Posters can be put up, emails can be sent, and the information can be provided, but getting a STI screening is not a simple process for a student in Dublin.
A study of 500 Irish people, carried out by Durex at the end of 2017, revealed that 68% of those surveyed have never had an STI check while 54% have never asked a partner if they’d recently had an STI check.
DCU provides full STI screenings in the student health centre, but at a cost of €40. They provide a basic level STI screening, that only checks for chlamydia and gonorrhoea free of charge.
If you are diagnosed with an STI, you will then be referred to St. James’ hospital for treatment, to their GUIDE clinic. This is a free clinic, but to attend you have to be there at ungodly hours of the morning, to get in a queue to be seen, as they only see 25 walk-in patients a day.
A student who wishes to remain anonymous spoke to Campus about the process of being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection.
“I received a call two weeks after my STI screening in the student health centre in DCU, to be told I had gonorrhoea, and that I have to come back in to speak to the nurse. The nurse was so lovely and reassuring, and she referred me to James’ hospital to receive my treatment, ” they said.
“I was so worried as I had also associated having an STI with being so disgusting, but yet I didn’t have any symptoms at all.”
“I had to go to James’ to be re-tested and get a blood test done as the check I got in DCU doesn’t take your bloods; which tests for things like HIV and AIDS. I then had to receive an injection in the hospital as part of the treatment, and go on a week-long course of antibiotics,” they continued.
“While in St. James’ GUIDE clinic, I had to meet with the sexual advice counsellor, who had to go through what I had to do from here. He told me that I had to inform all of the people I had been with that I have an STI, and that they should go get checked too. I was dreading that so much, I couldn’t bear the thought of the embarrassment.”
“What worried me the most, was the advisor told me that gonorrhoea is very hard to clear because it’s becoming resilient to the antibiotics. I thought you could just clear all of them with antibiotics,”
“I was lucky and it cleared, but the whole process was horrific, and was a huge lesson for me. It’s honestly not worth having unprotected sex. I also learned that you can contract an STI even if you do use a condom, so chose the people you sleep with very carefully” they finished.
DCU has made serious improvements in their aim to encourage students to get an STI screening during the last college year. The Students Union have included the basic level of STI screenings in their annual budget, allowing them to be free of charge to students. But these basic level screenings do not test for all sexually transmitted infections.
For more information on how to get an STI check and common symptoms, click here.
You can get 25% off a home STI test kit with Campus.ie.
Still here? Check this out: Joshua Has Wilder In His Sights After Parker Victory