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UAlbany Requests for STD Tests to Be Taken Out of SA Office

By Mattie Fitzpatrick | March 18, 2024

The University at Albany uptown campus.

Photo Credit: Mattie Fitzpatrick / The ASP

The Office of Health Promotion has requested that the Student Association (SA) removes free sexually transmitted disease (STD) tests from their office following reports that students were using them incorrectly. Director of Health Promotion Kelly Gorman reported the misuse of the tests to SA in a recent meeting.

The tests were made available by SA and championed by Director of Disability Erica Strand so that students would have access to free tests, which were not previously accessible on the University at Albany campus. Roughly 64 tests were distributed to students free of charge according to SA President Jalen Rose. As stated on the Student Health Services websites, most tests are done off site by third parties and require money with the exception of a rapid HIV test which is done on site but costs $10. 

Strand initially complied with the request because tests were not available at the time and were in transit but was focused on looking for a more long term solution for students.

Gorman requested they be made unavailable to students during a visit to the SA Senate, which was met with tension from SA.

“When Kelly came to Senate, she was met with a very hostile body of students who wanted to demand improvements to STI testing and mental health services, among other things,” Strand said. “This last semester during the student health advisory meeting, they presented us with some very concerning statistics, including the fact that the freshmen class currently has the highest rates of chlamydia than they have seen in many, many years….”

Strand and Gorman have reportedly found a new option for free STD tests for students, one that SA and the Office of Health Promotion will work together on. 

“Kelly has been working for over a year now to build partnerships with community partners and clinics to bring free STI testing done by trained healthcare professionals to campus,” Strand said. 

In Our Own Voices, an LGBT social services organization based in Albany, will be offering free STD testing in the campus center on the second Thursday of the month from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. and the fourth Wednesday of the month from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Students who participate will get a chance to receive a $10 gift card to the UAlbany school store. The first rounds of testing will be offered starting at 3:00 p.m. March 21.

SA is additionally looking into providing free Plan B and Pregnancy Tests for students, which will be funded by Project SHAPE and the Student Association according to Strand. More information will become available once the pilot has been launched. 


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