By Kylee Bagley
As “cuffing season” comes to a close, young adults across the county prepare for “the best summer of their lives,” filled with adventures, parties, and sex. The last thing people want to think about is STD’s and STI’s. Cumberland County has one of the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the state of New Jersey. A report from state.nj.us sharing information on HIV/AIDS as of December 31, 2014 states that Cumberland County has a rate of 371.8 cases per 100,000 people. HIV/AIDS kills, people, and yet only seven out of 20 CCC students surveyed have been tested for STD’s.
Chlamydia is the most prevalent STI (sexually transmitted infection) in Cumberland County as of 2014 according to nj.gov. Residents between the ages of 15-34 tested during 2014 produced 871 positive cases of Chlamydia. However, the majority of people who test positive show little to no symptoms in the first six months. Not being tested after unprotected sex leads to long-term symptoms such as abdominal pain, infertility, and burning during sex and urination, listed cdc.gov.
One reason CCC students are not getting tested is because they simply don’t know where to go. Only five out of 20 students surveyed know of any free STD clinics in Bridgeton, Vineland, and Millville areas. Some listed Complete Care as a free clinic, but Complete Care works with the Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately, there aren’t many free clinics in our county, but here are two free, quality clinics in the area:
Vineland Health Department: Located in center city on Montrose Street, the Vineland Health Department offers a free clinic from 4-5 p.m. every Tuesday. Friendly nurses that make you feel completely comfortable administer the STD tests and a doctor is available at 5 p.m. until close for anyone who wishes to receive additional care.
Located on Magnolia Ave. near the Bridgeton Hospital, FamCare offers appointment free testing for Chlamydia, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and HIV. They also offer HIV, STD, and Hepatitis prevention education classes. The STD clinic is open Wednesdays from 4 – 8 p.m. One student surveyed said it’s almost disturbing how nonjudgmental and familial they are.
Being STD free is the first step to having a carefree summer. Both of these clinics, along with all Complete Cares, hand out free bags of condoms, so stop by if only for the free latex incentive. Don’t let yourself become the next statistic broadcasted on campus. It’s up to you to ensure you get checked and stay protected!