Column: You have options

It’s a sad reality that GW, despite allegedly having the second most sexually active dorm in the nation, charges so much for STD testing that some students can’t afford to be tested on campus. What’s more sad is that GW, with supposedly a bright and assertive student body, is full of students who accept the reality of high priced testing without a second thought.

To those who use the fact that GW overcharges as an excuse not to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases, you’re immature, lazy and putting yourself as well as whoever you’re screwing around with at risk as a result of your juvenile and ignorant behavior.

To those who are whining about how expensive STD testing is on campus and are using it as something to write about, you’re so hell bent on attacking the administration that you haven’t done your research in terms of alternatives. As a result you have failed in your role as a medium designed to inform the student body of the situation that presents itself.

To both groups: The following information comes with a disappointed and sarcastic tone because if you were serious about getting tested or about informing the student body you should have taken the 15 seconds to Google the subject.

You would have found out that students have at least two free testing locations minutes from campus. Considering that the District of Colombia has one of the highest AIDS rates in the world outside of sub-Saharan Africa, it should have been obvious that there would be some other options outside of Student Health Services.

The D.C. Department of Health Division of STD Control Clinic is located on D.C. General Hospital Grounds at 19th Street and Massachusetts Avenue S.E. in building 8. They offer free testing for Syphilis, Gonorrhea (including drug resistant strains), Chlamydia and HIV/AIDS. They offer free treatment or counseling depending on the disease. You can get there by taking the Blue or Orange lines a tedious 15 minutes from Foggy Bottom to the Stadium Armory stop. The hospital grounds are immediately to your left after leaving the station. The clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and can be contacted at (202) 698-4050. More information is available at http://dchealth.dc.gov.

The Whitman Walker clinic, the largest provider of HIV/AIDS services in the D.C. metropolitan area, is located at 1701 14th St. N.W. (14th and R) and also provides free testing. Their hours are Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:30 to 7:30 p.m., and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9:30 to 4:30 p.m. Students can call (202) 745-7000 to set up an appointment. The clinic’s Web site can be found at http://www.wwc.org.

This isn’t an issue that students should be ignoring. This isn’t an issue journalists should be using to further their complaints about GW.

To the students: If GW won’t help you, help yourselves and stop expecting everything to be handed to you. GW has a reputation as being a school for spoiled brats who expect everything to be given to them on a platter. If students are really not getting tested because GW overcharges on a service that should be free, then the stereotype may be truer than some would like to admit.

To the journalists: This isn’t something like red tape on campus making registration a difficult process. This is an issue that could potentially be life and death for some people; and if you’re going to tackle it you should treat it that way. I’ll be the first one to say it, there’s plenty to complain about at GW as it is; either stick to something a little less serious, or if you want to deal with issues like this, put in the time and get the facts straight.

-The writer, a sophomore majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.

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