Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the rise, presenting a challenge to the well-being of millions of individuals across the nation. In April 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2019 report, which showed that STIs reached an all-time high with an increase in chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis infections.
Enhancing access to STI testing in college students is vital; the CDC estimates that almost half of STIs are diagnosed in individuals aged between 15-24 years of age. Left untreated, STIs can have serious health consequences for the infected individual and can also be passed on predominantly by sexual contact. Early detection can substantially mitigate adverse health consequences and reduce the spread of infection.
According to Barrie Baker, MD, MBA, Wellfleet Student’s Chief Medical Officer, “for students who are sexually active, it’s important to test when indicated due to symptoms or exposure not only for their safety, but for that of others they may be intimate with. Remote self-collection kits can provide convenient access, helping improve testing rates. This can aid in reducing the spread of STIs and decrease serious consequences of untreated STIs such as infertility.”
Testing is vital to controlling the spread of STIs. Despite the availability of highly accurate laboratory-based tests, however, the uptake of routine STI screening in young people is low, which has been attributed to numerous factors including the stigma associated with attending STI clinics, embarrassment, and the inconvenience of having to go to a brick-and-mortar testing location to have a sample collected.
Transportation is a key barrier students face when seeking care. Typically, college students do not have easy access to their own vehicles and rely on bikes, public transportation, and other methods of transportation. Private and discreet self-collection kits located right on-campus or shipped to their residence increases convenience and access to care.
Another key barrier students encounter when seeking this type of care is the anxiety and stigma associated with seeking testing from a specialized STI clinic. Meeting students where they are and providing a convenient way to understand their STI status is important to help reduce transmission.
Studies have shown that college students are open to self-sample collection. Self-collection that is done remotely is private, discreet and can provide an option that students are more willing to adopt.
binx health offers highly accurate, convenient, and easy-to-use remote programs for testing that utilize self-collection and will help combat the rise in sexually transmitted infections on campus without the additional burden on your Student Health Center’s staff.