MTSU offers Oct. 1 ‘Tunnel of Love’ to help studen...

MTSU offers Oct. 1 ‘Tunnel of Love’ to help students stay healthy

The annual “Tunnel of Love” is returning to MTSU, but contrary to its title, the emphasis is not on romance.

Sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Performance, the event will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, in the Tennessee Room of the James Union Building.

Casie Higginbotham

Casie Higginbotham

Casie Higginbotham, a lecturer in the department, said students, faculty and staff will be able to walk through the event in about 20 minutes to learn how sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, are transmitted, treated and prevented.

“We know that some of the most common infections, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, can be asymptomatic and therefore persist in the body for years because an individual does not seek treatment,” Higginbotham said. “For women, this is especially damaging, as it may compromise fertility later in life.”

tunnel of love broken heart graphic croppedThe Centers for Disease Control estimates that young people ages 15-24 make up about a quarter of the sexually active population but account for about half of new STI cases.

“We in (the Department of) Health and Human Performance want the students on our campus to understand risk and prevention when it comes to their sexual health,” said Higginbotham.

“We believe that being informed about STIs will lead students to responsible choices.”

Nashville CARES, a nonprofit organization with a mission “to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Middle Tennessee,” according to, will be on hand to provide free HIV testing. Higginbotham said students will receive results within minutes.

Some professors may offer extra credit for attendance. Students are asked to complete a worksheet provided at the event entrance and return it to faculty as proof of attendance.

For more information, contact Higginbotham at 615-904-8274 or

— Gina K. Logue (