Consider This Your Sign To Get That STI Check If 2020 Has You Avoiding Real Life

I don’t know about you all, but my ability to procrastinate and put everything off until the absolute last second has increased significantly this year. Not only has my usual routine been thrown into complete chaos (a feeling I’d normally avoid above all else), but I can’t even muster the energy to care about the dumpster fire surrounding me.

But even with my daily habits going out the window, one thing that I’ve found to be, frankly, alarming, is the news that many Australians have been putting off important and genuinely life-saving medical procedures because of the C and P words this year. Honestly, I get it. And sure, I’ll give you a tiny little bit of grace for feeling like your problems aren’t as big as the ones other people are facing around the world right now — but I’ll also tell you that it’s time to cut that out.

If you need someone to tell you to put yourself first for a minute, consider this permission, nay, an order to do so. And what’s one place you can start? Book your damn STI check. Yep, even if you are a stickler for using condoms, you still need to get tested.

We’ve all put some things off this year. Maybe you had your appointment booked for April, and then the world imploded on itself so it completely slipped your mind. But boo, it’s November, which means it’s officially time to start ticking those self-care items off your list.

Here are some truth bombs: getting an annual STI check is not only easy to do, but it’s also a really simple way to ensure you’re keeping yourself, and your sexual partners, safe.

The prevalence of syphilis infections is increasing across population groups including heterosexuals and people of child bearing age. Most STIs are curable and all are treatable, so the worst thing to let happen is not getting yourself tested in the first place. Don’t let the possible positive result that you may get put you off getting tested. Because syphilis (or any other STI) is not the kind of thing you want to leave untreated.

And if you do test positive? Well, first, you’ll obviously get some advice on treatment options. Next, any of your sexual partners from the past three to six months who may also be at risk will need to be notified. The good news here is that if you’re not comfortable telling them yourself, your health care provider or GP can help you contact them or you can use Let Them Know to contact them anonymously.

In case you need to hear it again: there is no shame in getting a regular STI check. In fact, in our books, it’s actually way cooler to just get it done. And once you’re finished, why not open up some dialogue with your mates and casually mention that you’ve just had your annual test. It might just be the reminder they need to stay safe and get checked, too.

If you want more info on exactly what goes down during an STI check, and what exactly it’s testing for, check out the Better Health Channel by the Victorian Government.