{In response to: Health Center Introduces STI Self-Testing [12/2/2010]}

I wanted to send a special thank-you to City on a Hill Press and Kara Foran for your efforts to publicize the Student Health Center’s new self-directed testing for sexually transmitted infections (Dec. 2). Your assistance in reaching students about this important issue demonstrates your commitment to the well-being of the community.

I have one important clarification. For those students who have the student health insurance plan (USHIP and GSHIP), we have succeeded in obtaining complete coverage for the cost of these tests. About 8,000 students are covered under these plans. This means that students with SHIP insurance can be tested with no out-of-pocket expense. This required quite a bit of negotiation with Anthem Blue Cross. As a result, we have removed one more important barrier to getting people tested. I hope you will help us publicize this. Inadvertently, this important fact was omitted from the article.

For students who have other forms of private insurance (not SHIP), the tests are available for a $20 lab fee plus the cost of each individual test. These tests range from $1.43 to $11.40. A student with no insurance who wants all four tests would have a maximum fee of $51.50.

We are concerned that the article may have left students with the idea that they will all face charges for these tests. In fact, only those without SHIP insurance would have out-of-pocket expenses. In many cases, the private insurance companies may reimburse students who submit these charges to their carrier.

It is sad to think that this generation was born in a time when there are so many dangerous risks from unprotected intimacy. Anything we can do to promote safer sexual practices and prompt identification of disease is critical. Once again I appreciate the work of City on a Hill Press to make our community healthy.

Beth Hyde, NP
Family nurse practitioner
Patient care coordinator


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