Salt Lake Community College’s Center for Health and Counseling wants to talk about sex.
The CHC held a “Spread Love Not STIs” event at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus on Feb. 8-9, inviting students to learn more about sexual health and sexually transmitted infections, as well as treatment and prevention options offered by the college.
Whitney Ockey, promotional manager at the CHC, said it’s important for the college to offer judgment-free health education and information to students.
“A lot of students, especially if they grew up here in Utah, didn’t get the proper health education that they need as far as sex goes,” Ockey said. “A lot of students are coming from an abstinence-only based mentality.”
The center’s team hosted a table on the ground floor of the busy Academic and Administration Building and handed out treats, stickers, pins, condoms and pamphlets providing STI information on the leading infections affecting college-age adults like gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia.
”[The handouts cover] all of the main ones we see in younger populations,” Ockey said. “We also cover what they are, how they’re spread, how to prevent them, how they can be tested and treated.”
According to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, teens and adults between the ages of 15-24 account for almost half of the 26 million annual cases of new STIs across the country.
According to Ockey, the CHC offers STI testing and lab results for students, with prices ranging from $15-$18, and birth control prescriptions for around $30. The center provides these services at a significantly lower cost to students compared to health providers like Planned Parenthood, where birth control pills cost anywhere from $0-$50 plus the cost of an appointment with a physician.
Seeing a doctor or nurse at another provider can cost anywhere from $35-$250, but students can make appointments on campus for health screenings, physicals and well-women exams with certified nurse practitioners for about $15.
“I did not know about that,” said SLCC nursing student Kenley Nelson. “I think that’s really important.”
The center’s medical staff can also treat minor illness such as the cold or flu and minor wounds and provide medical testing for illnesses like tuberculosis or mononucleosis. Therapists also provide massages and counseling sessions.