An Inconvenient Truth- I'm Without an STI

Late last year, I was embarrassed to go outside. I had a horrible rash that was like some turtleneck jumper I wore with me everywhere – but it seemed as if no real turtleneck could cover it up.

I was thinking that my boyfriend’s bed had bed bugs and that the ANU Health Centre would be able to help. I was certain this wasn’t an uncommon problem for students and that a university health clinic would be more understanding.

My biggest mistake was to assume that ANU Health actually lived up to the billing on its website. I can’t fully describe my thought processes at the time as they were obviously irrational and my memory is jarred by phrases like “fully accredited” and “comprehensive health services”.

Regardless, I went to the clinic and showed the bored looking albeit present staff member my rash. She informed me that I had it all wrong. She told me I had an STI. After an interrogation-style line of inquiry about my sexual activity – which I explained was limited to my long-term boyfriend – she casually explained to me that the rash was definitely scabies and that my sole sexual partner, my boyfriend, had given it to me.

Not wanting to insult this staff member professionally, I reminded her that we had been together with no problems for 18 months until now. Her response? Your boyfriend is cheating on you. Mystery solved.

So after a new mattress, quilt, sheets and pillows, not to mention tenuously resolved arguments with my boyfriend and ridiculous treatments. I went to a doctor in Civic to get a second opinion (note that I have now spent more than I would have if I went to this private doctor in the first place).

The second doctor almost ROFL’d at the suggestion of scabies. They then treated me promptly for a rash and a week later both my rash and my agoraphobia were cured.

I never thought much of this scavenger hunt until I started telling the story to my friends. Most of them (girls) have a similar experience of being told to accept that you have an STI or go find help elsewhere.

This is not acceptable.

Neither ANU Health nor ANUSA were interested in my feedback, which is also not acceptable.

ANUSA can do one of two things: Either continue to ignore important issues and complete its transformation into a catering company or listen to its members and pressure the university to review the service.