On Friday, March 4, MIT Medical held its first ever walk-in sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinic. The event, held as part of Pleasure Week, drew a mix of nearly 70 undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs to the Stratton Student Center.
The clinic served as an opportunity for sexual-health education and testing. With regard to testing, each participant consulted with one of the five clinicians on hand about their sexual history. Based on that conversation, some patients received a vaginal or anal swab kit and instructions on how to perform a self-collection. Patients walked to the restroom, used the kit, and returned the sample to the team at the clinic.
“The self-collection aspect of the clinic went flawlessly, and all of the attendees used the swab kits without any trouble,” says Vienna Rothberg, program manager for peer education on MIT Medical’s Violence Prevention and Response (VPR) team and the lead organizer of Pleasure Week.
Some patients were referred to MIT Medical for follow-up blood tests, which MIT Medical staff scheduled for patients before they left the clinic.
Event organizers were also thrilled that several attendees came to the clinic despite never having been sexually active. These students didn’t require any testing, says Rothberg, but “clinicians and members of the VPR staff were on hand to provide education, guidance, and preventative care.”
Based on the attendance and success of this pilot event, MIT Medical is investigating the possibility of conducting additional walk-in STD clinics in the future, perhaps once a semester.
“Overall, the event was a great success,” says Medical Director Cecilia Stuopis. “Our students really appreciated the convenience of a walk-in clinic located near where they live, and we are looking forward to conducting more clinics like this in the future.”
The next walk-in STD clinic will take place on Feb. 23, 2017.