Midlands Sexual Health Resource Center to provide free STI testing


Jared Barton

An advertisement for free STI testing at UNO
UNO students have access to free testing from 2-4 p.m. in the Health and Kinesiology Building. Photo courtesy of Midlands Sexual Health Research Collaborative

Every Thursday, free and confidential sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing will be available from 2-4 p.m. in the Mindfulness Room of the Health and Kinesiology building.

Through the Midlands Sexual Health Research Collaborative (MSHRC), UNO students have access to a fast, easy and confidential STI test.

According to getcheckedomaha.com, over 5,500 cases of STDs were reported in Douglas County, not just Omaha, in 2018, with rates far above national and state averages. The cases especially affected Omaha’s African American community with a rate of 10 times that of the white community. Omaha is especially afflicted by Chlamydia, at almost 146% the state average and 124% for the national average.

Per their website, MSHRC is a student union devoted to providing “a healthy sexual life, with access to resources for sexual wellbeing, informed decision-making, and ability to live a life free of coercion and discrimination in a stigma-free environment” for UNO’s patrons.

The MSHRC does this by providing contraceptives, birth control, resources for those with questions and answers for just about any questions one may have.

Kenna Barnes, Research Coordinator for the MSHRC and one of its presidents, says that students should get tested for STIs every 3 months, or at the least every year.

“I always say you can take care of yourself. Just like you go to the eye doctor and get your eyes checked, it’s the same general concept,” Barnes said.

“It’s really important for students to take charge of their sexual health and learn about it so they can be educated and make the right decisions for themselves,” said Co-President Brianna Full at an event earlier this year about knowing one’s sexual health.

This is the second year the MSHRC has provided free testing, with good reason—STIs affect the college age group more than other groups, Barnes said.

The testing is confidential and quick, and you can have results the same day you walk in. All they require is a urine sample and a couple minutes of your time.

Getcheckedomaha.com, another resource for UNO students who may have questions, lists other locations around the metro offering tests. The website also offers answers for those with questions about STIs and options for prevention like contraceptives and abstinence.

On the website, one can take a brief quiz to evaluate how much they really know about STDs/STIs, with questions that break down common misconceptions regarding them. One can also find statistics regarding STDs/STIs in Omaha.

If students have any questions or concerns, the MSHRC can be found in Room 207 of the Health and Kinesiology building.