Friday, 14 September 2018

Sexual Health Doesn't Need To Be Taboo.*

Recently I wrote a post about a vibrator, and why I think it's okay to be open about sex. It's something almost all adults engage in and enjoy, so why are we so reluctant to talk about it? This is especially true when it comes to the topic of sexual health - and it's about time that changed.

September is Sexual Health Month, so now is the perfect time to combat the taboo around testing and avoiding infections or diseases. Taking charge of your health in whichever way you are able is always a positive, and being responsible about your sexual health shouldn't be something you are ashamed of. 

So should you be getting tested? Simply put, yes. It is advised that you are tested annually (yes, even if you're in a monogamous relationship), as well as between new partners - and definitely after unprotected sex! Many infections can appear symptomless so you might not even realise you have one. This isn't good news - you can easily spread them and they may affect your fertility or cause you complications in the future. 

STI/STDs are rising in both the UK and the USA. Clearly, this is a big issue, one that can only be combatted with education, protection, and treatment. Despite this, so many of us have never been tested!

Sexual health testing can seem quite intimidating. We seem to put a lot of pressure on ourselves when it comes to sexually transmitted infections or diseases, as if they are a certain kind of illness that makes a comment on our characters and morals. Newsflash: getting ill doesn't make you a bad person! You don't have to be 'promiscuous' (not that that's really a thing) to catch something. Having an infection or disease doesn't mean you are 'ruined', any more than having a chest infection or a skin disease would!

I remember the first time I was tested. Even though I knew I was fairly low-risk, there was definitely a little voice in my head that was ashamed or afraid. Unfamiliar medical processes are always a bit disconcerting. It would have been nice to have been able to openly talk about the process with other people who had been through it - which is why we need to shatter the taboo and be able to talk frankly about sexual health testing.

In the UK we are lucky to have the NHS and specific free sexual health clinics to visit, but if you are in the USA, why not try You can order your test online - even picking which specific infections you'd like to test for - before attending one of over 4500 centres across the USA. Depending on what you are testing for, you only need to provide a blood or urine sample (or both if you're doing their comprehensive 10 test panel), and can be in and out of the lab within 5 minutes, before securely receiving your results online 1-2 days later. You don't need to undress, no one will know what you're being tested for, and you'll be able to speak to a physician if any of your results are positive. It's convenient and fast, and reasonably priced - the basic version of the 10 test panel is under $200.

Sexual health is seen as an embarrassing subject, but looking after yourself shouldn't be shameful. It's always better to know for certain what's going on with your body, particularly when so many issues can be dealt with quickly. Those five slightly awkward minutes of getting tested are more than worth it to protect the health of yourself, and your partners.

Have you ever had a sexual health test? How did you find the experience? Or is it something you've been putting off?
*This is a sponsored post.

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