‘Stay Well, Do Well,’” Culpepper said. “We recognize the need to make this testing available on campus. The SHS laboratory performs [more than] 30,000 laboratory tests each year. We are partnering with the Texas Department of State Health Services to provide this testing at no cost to students.”
Health Promotion, a program under the Office of Student Life, works with SHS to promote healthy lifestyles for students at Texas A&M, according to the student life website. Culpepper said she hopes hosting events such as the free testing clinic will raise awareness about these diseases and prevent their spread on the A&M campus.
“Increased awareness combined with no cost may prompt students to get tested,” Culpepper said. “Our hope is that this will prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and further educate students on what we have to offer at Student Health Services.”
Culpepper, who runs the testing lab and orchestrated this week’s program, said the entire testing process is brief.
“Students will be asked to complete an intake form with contact information and a brief medical history,” Culpepper said. “The whole process, including the actual testing, will take 10-15 minutes for most students.”
Current students do not need to schedule an appointment to be seen for the free testing clinic, according to Culpepper. She said the clinic has made arrangements to see as many students as possible.
“We can accommodate at least 300 students per day,” Culpepper said. “Students can come to the SHS and self-refer for over 20 tests and can expect to be contacted within three weeks of the day they are tested.”
Rajanea Banks, communication junior, said she believes students should get tested for STDs multiple times a year. Because of the accessibility to the free testing, she said she will always participate in the free clinic.
“I feel that we should be tested for STDs at least two to three times a year to help decrease the spreading of STDs,” Banks said. “I have talked to more than one person that [has] contracted [an] STD from someone on campus. There should be more advertisement throughout the town and more free testing so that people can know their status and be treated if needed.”
Elizabeth Ramirez, English junior, said it is important for students to know their health status.
“I think the free testing is a great idea because it’s very important to get tested if you’ve had more than one sexual partner or if your sexual partner has had more than one sexual partner,” Ramirez said. “I will be participating because I think it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
For more information, students can contact Student Health Services At (979) 458-8310 or visit shs.tamu.edu/Lab.

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