Acadia Gets Checked is first and foremost a sexual health initiative. Despite widespread educational efforts, it seems that “getting checked” is something that still attracts a negative stigma. Although our own on-campus clinic offers these simple tests, more focus is needed in the direction of de-stigmatizing sexual health. For many people, getting checked is a very routine part of their lives, not something to think twice about. However, many others may not have previously felt the same level of comfort. Acadia Gets Checked is a concerted effort to break down these stigmas by creating a comfortable and accepting environment. When we put a new spin on sexual health initiatives for the day, we are really hoping to educate people, and to make the whole process seem a bit more comfortable.
I had previously thought a fair bit about the stigma I perceive there to be around positive sexual health. One day while at a blood donor clinic, the idea of transferring that same model to STI screening struck me. Not long after, I spoke with a Nova Scotia Health Authority representative who really solidified that this was not only a nice idea, but could actually work. I am extremely grateful for their initial support, as well as their guidance. Without that more experienced perspective, we may not have thought of some very important pieces of the puzzle. For example, I never would have realized that it would be massively disruptive to suddenly inundate the lab with dozens and dozens of samples. Thankfully, there was support and guidance all along the way to help work through these obstacles. I would also be remiss not to also mention the fantastic folks at our own campus clinic, as well as Paige Krentz of The Women’s Centre. Their dedication to student wellness has been a driving factor in what we hope will be a successful event.
If I had to summarize in a few lines, I would tell people that Acadia Gets Checked is a new, more positive spin on STI screening, as well as supporting positive sexual health practices. By having music, giveaways, and a generally welcoming atmosphere, we hope to see more people living healthy, sex-positive lives. Come by the clinic beneath Dennis House on Wednesday, Nov 29th to see what it’s all about. Lastly, when it comes to STIs, sharing is not caring!