Month-long push to get students tested for STIs

Michelle Bair

Only two students attended the open house Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio hosted Thursday night at the Kent Health Center. The event on East Main Street was part of the Get Yourself Tested national campaign. Planned Parenthood partnered with MTV, and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation created the month-long campaign to raise awareness of the prevalence and prevention of sexually transmitted infections.

“Young women need to be getting involved because it is their reproductive right.” -Dana Day

Dana Day, volunteer connections manager, said this is the third year of the GYT national campaign, and the first open house in Kent.

“There has been a real push instead of calling it STDs, to call it STIs because disease sort of gives that impression that you can’t fix it,” Day said. “So many of them really are treatable.”

One in two people will get an STI by the age of 25 and won’t know about it, Day said. The GYT campaign strives to remove the stigmas and taboos that surround STI testing.

Diana Molnar, certified nurse practitioner and lead clinician, said teaching patients is what she enjoys the most. She has worked at Planned Parenthoods in Medina, Canton, Akron and Kent.

“I absolutely and positively love Kent because of the students,” Molnar said. “They are really smart and they want to learn. They want you to explain stuff.”

Molnar said about 70 percent of chlamydia is silent with women and 50 percent with men, meaning they show no symptoms. She also said the gonorrhea and chlamydia testing could be done with just urine.

“You do not need an exam to get tested for STDs,” she said. “It is very simple.”

The first 20 open-house attendees who wanted them received free testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia, as well as Rapid HIV tests. Rapid HIV tests are quick mouth swabs that can be detected in 20 minutes.

Every Friday in April, PPNEO will provide free testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia, as well as Rapid HIV tests at health centers in Akron, Canton, Cleveland and Old Brooklyn.

“Young women need to be getting involved,” Day said, “because it is their reproductive right.”

Contact Michelle Bair at [email protected].