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Free HIV/STD Testing at Waldorf

Rates of individuals living with HIV during 2016 in Iowa (

By Hannah Wagner

Every month, Waldorf University invites the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health to provide HIV/STD testing to students for no cost. This month’s tests were held on Friday, Feb. 14.

Samantha Smith, a registered nurse and disease prevention specialist employed by Cerro Gordo Public Health, is a major part of why Waldorf is able to host these tests.

“The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found in 2015 that individuals between the ages of 15-24 accounted for more than half (53%) of all new STD cases,” Smith said. “This number continues to climb every year, mostly due to students not seeking testing services.”

Many STIs are asymptomatic—including two of the most common ones (chlamydia and gonorrhea). Without symptoms, individuals will not seek testing which results in undiagnosed infections that can lead to complications in both men and women.

According to the Mayo Clinic, complications in women include pelvic pain, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and even some cancers. In men, complications include infertility and some cancers. “Signs and symptoms may appear a few days after exposure, or it may take years before you have any noticeable problems, depending on the organism.” the website states.

All testing services provided by the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health are confidential unless the client signs a release of information. With that being said, gonorrhea and chlamydia are reportable diseases in the state of Iowa—similar to measles and whooping cough. Therefore, the lab and the health department are mandated to report positive results to the Iowa Department of Public Health. This information is mostly used for data collection. 

The testing services through the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health are free. The county received a grant from the Iowa Department of Public Health in order to provide the services. 

To find out more information about where and when testing takes place, check your Waldorf email, or contact Mary Mathiasen for details.