Blog: Sexual Health Matters!

It’s now been more than a year since the STI (sexually transmitted infections) clinic closed down on campus. Students are being forced to seek off-campus guidance and support for their sexual health, involving at least an hour on the train to the nearest sexual health clinics in Bracknell, Slough or Guildford. These sexual health clinics have seen a stark rise in volumes of patients and longer waiting lists, which is even more challenging amidst a nation-wide drastic spending cuts

What has the SU been doing?

Work with the College on improving the GP Surgery is ongoing, but progress is slow on improving sexual health provisions on campus due to regional scarcity in sexual health supplies. This includes national shortages of Hepatitis A and B vaccines, which are conditions that disproportionately affect the LGBT+ community.

Since I brought free STI testing back on campus for students back in February 2018, the Students’ Union has also committed to having a stable supply of free condoms and STI test kits at our Advice Centre for students who need them.

What’s happening now?

The overwhelming response from last year’s STI test drive truly demonstrated the need for readily available and easy-to-access sexual health provision on campus.

While I continue my lobbying efforts in advocating for better resources at the GP Surgery on campus, I am also excited to announce there will be another STI and HIV Testing Day (for gonorrhoea, chlamydia and HIV), which will be taking place on Monday 1 October, 11am to 3pm at Medicine.

Last year, many of you also requested a HIV provision which the SU was unable to provide due to its cost (£24 per test). While you can request for a free HIV test kit online (delivered to your door in discreet packaging), we are excited to announce that Spectra, an organisation dedicated to providing sexual health support to diverse and marginalised communities, will be providing free HIV swabs for Royal Holloway students at the test day. There is no advance booking required, just show up and get yourself checked out!

 

Go Check Yourself: Willow has secured free and confidential test kits for gonorrhoea and chlamydia

Why now?

We know that the end of summer break and Freshers’ Festival are traditionally peak times for STIs to occur, and with the GP Surgery on campus failing to offer the necessary sexual health provision, the SU will continue to promote student wellbeing wherever possible.

What next?

Drop by Medicine on Monday between 11am and 3pm to get yourself checked out. There will also be an NHS Sexual Health Outreach Health Advisor on hand to answer your questions about sexual health.

There is a gender neutral toilet in Medicine. If you have other access requirements, please get in touch with voice@su.rhul.ac.uk.

If you have any other questions or ideas around how we can improve support for sexual health on campus, please email me or pop in to see me at the SU.

Willow Wong // Vice President, Welfare & Diversity