STI Testing Change

Dear Students:

 

Because of changes at the Maryland State Laboratory, the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC) must change how it offers STD testing for students.

Chlamydia trachomatis (chlamydia for short) is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the United States. Most people who are infected do not have any symptoms but can still pass the infection to their sex partner(s). Because the consequences of untreated infection can be severe – especially for women - the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all sexually active women under the age of 25 be tested for chlamydia annually; the SHWC encourages men to get tested as well. Until now, the State of Maryland laboratories has been providing chlamydia testing for students at no charge. Because of a switch to a newer, more expensive testing method and insufficient funding, the State of Maryland will no longer perform free chlamydia testing for Johns Hopkins students. It is important for students to continue to get tested – the SHWC will still offer chlamydia testing, even with the loss of the Maryland lab as a resource.  We have developed several options for you, including at least one free option.

For students with the Hopkins student health insurance plan:

The Hopkins student health insurance plan will cover the full cost of your testing – there will be no cost to you (no deductibles). No bill or statement will be sent to your parents. You must bring your insurance card with you at the time of your visit.


For students who do not have the Hopkins student health insurance plan:

 #1) You can be tested at the Student Health and Wellness Center but the specimens will now be sent to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Chlamydia Lab. The cost for this test (which includes testing for gonorrhea) will be $45.00. If you choose this option, your parents will not find out you have been tested You will need to pay for the test at the time of the visit; we will give you a receipt. We accept VISA/MasterCard, cash, check and J-card or you can bill your student account. If you use a credit card or bill your student account, the charge will only say “Student Health Center charge”; the type of test will not appear. We cannot bill insurance companies for this test. Testing options for women include a vaginal swab or urine-based testing; for males, the tests will be done from a urine specimen.

#2) You can still be tested at the Student Health and Wellness Center - the specimens will now be sent to Quest Diagnostics, a commercial laboratory. The cost of the test is approximately $80 for Chlamydia testing only and $160.00 for both Chlamydia and gonorrhea testing.  Under this approach, you can provide the laboratory with your insurance information or you can have the bill sent directly to you (bypassing insurance) for payment. If you choose to use insurance, you will be responsible for paying all applicable deductibles or co-pays. If your parents are the primary policyholders of the insurance policy, they will receive notice from the insurance company that you were tested for chlamydia. Testing options for women include a cervical swab (as part of a pelvic/gyn exam) or urine-based testing; for males, the tests are done from a urine specimen.

#3) You can go to a Baltimore City Health Department clinic (these clinics serve men and women) and be tested there. Locations include:

 

  • Healthy Teens/Young Adults at 1374 W. North Avenue. Students can be seen there up until the age of 25. Healthy Teens/Young Adults accepts most insurance plans but students who do not wish to use insurance can pay for visits on a sliding scale fee adjusted for income. (http://www.baltimorehealth.org/htya.html). Students who use insurance will be responsible for all applicable deductibles or co-pays. If your parents are the primary policyholders of the insurance policy, they will receive notice from the insurance company that you were tested for chlamydia.
  • The Baltimore City STD Clinic located at 620 N. Caroline Street, close to the Johns Hopkins Hospital/Medical School, and within walking distance of the JHU shuttle stop. There is no charge for testing at this clinic. (http://www.baltimorehealth.org/std.html).

 

#4) You can go to a Planned Parenthood Clinic; Planned Parenthood offers services for both men and women. The two closest Planned Parenthood clinics are located in downtown Baltimore (http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-center/centerDetails.asp?f=3292) or in Towson (http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-center/centerDetails.asp?f=2831). Planned Parenthood accepts insurance but also has a sliding scale fee structure adjusted for income. Students who use insurance will be responsible for all applicable deductibles or co-pays. If your parents are the primary policyholders of the insurance policy, they will receive notice from the insurance company that you were tested for chlamydia.

 

#5) You can use a free web-based testing program offered as part of a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine research project. To find out more about this option, go to: http://www.iwantthekit.org/. This resource is available for both men and women.  This project uses the same testing systems as described in option #1 but is free because it is a research project.

Other STD testing offered by the State (such as HIV testing) are not affected by the change in the chlamydia testing program. You can still get these tests for free through the SHWC.

We understand that the loss of free testing will pose problems for some students. We have made every effort to identify as many options for you as possible, including the free web-based program and the Baltimore City STD clinic.

 

 

Alain Joffe, MD, MPH

Director

 

1/29/09