It’s the topic that nobody likes to think about. It’s the awkward conversation that causes discomfort everywhere. But if you have a nagging feeling that you need to get tested for STIs, it’s time to listen to your instincts — even if you don’t want to face the truth.
Honestly, the truth is less scary than you think. Getting tested can be a scary process, but the peace of mind and sense of relief makes most people say “it’s not that bad” — even if the outcome isn’t positive. You deserve to be in full consciousness of your health (and your sexual partners do, too). Take a look at some of the most common STI excuses and how to combat them, and schedule an appointment with Neuman GYN for the most compassionate gynecological services in the area.
“I feel fine, I don’t have an STI.”
There are many STIs that don’t express symptoms for months, and in some instances, you might have an STI and not have any physical symptoms at all. It’s essential that you get in for testing, in case you fall into this category. The last thing you want is to wait for symptoms to get out of control or lead to worse physical ailments (syphilis, for example, can lead to brain deterioration). None of this is meant to scare you, it’s just something to know. If you’re sexually active, it’s important to get tested before getting involved with a new partner.
Plus, put yourself in another person’s shoes: If you were with a partner who has never been tested and said they feel fine, would you risk having unprotected sex with them? Or would you prefer them to know for sure?
“My last partner told me they were fine.”
This might very well be true, and you want to be able to trust your partner. But the unfortunate truth is that there are people who will lie about their STI status — or at the very least, lie about having been tested. You don’t want to assume the worst in people, but you do want to look out for your health. Before you engage with a new partner, you should always know your status — that way, both of you can be healthy and safe.
“I’ve only had protected sex.”
First off, good for you! Keep up the good work. However, our gynecologist is here to tell you that there’s still a chance — albeit, a very small one — that you could still be at risk for STIs. For one thing, STIs can be transmitted orally. Secondly, condoms and dental dams are not a fail-proof form of protection. There will always be a risk, and if you’ve experienced condoms that have come off or broken during intercourse, it’s important to get tested.
Even if you’ve always had protected sex and nothing has ever gone wrong, it’s still good to be tested. Chances are, you’ll be completely fine, and can rest easy knowing that your safe sexual practices have paid off.
“I can’t afford to get tested.”
Most insurance plans will cover STI testing as a preventative health measure. If you’re uninsured, there are still options for you to get tested at a lowered rate (or for free). But it’s important to keep in mind the grand scheme of things. We know that spending anywhere from $50-250 can be too much money for many people, but not getting tested and letting potentially undiagnosed issues worsen will end up costing you even more.
This is perhaps the second-most common excuse for not getting tested, and we completely understand. There’s such a stigma attached to STIs, and even asking to get tested has this unfortunate stereotype that there’s something wrong or dirty about the whole thing. You might be anxious that a doctor will judge your sexual history or give you a lecture about having unprotected sex. The best doctors will talk to you about this, but more than anything, will make sure you feel comfortable and safe during the process.
Doctors would rather you come in for testing than not! You’re taking a proactive step in your health, and that should be commended. You have nothing to feel embarrassed or ashamed about.
If the previous excuse was the second-most common excuse, it’s because the fear of the results takes first place. What if I test positive for something? What if I have HIV? are questions that nearly everyone asks themselves when thinking about getting tested, and it’s understandably scary to face these diagnoses which could impact you for the rest of your life.
If there’s one thing our gynecological services want you to know, it’s this: even if you’re positive, your life will keep on going. You will continue living life to the fullest, and you do not have to let your diagnosis stop you. Plus, there are so many advancements in modern medicine that have changed STI prognosis and treatments drastically. This isn’t to say you should have unprotected sex, but it is to say that the fear of being diagnosed with an STI shouldn’t stop you from getting tested.
Be brave, and put your health and the health of others in your life as a top priority. STI testing can be scarier, but it’s even scarier to not address the issue and to let fear rule your life. We’d guess there’s never been a person who regretted getting tested — even if they get news they don’t want to hear, it’s better to know.
If you have more questions about STI testing and our gynecological services, give us a call! We’d love to hear from you, and to help you make your health a priority.