Free on-campus STI tests aim to keep students healthy



Positive Directions Executive Director Brett Hogan (left) and Outreach Coordinator Stephanie Kreutzer stand by a sign advertising free STI testing.

Students can rest easy knowing that testing for some common sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) takes place on campus every month — free of charge. The staff from Positive Directions Inc. come to the Rhatigan Student Center once a month to provide free testing for anyone interested. 

The testing is sponsored by Student Health and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Positive Directions Inc. provides the Wichita community with HIV/AIDS prevention resources and free rapid HIV testing. It also provides free Syphilis, Hepatitis C, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea testing.

According to the CDC, nearly half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) diagnosed each year occur among 15 to 24 year-olds. About one in four (26 percent) of all new HIV infections happen among youth ages 13 to 24 years. About four in five of these infections occur in males.

Currently, Positive Directions has three staff members. Each has their own reasons for doing this line of work.

“Over my 40 years on this planet, I’ve lost, I think it’s like 22 friends to HIV,” Positive Directions Inc. Executive Director Brett Hogan said. “So it’s kind of in my heart. It’s kind of one of the things I do and that means a lot more to me than just a job.”

Hogan said he’s been a part of the Wichita HIV community for the majority of his life. His colleague Targeted Outreach Coordinator and Ambassador Program Coordinator for Positive Directions Inc. Stephanie Kreutzer said her exposure to HIV/AIDS and sexual health education was pretty much the opposite — it was completely lacking.

“I grew up in western Kansas,” Kreutzer said. “I got absolutely no sex education. There was no talk about how to put on a condom, what to protect yourself from.”

Kreutzer said that despite the advances in HIV/AIDS education, prevention, and treatment over the last couple of decades, STIs are a growing concern. 

“We are now facing a new problem of Kansans not being educated,” Kreutzer said. “So there’s not a use of condoms, (or) any kind of protection really.”

She said that as a result, the HIV rate is no longer declining. Instead, it’s sitting at a relatively steady rate, which concerns her and her co-workers. In addition, other STIs are a major concern for the Wichita community in 2020.

“Syphilis is epidemic right now in Sedgwick County. So that means you WSU folks, if you’re having sex in Sedgwick County, need to get tested,” Hogan said.

Kreutzer said syphilis is easily treatable with a shot of medicine in the butt. However, it has to be diagnosed first.  

“If you don’t treat it, eventually it eats your brain. Very serious,” she said. 

Chlamydia and gonorrhea can both cause infertility, inflammation, and other long-term health problems, Hogan said.

“Again, they’re both super treatable. You take some pills and you’re done.” 

So everything with the exception of HIV is completely curable, but each STI also has serious side effects when they’re not treated.

Storm Dial is Positive Directions’ new student intern. He said he recently learned how to administer the HIV rapid test. 

The Wichita State freshman is studying biology with a pre-med emphasis. He said he likes to encourage other students who live in the dorms, like he does, to check out the work that they’re doing, and stop in for free testing.

“More and more people hear about Positive Directions just through me,” Dial said. “I think it’s making a difference by educating them, just getting them in, even if they’ve never had the STI test before.”

“There’s a lot of questions, a lot of unknowns, and so having someone their own age to ask questions and get guidance from is nice.”

So what can a student expect when they show up at Positive Direction on-campus testing? 

The staff will prick your finger to do a one-minute rapid HIV test. That means you’ll know right then and there if your test is negative. It usually takes about 20 minutes.

Next, the staff will draw blood to check for Syphilis and Hepatitis C. Those results take seven days. Notification happens by phone based on results. No call means a person is Negative. A callback means the test is positive, at which point the staff will set you up with treatment.

Positive Directions also offers Gonorrhea and Chlamydia testing with a standard urine sample. Again, results take seven days and you will be notified by phone based on results.

Student Health Services also co-sponsors Pee for Pizza with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Students can get tested for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia by submitting a urine specimen and in return get free pizza. Those planning to participate should not use the restroom for at least one hour prior to testing. 

Student Health Services has partnered with Positive Directions because it can come to campus and provide HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis C testing for free as part of its program. Health services does not have the ability to do that, said WSU Director for Student Health Services Camille Childer.

“It was such a good response from the students,” Childers said. “They wanted to do more testing so this is our second semester of doing monthly testing with them.”

Childers said all of these free screenings are part of an effort to provide some free, life-changing health services. She said they wanted to do something meaningful for students, especially since most of their budget comes from student fees. Childers also said she hopes that all students realize that getting tested and practicing safe sex is part of self-care.

“Part of being an advocate for yourself and for your health is stepping up and saying, ‘I’m sexually active. I may or may not have had unprotected intercourse. I should know what my health status is,’ Childers said. “A part of knowing your health status is going to get tested.“


Positive Directions Inc. on-campus testing dates (located on the second floor of the Rhatigan Student Center)

1 – 4 p.m.

Tuesday, March 3, April 7 and May 5

To arrange off-campus testing throughout the month, send Positive Directions Inc. a message, Call (316) 263-2214 or stop by 416 S Commerce St #108. 


Pee for Pizza:

1 – 4 p.m.

Wednesday, April 8

Student Wellness Center

For more information, contact Student Health Services at (316) 978-4SWC (4792).

To learn more about Positive Directions testing, what happens is you test positive, and how you can get free condoms through Positive Directions both on and off campus, be sure to check out the latest episode of The Sunflower News Podcast: