Pee for Pizza event provides free STI testing and sexual education for students

The first Wednesday of every month Student Health Services holds their Pee for Pizza event.Students can call for an appointment and receive free testing for five different STIs, along with free sexual health supplies and information regarding different diseases— and, of course, free pizza.

Heather Stafford, Associate Director of Student Health Services, says that they have been holding this event for six years.  With their partnership with Positive Directions and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, they are able to provide free testing for syphilis, hepatitis C, gonorrhea, chlamydia and HIV.

“Before, we were paying for those out of pocket … With the partnership with Positive Directions, it’s less of a financial burden to us and more access to services for students that are free, so that’s the main thing we wanted,” Stafford says.

During COVID-19, Stafford says that the partnership they have developed with Positive Directions over the years helped them to keep the event going by helping to obtain resources when they were low.

Stafford says that sexual health is important for everyone, especially when first engaging in sexual activities.  It’s good to get checked when you have new partners, when you notice any symptoms, and to get checked annually if you’re sexually active.

“In the LGBTQ+ population, there are different health risk assessments that should be done, and that’s for everybody, but with the LGBTQ+ population some of those diseases might be more prevalent, so we encourage them to do their testing on a more regular basis based on their regular practices,” Stafford says.

Stafford says that people may be scared to get tested because they may have to reach out to ex-partners and are nervous about the treatment.  The sexual health students received in high school can also be a contributing factor.

During a normal school year, Student Health services would have a lot of outreach events to promote health education.  On their Youtube channel, they started doing Tuesday Talks to inform students on different STIs, what they look like, treatment, prevention, and how to get tested through Pee for Pizza.

“The Tuesday Talks is something that we are proud of just because there is a lot of health education you can watch when you have time … it’s more digital and easy to access,” Stafford says.

Due to COVID-19 limiting appointment spaces, it’s hard to track the growth of the event; but exponentially, over the past four years, every single clinic rose higher each time.  Before COVID-19, they were testing 100-120 students at a time with a 10% positivity rate.

I would say that if anything Pee for Pizza has a name that students recognize, maybe it’s brought more attention to the testing that we are doing … We have a lot of students who are brand new to student wellness in general and brand new to testing, so it is a good awareness project,” Stafford says.

To make an appointment, students can call Student Health Services at 316-978-4792.  If there is not a spot open, they will have students come in the next month or set up an appointment outside of Pee for Pizza with a small cost attached.  The next event is on March 3rd from 10-4.

“People are still interested and want to take advantage of it, and I am encouraged by that, that even during COVID-19 people are paying attention to their sexual health,” Stafford says.