Health Services encourages students to get tested for STIs

Student Health Services encourages students to “Get Yourself Tested” and participate in sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing. Illinois State students have the opportunity year-round to get tested for various types of STIs. 
It is important to practice safe sex; however, those that engage in sexual activity must remember to get themselves tested for their safety, and also to keep others safe as well. Students are welcome to make appointments with or without providers for STI testing. Your test will be confidential, and your results will be sent to you by secure message. Appointments can be made through our secure portal or by calling our appointment desk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur every year in the United States, half among young people ages 15–24, and some people have no symptoms. The importance of recognizing if you have an STI will help you determine your course of treatment and decrease long-term health issues that are related to untreated STIs.

Student Health Services summer options

Although the spring semester will be coming to an end in May, the services that are provided at the Student Health clinic will continue through the summer months.  Students that are sticking around campus for the summer may still utilize the clinic for all healthcare needs.  Below are the summer hours for the clinic, pharmacy and student health insurance.
  • Summer Clinic hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday
  • Summer pharmacy hours: 8 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday
  • Summer student health insurance hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday
The same services are still provided to students during the summer months which include: primary care, sexual healthcare, nutrition consultation, psychiatry services, x-ray, lab, immunizations and more.
Students that are registered for the summer will have already been assessed the health service fee, and for at least six credit hours assessed the student health insurance fee as part of their student services fee.  Those who are not registered for classes over the summer,  may still utilize student health services by paying a small fee of $100.  Each visit will require an additional $10 door fee; however, most of the services will be provided to you in that small door fee.  Those services that require additional payment may be submitted to your student health insurance or primary insurance.
For those students that would like to take part in the summer student health insurance, and are not registered for 6 or more hours, may purchase the summer student health insurance for $175.  This will cover your health insurance through the summer months which includes while you are away on vacation.

A preview of our latest HIV/AIDS accession

As I am coming to the end of the Wellcome Trust funded project to catalogue LHSA’s UNESCO recognised HIV/AIDS collections, I thought I would provide a peek at one of our latest HIV/AIDS accession. In the last few days of the project, I have been pulling everything together and managed to spend some time on the Waverley Care accession (Acc14/028). This collection was donated to LHSA last year after connections were made between the charity, my predecessor Karyn and Project Conservator Emily. It’s great when working connections can be established between archives and potential donors because we can provide help and advice, with what materials are suitable for long-term preservation, storage and access, whilst enriching our own collections and research resources.

We have already been able to share with you some of the unique and important items from our HIV/AIDS collections, particularly from the vibrant Take Care Campaign. But through sharing some of the items from our other HIV/AIDS collections, we can reflect on the work of many charities, support networks and campaigns that were set up in Edinburgh (and beyond), during the outbreak. They would often work together to take on the epidemic and provided education and support for sufferers, as well as the wider general public. Services provided by charities, such as Waverley Care, provided (and are still providing) excellent support to people living with HIV and Hepatitis C and also work hard to raise awareness, in order to try and prevent new infections.

From the collection we can gain an insight into the foundations of Waverley Care, established in 1989. It was during this period that Edinburgh was labelled the ‘AIDS capital of Europe’, with the highest infection rate throughout the whole of the UK. The region was at the forefront of the battle against the spread of the virus so services like Waverley Care were set up in response. The charity went on to develop the UK’s first purpose build hospice for people living with HIV, Milestone House. This transformed into an intensive residential support unit and a community support service for people living with HIV or Hepatitis C.

The collection also has papers relating to another one of its earlier projects, Solas. This was a community-based support and information centre that like many other Edinburgh based campaigns, aimed to reduce public fears about HIV/AIDS. Instead of prevailing an atmosphere of doom and gloom, Solas wanted to be seen as a source of positivity, to help inspire and strengthen a support and education network.  

This positive approach can also be seen in the promotional activity of Waverley Care. Here are a selection of their postcards that were produced to promote their messages of strength, support, education and understanding.


