Getting busy this Valentine’s Day?

Swing by for a free STD test in Founders


Courtesy of the Wellness Center

The Wellness Center at Guilford is coordinating free STD testing in Founders Hall on Valentine’s Day from 12 to 2 p.m.

For Valentine’s Day this year, get yourself something other than a box of chocolates: Get tested for STDs. The Wellness Center at Guilford College, in collaboration with the Triad Health Project (THP), is conducting free and confidential STD testing 12-2 p.m.  Feb. 14 in Founders Hall. 

The testing is part of the Wellness Center’s larger Valentine’s Day event, “What Does Love Mean to You?” which includes Valentine-making, cookie decorating, consent training and relationship tips. The goal is to make exploring sexuality and relationships as easy and safe as possible for students, and being up to date on your STD status is just part of that. 

“Having that education and having that knowledge is an important component of learning what sexuality means to you,” said Jameson Sellers, who joined the Wellness Center at Guilford as crisis support counselor and wellness case manager last August. “It’s about normalizing that we’re sexual beings. And we need to know about our sexual health.” 

According to the CDC’s 2022 STD Surveillance Report, Guilford County is ranked No. 40 in the nation for highest prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and North Carolina has the eighth highest STD rates in the country.

Condoms and other safe sex resources can be effective tools to prevent STD exposure. (Illustration by Sarah Smiley)

However, current studies and research suggest that rates of STDs are likely much higher than what’s being reported, making these figures even more sobering. Not every sexually active person is getting tested, and for many STDs, you can walk around without experiencing any symptoms, all while still transmitting them to your partners. 

There are many reasons why people don’t get tested for STDs — the cost, the time off work and the lack of symptoms or a “reason” for testing — but studies show the primary barrier is stigma. According to a 2020 article in the journal Nursing Clinics of North America, “social stigma is… associated with underutilization of prevention services,” generally recognized as a tool of shame and ostracization, and commonly manifests as silence. 

“Talking about sexuality or sexual activity (at Guilford College) is probably more taboo than when I’ve worked at other colleges,” Sellers said. 

In addition to the inherent stigma associated with testing positive for a sexually transmitted disease, STDs are frequently associated with people of color and LGBTQ+ people because of their historic prevalence in those groups, according to data from However, according to multiple sources, much of this is due to violence against those communities and a lack of healthcare and education surrounding the topic of sexual health, not any sort of predisposition. 

With regular testing and barrier methods of prevention, such as condoms or dental dams, STDs don’t have to haunt your sex life. According to Sellers, it’s perfectly normal and safe to have sex, as long as it involves “consent and protection.” 

That’s where STD testing comes in. Think of it as routine maintenance, like taking your car to the shop for an oil change. It’s a simple and easy process if you do it regularly. 

“I was in there for maybe twenty minutes,” Mara Evans, a senior at the Early College at Guilford, said after getting tested at THP for the first time. “They explained everything to me and I felt super comfortable with the entire process.”

A major part of why THP is so easy is that it’s free. No insurance cards. No bills. Just make sure to drink lots of water beforehand. You can learn more about THP’s services and book an appointment at

If you can’t make it to the event or to THP’s center, Sellers hopes to make free, on-campus testing available about twice a semester, so this isn’t the only opportunity to check in with your sexual health. 

Spread love, not STDs. If you’re getting on top of anything this Valentine’s Day, let it be your health.