Today is about breaking records and breaking the stigma, on Western University’s “Let’s Get Tested” day.
The annual day is dedicated to ending the stigma of getting tested for sexually transmitted infections. All students who take part do so anonymously.
Last year Western set a Guinness world record of 812 participants, with the University of Saskatchewan coming close in second place with 708. This year Western hopes to break the record with already 200 more hopeful guests than last year.
Professionals are testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia through urine.
“Half the reason I do it is because there’s no reason not to,” says Western student Elaina Fahey. “If all I have to do is pee in a cup, then why wouldn’t I?”
The test results go as simple as “no news is good news,” meaning if you receive a call within two weeks, the test is positive. No call, no STI.
Some students who study sexual health say the idea surrounding sexually transmitted infections create stigmas that shouldn’t exist because of how common they are.
“People think if someone has an STI that they are “dirty”, when in reality, anyone who has ever had unprotected sex can easily find themselves in the same position,” says Western Health Science student, John Lawrence. “Obviously condoms are necessary when it comes to having sex, but anyone who chooses not to use them should not be contributing to the stigma. STI testing shouldn’t be “embarrassing” or “shameful”, it should be educational.”
The event is put on by the University Student Council, who have provided pizza, donuts, and coffee for anyone getting tested.
“I mean if they’re offering free food, drinks, and testing, how could you not take up the opportunity?” says Fahey. “This kind of thing should never be about “ignorance is bliss.”
Middlesex London Health Unit are in partnership with the USC for the day, who also provide their own STI testing clinics on Mondays from 4:30PM-7:30PM, Wednesdays from 4:30PM-7:30PM, and Fridays from 8:30AM-10:30AM.