Students access free STI testing at LGBT Resource Center

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Small plushies representing HIV (left) and Syphillis (right) sit on a table surrounded by important information about safe-sex. The LGBT Recource center at Holton Hall held free HIV testing for students at campus on Tuesday. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

Positive Connections offered free HIV and syphilis testing Tuesday at Kansas State in the LGBT Resource Center.

Dustin Pfamatter, outreach and testing coordinator for Positive Connections, said half of all sexually active people will contract a sexually transmitted infection by the age of 25.

“Out of the 25 to 30 students we test today, half of them will have an STI at some point,” Pfamatter said.

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Smiling with plushies in hand, Dustin Pfamatter, outreach and testing coordinator for Positive Connections, said the plushies represent HIV (left) and syphilis (right). The LGBT Resource Center in Holton Hall held free HIV and syphilis testing for students on campus Tuesday. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

The testing process in the LGBT Resource Center began with paperwork. Students then received a small prick to their finger for the HIV test. The results took 20 minutes for this test. For syphilis testing, a blood test was required with results expected in two weeks. The entire process lasted about 30 minutes for each student.

According to the organization’s website, Positive Connections is Kansas’ “first and most progressive” AIDS agency. It was founded in 1985 as the Topeka AIDS Project, and later underwent a name change to Positive Connections in 2011.

Pfamatter said Positive Connections aims to educate the public about sexual health.

“Unfortunately, people aren’t getting the education they need to understand HIV and AIDS,” Pfamatter said. “That’s part of what we do. We give them that education.”

Elli Hager, graduate student assistant in the LBGT Resource Center, said the free testing is important to college students because it helps promote safe sex, provides necessary resources to students with STIs and decreases negative stigmas. Hager said this is why the LGBT Resource Center has partnered with Positive Connections to bring free testing to K-State every month.

“If we keep doing it once a month and open it up past the LGBT community, we might just be able to make a small dent in the stigma,” Hager said.

The next free testing event will be March 8.

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