February 19, 2018  

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Student Health Services Offering New Online Program, HIV Testing

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Student Health Services at The University of Southern Mississippi offers a variety of services for students, faculty and staff. (Photo by Steve Rouse

Student Health Services (SHS) at The University of Southern Mississippi has added a new, more-convenient way for students to access records and schedule appointments through an online health portal.

Developed over the summer and available now, the comprehensive information portal can be utilized at https://shsweb.usm.edu/PyramedPortal/Login.aspx

“It makes clinic visits easier and faster for students because they can schedule a time, choose which doctor they would like to see, plus complete any necessary health forms before they visit,” said Jodi Ryder, health education and promotion coordinator. “Of course, this is also very convenient for us too.”

Ryder points out that the portal allows students to view their health records, such as immunization and screening history, which will help them better monitor their past, present and future needs. “This is especially helpful and convenient for those who may need this information when applying to another program or traveling overseas,” she said.

Other important services available for the first time through the clinic include the Gardasil vaccine for men and free HIV testing.

The Gardasil vaccine protects against four strains of the Human Papillomavirus – two of which cause about 75 percent of cervical cancer and two of which cause approximately 90 percent of genital warts. Women have been able to get the vaccine through SHS for some time, but the FDA only recently approved the vaccine for men. The vaccine is administered through three injections over a six-month period.

“The vaccine is not free but is covered by many insurance companies for those who are eligible,” said Ryder. “For those without insurance, there are other options such as payment assistance programs that will allow students to get the vaccine for very little to no cost.”

Ryder said free HIV testing has been available on campus in the past but normally in conjunction with specific events. Now, SHS has partnered with the AIDS Services Coalition to provide regular free testing at the university clinic in a secure, confidential environment. The tests will be provided on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.

“The test involves a small finger prick for blood and the results will be given to the patient before he or she leaves,” said Ryder, who notes that all students, faculty and staff are eligible for testing.

For more information about these services and others, call Student Health Services at 601.266.5390.