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Counseling, birth control available at Campus Health

CLAIRE C. LAURENCE/Arizona Summer Wildcat
Registered pharmacist Jana Knutson and the staff at Campus Health are readily available to soothe the aches and pains of the UA community.
By Holly Wells
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
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Going from living at home with your parents to being on your own can be a big adjustment. Campus Health Service provides many services to students in transition, including counseling and access to birth control.

Campus Health, 1224 E. Lowell St., offers full counseling services and sees students on a short-term basis.

Mental health clinician Jill Grassman said Campus Health has specialists in anxiety, stress, substance abuse, eating disorders and couples' therapy.

"Many people come in because they are homesick, are having trouble adjusting to campus life and have academic issues or are depressed," Grassman said. "Really we see everything here that you would see in any health care facility."

The service is helpful for freshmen that are having adjustment issues and it is completely confidential, Grassman said.

If a student wants to talk to someone, he or she first goes to the triage service and is then assigned to a counselor.

The staff at the clinic includes two psychiatrists.

"Everyone here either has a Ph.D., M.D. or is a licensed professional counselor," Grassman said.

It is a brief counseling center that is issue- and goal-oriented, she said.

The average number of sessions is three or four.

"Depending on the issue, many people do not need to be seen every week," she said. Students should instead come in when there is a problem or when they need someone to talk to, Grassman said

If someone needs to be seen on a more permanent basis, he or she will be referred out.

A student with Campus Health Insurance can be seen for a $10 co-payment, but even if a student doesn't have insurance, a visit is usually only $15, said Grassman.

Although the service is only for students, others can call in and speak to a counselor. Parents can also call in if they have any concerns.

Grassman said any student with a problem should not hesitate to make an appointment.

"Everybody has stress in their lives, but when people have difficulty functioning, when their academic progress is being affected or when there are physical symptoms to their stress, then it is time to talk to someone," Grassman said.

Students with sex on their minds can also visit campus health for advice, birth control or sexually transmitted disease tests.

Campus Health offers many forms of birth control including diaphragms, condoms, the pill, the patch and emergency contraception, often referred to as the morning-after pill.

The morning-after pill is taken to prevent pregnancy after a woman has had unprotected sex. It can be taken up to five days after the woman has had sex, but the sooner it is taken the more effective it is.

In Arizona a prescription is needed to get the pill and it costs $20.

Over-the-counter items such as condoms or lubricant can be purchased at the Campus Health pharmacy without visiting a doctor.

"We sell 100 condoms for $11 and it's a tremendous savings for students," said health educator Lee Ann Hamilton. "We also have different brands in three-packs or six-packs."

For other forms of birth control that require a prescription, students must see a doctor first and then can pick up their birth control at the pharmacy.

"The time to get on birth control is before you start having sex," Hamilton said.

If someone already has a prescription and is from out of state, they can still get the prescription filled at the pharmacy.

"Our prices are usually cheaper than places like Planned Parenthood or retail stores," Hamilton said. "Any student taking one unit or more of classes is eligible to be seen and doesn't have to have insurance."

Even though Campus Health is not open after 5 p.m. or on weekends, a student can get a prescription for the pill by calling the after-hours number at 570-5898 and talking to a physician.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus and STD testing is also available. Testing is done in the laboratory and students need to see a healthcare provider first, who will then order the test.

Hamilton said this is in the best interest of the students.

"There's not a good medical reason to get tested for everything. A provider will talk to the student and ask about their sexual history so they can do what makes sense," she said.

The most common STDs found on campus are chlamydia, herpes and genital warts, which are caused by human papillomavirus, Hamilton said.

Chlamydia can be cured with antibiotics. There is no cure for herpes or HPV, but both can be treated so there are fewer outbreaks.

It takes about two days to get the results back from STD tests. Doctors usually have a pretty good guess about what the problem is when they first see it, but will they order a test for confirmation, Hamilton said.

"Say if it were crabs, in that case we'd just say, 'drop your drawers' and know right away what it was," she said.

Campus Health also engages in sexual health education by talking to groups and running the Sex Talk column in the Wildcat. The column features questions about sex sent in by students and answers from professionals.

Campus Health has a laboratory and pharmacy and is able to do X-rays and minor surgeries. It offers counseling, preventive services, acupuncture, massage therapy, sports medicine and has an all-female women's health clinic.

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