2020 has been quite a year so far. Why would knowing your STI status be on your list? With a pandemic, anti racist uprisings and the highest unemployment since the Great Depression. We’re staying home, having our voices heard, and trying to save money. It’s truly a unique time in history. In NYC health care facilities just started reopening for non emergency procedures, so if you needed an STI test you would have been hard pressed to get one. Either way, making the STI testing process more accessible, even without health care is important for all of us.
Most people think they would know if they had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) . . . Wrong! The truth is, many STIs have no signs or symptoms in the majority of people infected. Or they have such mild signs that they can easily be overlooked. Keep in mind that Many STIs can be contracted from sexual activities other than penetration.
Right now we have to use the BDSM guide of RACK to our daily lives. RACK is risk aware consensual kink. It just means you know the risks and use your best judgement to mitigate those risks, from COVID to herpes, to being tied up and blindfolded. Trust your gut.
The only way to know if you have an STI is to get tested.
Although STIs don’t always show symptoms, most of them are treatable. So why not prevent compounding issues down the line. I love ignoring health issues more then I should, but STIs are not something that typically go away without treatment. About 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The whole trick to not being a part of that statistic? Simple instructions, just practice safe sex and stay up to date on tests.
Specifically with gonorrhea and chlamydia, if they progress, these STIs can lead to more serious infections. In rare cases, gonorrhea can also spread throughout the body where it can infect the joints, causing damage and pain within weeks of infection. Both untreated gonorrhea and chlamydia can progress into pelvic inflammatory disease, and can lead to infertility.
The benefits of using stdcheck are you won’t need to see the doctor first. It allows you to go directly to the lab and get your results typically within a few days. Then if you test positive for anything they are able to get the doctor involved via telephone to move forward. It saves a lot of time, money (especially if you don’t have insurance), and keeps things discreet.
There are at home testing kits available, but there is always the chance for user error while taking the sample. Tests done on samples you collect yourself may have a higher rate of false-positive results, meaning the test indicates you have an STI that you really don’t have. If you test positive from a home test, you would need to contact your doctor or a public health clinic to confirm the test results. STDCheck is something you can order from home and get a trained medical professional to take your sample for testing. The best of both worlds.
Don’t assume you’re being tested for everything
Lots of people are confused about getting tested for STIs. You might assume your annual medical check-up will include tests for STIs, especially if your healthcare provider knows you are sexually active. The fact is that some providers might test for some infections when you come in for a regular check-up, while others do not test for any STI unless you ask them to. It’s important to know what to ask for so you can advocate for yourself.
Break the Stigma
The fact such diseases and infections are associated with sexual behavior makes many people anxious. Bottom line is if it involves s-e-x, there’s a good chance someone will be uncomfortable with it.STIs are simply common infections that can affect anyone who has sex. Knowing your status keeps you healthy and prevents more issues in the future. These affirmations are important!
- Having an STI does not make me unloveable or dirty.
- I deserve to feel good and have a fulfilling sexual relationship.
Being intimate with an informed partner can be liberating, allowing you to explore each others’ desires in a safe and trusting environment. In fact, your partner may respect you for being upfront, as conversations about sexual health are too often neglected. If it’s an issue, try to talk it out in a rational way. Sometimes people need time to process information they might be uncomfortable with. If they refuse to get tested, consider it a huge red flag. At the heart of great sex is mutual respect. Whether you and your partner have been together forever, are friends with benefits, or are just hooking up, respect matters.
What to do next
So let’s say you find out you have an STI. The first thing you should do is to educate yourself thoroughly about the infection. You’ll learn that you are far from alone, that tens millions of people deal with STDs, and that most such infections are highly treatable. The vast majority of people with STDs go on to live normal lives and can have healthy sexual relationships.
If sharing your thoughts and anxieties with others facing similar challenges would be helpful there are support groups available to you. Anything from in person groups at community or health centers to online groups. Especially now with COVID lingering, online support group format might be the best way because of the privacy, social distance, and anonymity they afford. At the very least, make sure you share your feelings with a trusted friend. No one should have to deal with anxieties alone. Not to say, you should trust everyone with this information. But secrets can create more shame, and then shame starts building upon itself.
Talking to your partner
Many may feel regret and shame. While expressing your anxiety is totally normal, thinking of your STI as life-ruining and embarrassing may cause your partner to react negatively. Whether your STD is curable or incurable, if you frame your STI as the worst thing ever, your partner will likely pick up on this and think it is too! It’s helpful imagining that you are the one hearing the news.
Rather than treating your STI as a sin or dark secret, be calm, direct, and matter-of-fact about what it means for your health and sex life.
If anyone shames you for having STI then ditch them from your life. Only keep things in your life that bring you joy. If they are making you feel badly about a real-life situation. That’s not healthy. And the reality is that anyone who shames you for this situation is going to or already has shamed you for other situations. Why keep someone like that in your life?
TLDR The takeaway
The easiest easy way to deal with STIs is through knowledge. Share the facts, talk about transmission and protection, and have conversations about sexual health with your partner(s) Talking, testing, and treating are important to protecting your health, as well as your partner’s.
Know your status
This post was sponsored, but as always all thoughts are my own.