Health Promotions Aims to Break STI-Testing Record and Educate Students on Sexual Health

The USC Health Promotions portfolio plays an important role in ensuring the holistic wellness of students on Western’s campus. From hosting student health events to running informational campaigns on the various dimensions of wellness, Health Promotions is USC’s leading service for all things health related. 

The portfolio is led by Coordinator Camilla Parpia and assisted by a team of volunteers whose roles range from promotions to events. The goal of the portfolio is to ensure that students are equipped with the proper tools and knowledge to understand and take care of their health throughout the academic year and beyond.

Arguably the portfolio’s most popular annual event, Get Tested is happening again on Thursday, March 28th in the UCC. Last year, Get Tested broke the world record for the most number of people tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in a 12-hour period at 1,150. This year the portfolio hopes to once again break their own record.

Fourth-year Political Science student and Health Promotions VP Communications Shawn Dhue explained that breaking the record isn’t the focal point of the event. “There is a huge stigma surrounding sexual health and STI testing across campus and around world,” Dhue explained, “our portfolio aims to help break this stigma on Western’s campus through the Get Tested event.”

Dhue said that the Health Promotions team wants students to think of sexual health as an important part of their overall health, and not be dissuaded from practicing good sexual health, like getting tested for STIs, because of concerns of peer judgement. “Getting tested for STIs should be as normal as having a regular check-up with your family doctor.” 

In addition to free and confidential STI testing, the event also offers free food and popular Get Tested merchandise for all students who participate.

 Beyond Get Tested, the Health Promotions hosts several other events throughout the year, including “Lets Get Blunt”, which focused on raising awareness of the new Canadian cannabis laws and the dangers of unsafe cannabis consumption. The portfolio also hosts several smaller initiatives like self-care kit giveaways and informational booths on health topics.

 Dhue points out that a priority of the portfolio is to ensure that they are producing a wide range of events which touch on all dimensions of wellness, including those that are less known or less popular. “The most impactful part about this service is that we really focus on prevention and proactivity through our events, which caters to many students’ individual circumstances. Whether its learning about safe sex, cannabis consumption, or financial health, Health Promotions strives to educate students on any choice they make without the bias or judgement that they may find through other sources in their peer groups or online.”

 The USC believe that services such as Health Promotions are essential to providing our students with accurate information about taking care of their holistic health. Events such as Get Tested bring greater accessibility and awareness of vital health services for students, offered directly on Western’s campus.

Get Tested runs on Thursday, March 28th from 10:00am-6:00pm in the UCC Atrium. For more information, please visit the Facebook Event Page.