Clinic Offers Free Pizza in Hopes of Boosting STD Tests

The "Pee for Pizza" event is being paid for by a Minnesota Department of Public Health grant in efforts to combat skyrocketing STD rates.

Jelisa Castrodale

Photo via Flickr user Reimaging Erica

It’s hard to find something more nerve-shredding than waiting for the results of your STD tests. Whether you’re peeing in a cup out of necessity, out of fear, or as an optimistic promise at the start of a new relationship, it can be terrifying—even if the most high-risk behavior you’ve participated in was forgetting to erase your internet history after Googling “Burger King + PornHub.”

But one community clinic thinks it’s found a way to make getting tested more appealing: by offering free pizza.

The Semcac Clinic in Winona, Minnesota is hosting an event it calls “Pee for Pizza,” which will serve free STI screenings alongside complimentary slices of pizza to anyone who is interested in fear-eating their dinner. (“The bad news? You have gonorrhea. The good news? EXTRA CHEESE!”).

According to the Winona Daily News, the event is being paid for by a grant awarded by the Minnesota Department of Public Health, which is more-than-willing to trade pepperoni for test results out of desperation. In the past ten years, the state’s rate of chlamydia has increased by 71 percent, and the rates of gonorrhea and syphilis increased by 25 percent and 30 percent, respectively, during a one-year (!!!) period from 2015 to 2016.

The director of the Semcac Clinic, Megan Musolf, told the Daily News that the clinic had hosted this event previously, but not since 2014. Despite the strange-sounding pairing, it works. On a previous Pee for Pizza night in 2012, the Semcac Clinic set a record for the number of men who came in for testing. According to a report prepared by one of the organizers, the group set a modest goal of 30 participants, prepared for 40, and tested 70. Not only that, but a significant number of those who participated were being tested for the first time. (We knew free pizza was a big draw, but…)

Another Pee for Pizza event, held at the University of Minnesota-Morris, was prepared to offer 50 tests, but ended up testing 74. And Pee for Pizza seems to be a combination medical test-slash-social event that is held with some regularity on assorted college campuses, which makes sense on a number of levels. (“Attend the walk-in Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) clinic during these times to get FREE FOOD!” the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point promised.)

If the prospect of not paying for pizza is good enough to get people to consider their grim march toward their own deaths, then peeing in a cup seems like nothing. Oh, and Wichita State students, you can trade a cup of warm pee for a slice of hot pizza on Wednesday night. The organizers just ask that you arrive with a full bladder—and an empty stomach.