Sexual Healthcare on Campus

Sexual Healthcare on Campus

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Forking over $40 for a consultation plus another $20 for the Plan B pill at Planned Parenthood was a small price to pay for the peace of mind it afforded her once the whole ordeal was behind her.

“After a night of bad decision making, I knew it was time to make some good ones,” Lisa said. “I knew I had to get tested for STD’s and HIV, and I also wanted to take emergency contraception, just in case. I knew it would make me feel better and as they say ‘better safe than sorry.’”

After the trek to the closest Planned Parenthood facility for the emergency contraception pill, Lisa, an undergrad at Northeastern University, then made her way cross town to Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) for the walk-in hours of the Sexually Transmitted Disease Unit. This is the free infectious diseases clinic MGH offers to the public. There, she was able to get tested for all STDs plus HIV for free. Had she chosen to get tested at Planned Parenthood, she would have to pay about $20 for each test.

What Lisa did not know was that she could have gotten all of these services for free from the health center at her university.

Most college students know they are among the highest sexually active age group in the nation. What they may not know is that this age range (18-24) also has the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. They also, like Lisa, may not know exactly where to go for sexual health care. Universities, colleges and clinics around Boston have a wide, yet differing range of sexual health care options available to students.

“There is so much misinformation, it just boggles the mind,” said Pamela Harris, public relations spokesperson for Northeastern University’s Lane Health Center. “It is so important that students know what is available to them.”

Planned Parenthood, located at 1055 Commonwealth Ave., near the Boston University campus, is perhaps the biggest sexual health care provider in the area. However, their services do not come cheap and for college students on a budget, other options need to be explored. Many students must rely on their college’s health center for sexual health care services, and depending on which university you attend, health center services vary.

“I would imagine that my school, one of the most expensive in the country, would provide everything I needed, from sexually transmitted disease testing to abortive pills in case of pregnancy,” said Alexis Eskenazi, communications major at Boston University.

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