Kingston University’s sexual health centre is closed this academic year due to reduced NHS funding.
Students who were previously able to visit the sexual health centre discreetly must now book appointments through the University GP for advice or sexual health screenings.
“To increase the number of appointments available, the practice has extended the hours of nurse appointments by 1.5 hours a day,” said a KU spokeswoman.
The LGBTQ+ society at KU holds regular safe sex talks and often encourages students to get tested at the centre.
The society’s president Jack Bridger said: “We promote safe sex and regular testing and this has formed off the back of the AIDS crisis that ravished our community for years and we still see and feel the impact until this day.
“We’re losing out [on] easy access to getting tested which was one of the defining facts of the AIDS crisis, we couldn’t get the help, and people couldn’t get informed so this closure is very damaging to our community and the student body as a whole,” Bridger added.
The University spokeswoman said that students wishing to access a walk-in sexual health clinic can visit The Wolverton Centre at Kingston Hospital.
However, Bridger is concerned that there will be an increase in waiting times and a higher number of appointments.
“Not having sexual health tests easy to access with the University sphere means the alternatives are Kingston Hospital and the Hawks Road clinic.
“They’re both in high demand, and both require appoints well in advance with very little walk-ins, and ultimately this will put people off when you make it less convenient.
“I don’t think they realise the impact this will have. Students will be less likely to get tested… just having a place to go for a way to get informed is vital. Knowledge saves lives and keeps us healthy,” he added.
Free chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing kits are available at the GP surgery reception counter.
The Wolverton Centre declined to comment on these issues.