Friday, September 11, 2009

Why Does SHAC Need to Know?

by Mariya Stangl

So, a few days ago I was in SHAC to get an annual women's health exam and I was asked to fill out an intake worksheet asking me different questions about my health. Most questions were pretty standard but there were a few questions that I didn't feel comfortable answering and wasn't quite sure how they related to my exam. There were a couple that I didn't answer but the one that stood out the most was a question that asked me to fill in every bubble of the people I'd had sexual contact with, male, female or both. I asked my doctor about why some of these questions were relevant to my exam and she responded with a generic answer about how SHAC is concerned about the overall health of it's students and that these questions were aimed to discover to the overall health and wellness of it's students. Which is a perfectly good answer but I still don't understand why they would need to know who I was being sexually active with to determine my health. Especially since the most highly infected population with HIV is no longer single gay males, but married heterosexual females. That is the only explanation I could come up with and it still doesn't make any sense. Of course there was a disclaimer at the bottom of the sheet that said I didn't HAVE to answer any questions that made me uncomfortable (and I didn't) but I was still asked the same questions by my doctor, who also claimed these questions weren't for insurance or survey reasons. I want to know why, specifically, I was asked this particular question and if there isn't a good answer I would like to move to get this form reconstructed for the peace and wellness of PSU students who do not feel comfortable disclosing this confidential and often times difficult information.

What do you think about SHAC asking its students about the gender of their sexual partners?

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