By: Moira Bryan
STI testing and treatment has come a very long way in the last 100 years. It’s now very easy to get tested, and depending on the diagnosis, treatment can be just as easy. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma surrounding the issue.
STIs aren’t common, but they aren’t uncommon either. Chances are, you will be diagnosed or you will know someone who will be diagnosed with an STI within your lifetime. This is why it is very important to get tested if unprotected sex is a norm in your life. Doctors recommend getting checked once every six months if you have unprotected sex with multiple partners. In some cases, symptoms never show up and you may have something your entire life, making testing even more crucial.
The testing process is fairly easy, there are two urine samples and two blood samples taken. Depending on your results, you may get a phone call to let you know that you have been diagnosed, and will require treatment. For certain STIs, treatment can be as simple as a handful of pills or a one-time shot. Unfortunately, there are several STIs that are still incurable, although most incurable infections have treatments that can make life livable and prevent you from passing on the infection. Certain diseases, if left unchecked, can cause further sickness and in some cases even death, which is why it is so important to get checked.
The stigma of STIs is still one that assumes you must be sleeping around if you were able to get one, which, in most cases, is incorrect. STIs can be transmitted sexually, orally or through touch, so it’s always important to get tested. There’s also a misconception that doctors will look down on you and the experience will be awkward, which can be true, but doesn’t make getting tested any less necessary. In 2019, doctors are generally fairly aware of most things, and STIs aren’t new information. If your doctor is a family doctor and you’re nervous about how they’ll react, or you’d prefer them not know your sexual history, there are many walk in clinics and sexual health centers that are available as well. To keep the experience from being awkward, bring a trusted friend with you. There’s no poking around down there or anything like that to worry about when you’re getting tested. It’s only once you’ve been diagnosed that they may take a swab of your genital area.
So many articles on STIs preach safe sex but in reality, there are so many other factors to consider.