Finally, the charity also takes part in World AIDS Day which still provides an opportunity for the world to unite in the fight against HIV, and commemorate those who have died from the disease. Below is a tartan ‘Red Ribbon’ which became Waverley Care’s symbolic image and highlights the unified stance against HIV/AIDS.

For more information on Waverley Care and the current work of the charity, please visit

Caution: Patients at work!

This week’s blog focusses on the slightly unusual practice of patients doing work in hospital premises, sometimes to help with the running or funding of the establishment. In the majority of cases these were patients who had either mental illness or chronic physical illness, but still who had a good enough measure of health and strength to do work with adequate support and rest.

To prevent the spread of tuberculosis in Edinburgh and allow for the treatment and rehabilitation of sufferers, the ‘Edinburgh Scheme’ was put into action during the early 20th century. For the Scheme the majority of patients were treated in the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH), the most serious cases were sent to the City Hospital in Colinton Mains and patients who were recovering were sent to Polton Farm Colony which was linked with the RVH in 1910.  As the patients’ condition improved they became able to do limited amounts of exercise, although they remained infectious, and as part of their rehabilitation were put to work at a variety of tasks on and around the Colony grounds. Photographic evidence shows that the patients were involved in such activities as growing seed potatoes and flowers, tending to pigs, woodcutting, gardening and road building. The image shows patients at work around the main building and was published in the Report on the Evolution and Development of Public Health Administration in the City of Edinburgh 1865-1919 (LHB16/2/1).

Another establishment where patients were regularly encouraged to do gainful employment was the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. Being directed to do practical tasks has often been used as 'occupational therapy', even though the term may not have been used in earlier eras. There are examples of patients mentioned in the casebooks in the 19thcentury who were formerly tailors by trade and continued to make clothing during their stay in hospital. LHSA also holds a number of photographs from the 1960s and 1970s showing patients at work. Types of duties recorded include poultry farming, woodwork, pottery making and production line work on children’s toys. It is not always clear, however which tasks were used to earn income and which were purely therapeutic. The image shows a patient adding finishing touches to a wooden rocking horse during the 1960s.
A patient decorates a rocking horse in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital during the 1960s (P/PL7/P/043)

Volunteers' Views

This week, Archivist Louise has been asking some of LHSA’s dedicated Royal Edinburgh Hospital casebook indexing volunteers for their personal view on some of the stories that they have encountered during their time with us:

LHSA’s Royal Edinburgh Hospital institutional records (LHB7) undoubtedly make up our most requested collection (although it’s not our biggest), and within that the casebooks that we ask our volunteers to index are enduringly popular with academic researchers and genealogists alike. There’s rarely a time when all the casebook volumes are on the store shelves, whether that’s because I’m researching a family history enquiry with them, they’re being used in seminar teaching or archive tours or a postgraduate student is carrying out their research around them. We have 121 case books in all, dating from 1840 to 1932 (after which cases were recorded on loose-leaf sheets housed in individual folders.)

A rare view of a full shelf of Royal Edinburgh Hospital casebooks (LHB7/51)

Laura, our previous Archivist, had the bright idea to start a project for volunteers to index the casebooks in an access database, recording key details such as the name of each patient, length of treatment, diagnosis and biographical details like occupation and age. Not only has the database provided a key finding aid for individuals in genealogical searches, but it also collates fascinating statistical data across the thousands of patients whose details have been recorded so far (at the end of this week, we’re approaching 10, 800 entries).

So that’s why indexing the casebooks is good for us – but it’s also good for volunteers, giving an introduction into what sort of records that we keep, experience of an archive environment key to entry for vocational qualifications, knowledge of how to handle valuable and unique material and of course all-important skills in deciphering handwriting (essential if you want to work with unpublished documents, which make up the majority of most archival collections.)

