Sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) are at record levels in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 20 million new STDs are diagnosed every year. Nearly 50% of these new STDs are diagnosed among young people between the ages of 15-24, which includes college-aged people [1]. About one in four college students have an STI, and about 50% of college students will receive an STI in their lifetime [2]. While STIs are particularly common among college-aged students, many sexually active college students have never been tested.

Although getting tested for STIs is easier than ever, most people under the age of 25 are not taking advantage of its benefits. LetsGetChecked’s range of at-home Sexual Health Tests can help students overcome barriers to STI screening and increase testing participation on college campuses. Our home tests allow students to receive the timely and accurate diagnosis and treatment they need while maintaining their privacy and making the testing process more comfortable and convenient.

Barriers to STD screening engagement on college campuses

Despite various prevention and treatment efforts, the transmission of STIs on college campuses continues to be a significant health concern. Compared to other age groups, college-aged individuals are at a higher risk of acquiring STIs due to risky behaviors and a lack of knowledge and awareness about these infections. The main barriers to STI care on college campuses include a lack of available services, shame associated with seeking screening and treatment, long clinic wait times, and fear of testing methods. In-person appointments to receive STI testing can lack privacy and confidentiality, making students feel stigmatized, uncomfortable, and unwilling to access sexual health services.

Such barriers to STI screening subsequently delay diagnosis and treatment, which has severe implications for further transmission of infections and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes. Untreated STIs can lead to severe and long-term health complications, including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility in women and increased susceptibility towards HIV transmission.

How at-home STI tests can remove barriers to screening

As service accessibility is both a barrier and enabler to sexual health service usage, colleges must look for ways to ensure these services are provided in a safe and easily accessible environment. At-home STD testing in the college health setting can effectively and efficiently increase screening participation among asymptomatic students. The ability to self-test can increase testing uptake, catch at-risk students, and draw students who otherwise would not receive diagnostic testing to get the quality care they need. Introducing at-home STI testing will allow college STI testing programs to offer additional ways to interact with crucial health services.

This innovative way to expand the reach of college health services can create a more comfortable and accessible way to engage students in STI screening. While fear and stigma may prevent many college students from seeking STI care and treatment, at-home testing allows them to test quickly and conveniently from the comfort of their homes. According to a study conducted by the Journal of American College Health, students were most comfortable with testing procedures that involve less human interaction and collecting specimens themselves [3]. The ease of testing and confidentiality, along with the ability to self-collect their sample without the need for an in-person appointment, can help students feel more comfortable with seeking care.

Partner with LetsGetChecked to help more students receive STI care

At LetsGetChecked, we understand the importance of STI testing accessibility and how at-home tests can bridge gaps in care. Our range of home sexual health tests can meet your students where they are, providing them with convenient, confidential, and easy-to-use tests. After our CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited lab receives a student’s sample, their confidential results will be available from their secure account within two to five days. Keeping personal data secure is of the utmost importance to us. We use the appropriate technical and organizational measures to keep information secure and confidential.

Prompt identification and treatment are crucial to stop STIs from spreading throughout the campus community. LetsGetChecked can help make private STI testing widely available on campus. Implementing our range of sexual health tests offers students a discreet and easy alternative to test for common infections. Together, we can provide your campus with the sexual health insights they need to take action and avoid more serious health complications in the future. Contact our team today to learn more about our virtual healthcare solutions.