Let’s get one thing clear: STI checks are nothing to be shy about. We all do not have sex. Well, a majority of us do, and yes, sometimes people contract STIs or STDs.
And sure, the pendants among us will note that STIs and STDs are technically different, in the sense that the former constitutes as an infection that’s not yet developed into a disease.
But for the purposes of this article, the abbreviations are interchangeable.
If you’re sexually active, then it’s always good to have or have had a test at some point in your adult life, regardless of whether you’re careful or assured by your partner that they ‘don’t have anything.’
Sometimes people lie. Other times they are blissfully ignorant of the fact that they may have an STI.
I’ve met people in the past who’ve never been tested, had unprotected sex, yet insist they’re fine.
I trust everyone’s not this naive but the increase in STIs, from many reports just last year were at an all time high, especially in developing countries.
But How Often Should We Get Tested?
Well, according to experts, annually. It also doesn’t take a genius to learn they advise tests after having unprotected sex with someone, as well as in between sleeping with new partners.
That all seems pretty standard, right? But you’d be surprised how many people put it off or ignore it all together.
In 2017, it’s not even about how often you get tested, but simply if you’ve been tested at all.
I’ve known plenty of people who’ve never been tested, despite years of protected and unprotected sex with various people.
Some say it all depends on how promiscuous a person is – it’s not, but it is a common misconception.
Even if you consider yourself a careful patron of knocking boots, there’s no guarantee you’ll always avoid infections or diseases.
And who’s to say having unprotected sex with a partner means you cannot catch something off of them? Just because you’ve been with a person for a while, doesn’t mean it won’t or hasn’t happened.
These things aren’t always visible, in case you’re thinking ‘but my bits look totally normal!’
Often, an STI can go undetected and remain dormant for years. And I mean, many years! You may not even need to ‘catch’ one to have one.
Take genital warts, for example. A really common affliction that can emerge due to a weak immune system, it can remain dormant and unaffecting as a virus to pass on.
But if you end up developing warts over your bits, you’ll want to get them treated.
‘But why do I need one?’ you may be asking yourself.
Well, it gives you absolute piece of mind, for starters. Real peace of mind.
Regardless of whether you’ve had unprotected sex with a one night stand, a friend with benefits, or a long-term partner and haven’t used protection, it’s just nice to know that somewhere along the way you’ve not picked anything up, isn’t it?
READ ALSO: An HIV-Free Generation
People love putting this kind of thing off; they find it uncomfortable or embarrassing. But why?
Think about it this way: if you did have something wouldn’t you want to know to:
(a) get it treated so you’re healthy, and
(b) not risk passing an STI onto someone else?
Getting Tested is Really Easy.
There’s nothing to worry about and the experience is relatively painless.
While you’re there – at your local sexual health clinic – they’ll also offer an HIV test.
So that’s a simple blood test and a urine sample, which combines your HIV and STI tests. Boom, job done.
What’s even better is collecting results is a non-issue, too.
Some nice clinics, for example, will text your results so you don’t have to go through the rigmarole of calling up and asking for them.
Are you scared of the unknown? Been putting it off forever? Probably best to book that appointment, you’ll thank me later.