A view inside one of the casebooks from 1901 - 1902 (LHB7/51/79)

At the moment, we have four volunteers working on indexing the cases – Fiona Mossman, Aidan Hurst, Arianna Shorey and Catriona Colquhoun – and I’ve asked them to tell me a little more about their impressions of the casebooks and volunteering with us. Because Catriona only started her indexing this week, I didn’t think it was fair to ask her to give her impressions after day one!
For Aidan, volunteering with us has been the first step to exploring a career in archives:
“I started volunteering at LHSA in the middle of November 2014. My first task was to help transcribe a register of the outdoor blind as part of a Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) Scotland project supported by LHSA. I have greatly enjoyed volunteering at LHSA so far – the staff here have been very friendly and welcoming and I feel like I have learned a lot.”

In fact, we learnt today that Aidan has been successful in obtaining a conditional place on the MSc in Information Management and Preservation at the University of Glasgow this Autumn to take his experience in archives to the next level. Congratulations, Aidan!

Aidan busy in the office
Quite a few of our volunteers in the Centre for Research Collections are University of Edinburgh students, wanting to find out about different careers. Both Arianna Shorey and Fiona Mossman started to volunteer more regularly with us after being involved in one of our Volunteer Taster Days, where you can come in to LHSA for a day (whether you’re a University of Edinburgh student or not) and find out a bit more about the archives that we hold and how we work with them. There’s no obligation at all to come back to us, but we find that quite a few people do (it must be the free LHSA pencils!). Arianna is a studying Chinese Studies as a postgraduate, and has enjoyed both the palaeographic challenges and societal insights that these casebooks hold:

“I enjoy the process of indexing the old records and trying to decipher the beautiful cursive script. It is challenging, very similar in a way to a puzzle, but also very rewarding. One of the most interesting things to record is the occupations of the patients. Occasionally, I will come across an unusual occupation, like bookbinder, one that seems to transcend time, like poet, or one that is just so characteristic of the time period the record is coming from, like a cab driver or mattress maker. Little indications of major historical events recorded in the casebooks often catch my attention too, like the acknowledgement of the passing of a new year by decorating a page of the casebook, particularly 1900, or a gradual change in diagnoses, occupation and even names. By far the best thing about the project is the unpredictable nature of the information. Although the type of information you are looking for stays the same, each record, and often, author are different and completely unpredictable.”

Graphic art marking the end of 1899 in one of the casebooks (LHB7/51/75)

Arianna has been brave enough to tackle a more challenging aspect of the indexing as well – looking through earlier volumes that are not structured by a form, but with key data hidden inside paragraphs of physicians’ often idiosyncratic handwriting.

Fiona joined us last September, partly to compliment her undergraduate studies, but also as a step towards gaining her Edinburgh Award, a programme that recognises students’ extra-curricular experience (such as volunteering) by encouraging them to measure the benefits that they have gained:

“Indexing some of the casebooks has given me a taste of what happens in archives while fitting in with the rest of my studies. Perhaps the biggest challenge is the handwriting. There was also much to learn from the point of view of the history of the project, which is a record of mental health patients in Edinburgh from the 1840s until the 1930s. Familiar Edinburgh landmarks and the interesting titbits of information about patients – the delusions of being royalty, or of electrical equipment that could read thoughts – situated the patients more firmly for me. Some case-notes are very sad, as in the case of people suffering from the deaths of loved ones, from overwork or accidents, from rape or abuse to congenital diseases. Working on this project can give an insight into the lives of doctors and patients in Edinburgh over a hundred years ago, and has also helped to create a resource for those who want to research these casebooks for ancestors or for academic research.”

It’ll soon be Fiona’s last week with us, and she has shown great dedication to the project, having presented to us as part of her Edinburgh Award and even creating a guide to help future volunteers to get over the initial hurdles of indexing, such as deciphering names, handwriting and contractions of words, as well as translating the contemporary conventions of the casebooks like now unfamiliar occupations and psychiatric diagnoses.


Examples of some challenging handwriting and contractions used in the casebooks.

You can learn more about volunteering with LHSA here.