The majority of California State Universities offer free reproductive health services such as STD and HIV testing through the Family Planning Access Care and Treatment program the state funds. The program has helped more than 6,300 STSU students with the stipulation that they had to be in a heterosexual relationship.
SFSU student Jose Francisco said he went to the health center for routine screening but was told he was not eligible for the free service as others were able to get. He said his sexual history meant he was denied for the free tests. He wound up paying over $200 for both the STI and HIV screening, as it was the only surefire way to be tested.
While he could have gotten free testing at the other clinics, the long lines and appointment bookings would have taken potentially weeks.
Francisco went to talk with the associate vice president for student affairs and enrollment and argued the university was being discriminatory against the LGBTQ community by not offering free services like it did heterosexual persons.
He talked with Gene Chelburg who agreed there was some inequality in STI testing. Chelburg said he agrees this is a lapse in judgment for the university and worked to change this. University officials then spoke with the Department of Public Health about the matter to ensure the campus’ services were equal for all.
Dr. Kay Gamo is a physical in the student health service center who worked with the Department of Public Health director of disease prevention and control branch Dr. Susan Philip to come up with funding for students otherwise not eligible under the Family PACT.
Both syphilis and HIV testing on the university campus have been lumped into funding from the yearly $318 mandatory health fee students pay in their tuition.
According to Francisco, there is still a lot of work the university must do to ensure the campus is equal to all students, but he hopes this will be a step in the right direction.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
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