Should STI testing be compulsory?


We polled Lincoln students on whether STI tests should be compulsory.

Rosa Freedman, a researcher on human rights at Queen Mary, University of London, recently wrote in the Guardian, that making people take STI tests was the only way to stem the tide in the rise of infections like Chlamydia.

In the article, Freedman argues that simply encouraging people to get tested and having campaigns to raise awareness was not enough: “In the event of an epidemic, various methods are used to contain the threat and prevent its spread. Isolation, mandatory treatment and other measures may be introduced. The spread of sexually transmitted diseases – including HIV,  which is again on the rise in England – can be classed as an epidemic.”

Freedman says she believes that such a policy would be unpopular and people may argue that compulsory testing would infringe on the rights of an individual to choose. However she counters this argument by claiming that the right to choose if you’re tested, is trumped by the right for others to know the risk of infection.

When questioned, almost all the University of Lincoln students asked said they thought that Freedman’s idea was the right way to deal with STI’s. In fact only one student strongly disagreed with the concept.

Third year journalism student Emily West claimed that the choice should be left to the individual whether they want to be tested or not: “If it’s your choice not to have sex until you’re married, for instance, you wouldn’t have had sex, so what’s the point in doing a test?”

However all of the other students asked, disagreed, Laura Jane, an architecture student, says that going to get tested can be a daunting and intimidating experience and mandatory testing would eliminate this problem: “It’s better to be precautionary and just test everybody, otherwise people will be spreading it and people will be getting ill without knowing, and it will become like a pandemic.”

Let us know what you think. Should STI testing be compulsory or should people maintain the right to choose?

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