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The Observer

Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

The Observer

Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

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Men’s Health Fair provides free health and STI screenings

Following a successful event last year, Case Western Reserve University medical student Kyle Scarberry and the Sexual Health Advocacy Group, a group of CWRU medical students, have partnered with University Health Services (UHS) to organize another Men’s Health Fair to be held today at noon until 3 p.m. in the Veale Center gymnasium.

The fair is open to both undergraduate and graduate students and includes several different health-related services, including providing free health screenings, sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, and educational resources to CWRU students. According to information provided by the Sexual Health Advocacy Group, the fair has been organized “in an effort to promote men’s health awareness and sexual health awareness on campus.”

Men’s health, particularly in men who are teens and young adults, is at high risk. Sexual health alone is a significant issue according to statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which state that individuals ages 13 to 29 comprised “nearly half” of all new STI cases in 2010.

Scarberry, who organized the event last year, mentioned that “the United States Preventive Services Task Force advises screening [the young adult male] population, as over half of young men with HIV do not yet know they are infected.”

In addition, the CDC estimates that 33.2 percent of men ages 20 to 29 are obese, 11.1 percent of men ages 20 to 34 have high blood pressure, and 9.1 percent of men ages 18 to 24 are physically inactive.

According to information from the Sexual Health Advocacy group, services provided at the fair will include “basic screening for high blood pressure and body fat percentage, as well as confidential testing for STIs, including HIV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Informational booths on exercise, nutrition, and safe sex will be present, with free educational materials and condoms.”

Several different organizations will be at the fair to provide these services, including Planned Parenthood, the LGBT center, 1-2-1 Fitness, a UHS nutritionist, and the County Health Department.

This health fair is an opportunity to provide screenings to campus men who otherwise would not be tested because they may not want the cost of a test to appear on their parents’ insurance or may not be able to see a physician on a regular basis.

“This is so those guys can have easy and free access to these services,” Sexual Health Advocacy Group member Chang Lu said.

“Our vision is to raise awareness of men’s health,” she explained, “We hope to create more healthy habits and encourage men to educate themselves about their health, be cautious of health risks such as STIs, and get tested more often.”

The Sexual Health Advocacy Group has high expectations for this year’s health fair, bolstered by the success of last year’s event.

“We’re prepared for a large turnout this year,” said Scarberry, “Last year’s fair provided health services for over 100 men on campus in just three hours, the majority of whom received STI screenings.”

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