Considering most of us still can’t fathom booking a doctor’s appointment over the phone, the sheer thought of visiting a doctor for a sexual health check is enough to send you into a routine stress-procrastination-nap.
You can avoid it all you like (to your demise, cool) but if you’ve been bonking, there’s kinda no way of getting out of having an STI check. You may not have the bumps, or the pain whilst peeing, or the rash, however, STIs can still set up shop in ya bod without presenting themselves, which quite frankly has me shook. In short, most STIs don’t present symptoms, so it’s important to get tested regularly.
Even though this may send a shock wave of anxiety through your system, putting off getting an STI test is potentially dangerous for you and your hunnies. STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhoea can be treated with a dose of antibiotics but without you or your partners getting tested and treated you can easily get infected again.
To get a couple of varying opinions on the task, we asked a few PTV peeps about their experiences getting their nether regions swabbed and pee inspected in the hopes that you too will be inspired to go and get checked.
The verdict is ultimately that it’s a pretty standard visit, and remembering doctors have heard absolutely everything in the book when it comes to matters pertaining to gettin’ busy makes it way easier, but we’ll let them do the talking from here.
I had an IUD put in over a year ago, and it’s standard procedure to check for STIs beforehand. I also get tested every 3 months as my partners and I are all poly and it’s best practice for my health and the health of my partners to check these things.
I’ve always found the process super quick, easy and reasonably non-invasive. There’s a lot of stigma still attached to STIs, which I experienced when a partner messaged me to let me know one of his partners had contracted chlamydia and he was waiting on his test results. He lost a few friends/partners when he let them know, which I found really sad.
Our understanding of love, sex and gender are constantly evolving, and our approach to sexual health needs to evolve along with it. I’m lucky that I have healthcare professionals that are open-minded and strive to make the whole process easy to access and navigate – a quick “pee in a cup and go swab this and then I’ll take some blood” is all it takes.
So I got tested at my local doctor. I had to get my CST, the cervical screening test, cause I’m over 25 now so I just asked for a test at the same time. I think having CST regularly after you turn 25 is 100% part of getting STI checked. So when I got my test, the doctor took a swab to check for Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia.
I didn’t even feel it because it was done at the same time as my CST. Then I was given a blood test for HIV and syphilis. I was told I’d be contacted with my results, and they were all negative. Yay!
The hospital has a great clinic, and it’s free for at-risk people including gay men, sex workers and young people. When I first went they encouraged me to make an appointment but said I could also drop in if I really wanted to. Earlier that day someone texted me to say they had tested positive for chlamydia. It was my first time in that situation and I was pretty scared.
When I went, the staff at reception were very chilled and professional and I probably had to wait half an hour to see a doctor. The doctor I had was the coolest person ever, she spoke in everyday language, which made the whole situation less uncomfortable, and I appreciated that she knew about gay stuff despite not being gay herself.
She answered every single question I had and made me feel completely at-ease. I got my results a few days later and that was the end of it. Easy in, easy out. Because of that experience I now get tested regularly.
I have an STI check before and after starting a new relationship. It’s just something I’ve always done and feel super comfortable asking a GP for, IMO it’s more shameful to not get checked routinely. All you have to spare is a little wee and blood and ya laughing.
That being said, I have been put in an uncomfortable position before where I’ve needed to urgently get myself checked out. A past boyfriend wasn’t as diligent with STI checks before we started bonking (even though I’d prefaced it was important). As a result, I ended up having chlamydia for 6 months undetected.
My doctor was super empathetic and I was treated immediately. It was my first time having contracted an STI so it was a matter of taking antibiotics and returning a few weeks later to check that I was in full health and ready to bang freely again (w/ adequate protection of course).