Women have to wait over a month longer than men to get an STD test at USC

The first women’s health appointment is March 22nd…

In an era of hookup and party culture, it is no surprise that many college students want to get STD tested. In fact, it is highly responsible and intelligent of those who decide to do so. Well, if you're a woman at USC, getting STD tested may be harder than you think.

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When my friend told me that she couldn't make an STD appointment online until the end of March at the USC Engemann health center, I thought there had to be a mistake. Surely, the website was broken or she was doing something wrong. Thus, I logged onto my own account to try to search for available appointments.

Lo and behold, I was met with a cryptic message that said no appointments were available in my "specified range"…that I did not even know I "specified."

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I skipped ahead two weeks and the same message appeared. I skipped ahead to the end of February – still the same message. Finally, when I put in March 20th as my desired appointment date, availabilities started showing up with the earliest being on March 22nd.

Still, I thought this had to be a mistake. So, I called the health center. The health center nurse I spoke to on the phone informed me that this was not a mistake and that all of their appointments had been booked. Her advice to schedule an earlier appointment was to "call back every day to see if there's been a cancellation."

First, I am not going to call the health center every day to see if there's been a cancellation. Given how hard it is to make these appointments, who would even cancel theirs? I would treat mine like Christmas day and begin planning months in advance (two months, to be specific). I would clear my entire day and email all my professors that the most important day of the year had arrived and I would have to be absent from class.

Second, if every appointment has been booked, maybe there needs to be more appointments. Is this such a crazy thing to consider? Investing more funds towards women's health instead of building another fountain on a campus within a state that is still in the middle of an abnormally long drought?

Oh, but it gets worse. Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, if you are a guy and you want to get STD tested, you can make an appointment as early as February 12th.

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What appears when selecting "Men's health visit"

While this still is not ideal as nobody should have to wait two weeks to get STD tested, it still beats the women's wait time by a solid five and a half weeks. When I asked the health center why this was, they told me that the men's health department and the women's health department are two separate units with their own doctors, own appointments, and so on.

I do not know if simply less men are making STD appointments than women. I do not know if more men's sexual health experts are employed than women's sexual health experts. All I know is that this is an awfully unfair situation that no college student should have to experience.

If STD testing is in this high of a demand at USC, then USC needs to find a way to meet that demand. The University can take our $50,000+ tuition, and find a way to gear it towards reproductive health instead of building statues with misspellings of "Shakespeare."

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Invoice for STD testing

Oh, and one last thing. If you don't have USC health insurance, be prepared to cough up $88 for your STD testing! Yes, an STD test costs more than three CorePower Yoga classes. Be safe out there.

University of Southern California Engemann STD testing USC health center