Get Yourself Tested week promotes STI awareness

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Jessica Bendzick/ Winonan

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, one in two people will contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI) by the age of 25. This is roughly half of the Winona State University student population by the time they graduate.

Last week, Winona State Health and Wellness Services, Bedsider, Winona State University and the Semcac Clinic teamed up to host Get Yourself Tested Awareness week. The weeklong series consisted of educational events, programs and activities to help raise awareness to students about the importance of STI testing and resources available in the Winona community.

“It’s important for students to understand how STIs are transmitted, so they can protect themselves and their future partners,” health and wellness promotion graduate student Shawnessy Mohawk said.

Monday night’s “Avoid the Stork with Bedsider” taught students how they can find the perfect birth control that is right for them. Last Tuesday students stopped by the Wellness Center and picked up free “Safe Sex Kits” and learned about the resources for STI testing.

Two different events took place last Wednesday. In the afternoon, Wellness Wednesday’s Bedpost Confessions discussion provided students with new ways of looking at sex and relationships. At night, Bedsider and Pure Romance by Kathreen Smith hosted “Sexy Trivia Night.” The trivia night included questions about contraception and STIs, and it gave students the opportunity to talk about their favorite sexy lines from movies.

Last Thursday, Winona State’s communication studies’ persuasion and advocacy students hosted a condom egg hunt. Students searched for eggs filled with condoms, facts and other resources.

STI testing was available for students throughout the week

The health and wellness services main focus last week was to teach students about the importance of regular STI screening. They also made efforts in increasing awareness about sexual health to allow students to feel more comfortable when talking about their sexual health with their partner, healthcare provider or family.

Mohawk believes in stressing the importance of regular STI testing amongst sexually active people.

“One of the most common misconceptions people have about sexually transmitted infections is that someone with an STI will always show symptoms. Often people with STIs don’t show any symptoms at all and can still pass the infections on to other people,” Mohawk said.

Health and wellness advocate president Ally Wadewitz said the primary purpose of Get Yourself Tested week was to teach students about contraceptives and STIs.

Overall, health and wellness services said they were pleased with the student turnouts they had.