There’s plenty of information about how to have safe sex these days, but accidents happen — and full disclosure isn’t always guaranteed in hook-ups or even between committed partners. There’s an element of shame to admitting that you have an STD (sexually transmitted disease) and for some, it’s easier to sweep it under the rug. However, keeping quiet about STD’s (and not seeking treatment yourself) can have devastating impacts for both you and your partner(s). If you suspect you have an STD, you should visit a healthcare professional to get STD testing done and let any partners you’ve slept with recently know that they should get tested as well. If you’re worried about the cost of STD testing, do keep in mind that some organizations may offer free or discounted tests if you need financial assistance. Depending on what kind of health insurance you have, the cost of STD testing may also be discounted or eliminated altogether.
What’s the Danger of Not Taking Action if You Suspect You Have an STD?
For one, if you have multiple sexual partners, you risk spreading the STD further. If they are also sleeping with other people, the STD will continue to spread, so you may be responsible for dozens of other people also suffering from the STD. Being proactive and open if you suspect you have an STD can often be viewed as a matter of personal responsibility. It can also damage relationships if your partner finds out you had an STD and weren’t upfront about it before sleeping with them.
Some STD’s can even cause sterility or increase your risk of contracting HIV, if left untreated over a long period of time and if you’re a woman, some can cause other health complications like pelvic inflammatory disease or risk a pregnancy.
Where Can I Get STD Testing Done?
There are a number of places you can get tested for STD’s, many of which can take the burden of worrying about the cost of STD testing off your shoulders. One good option is visiting a low cost health clinic or free walk in clinic near you. If you’re in a college setting, free STD testing centers may be available.
In STD clinics, the staff there specializes in sexually transmitted diseases and how to treat them, so they may have more advanced testing and treatment options at their disposal. Since they specialize in STD’s, some people may feel more at ease discussing it with them.
Another valuable resource is your doctor, who has the “big picture” so to speak, on your overall health. They can provide STD testing kits and often can do same day STD testing in an environment you’re familiar with. Additionally, since your doctor knows what medications you’re on, he or she can make sure the STD treatment doesn’t conflict with any other prescriptions you’re on.
You can also get online STD kits or do at-home tests for even more privacy. The online STD tests are FDA-approved and come right to your house and can test for multiple types of STD’s. The tests are sent to medical labs to provide the best testing at nationwide testing centers and if the diagnosis is positive, physician support is offered. All you need a blood or urine sample, depending on the test and results are available between one to three days.
While at-home test kits are probably the most private type of test that you get online or at pharmacies, there are only two you should be using that are FDA-approved. However, it’s recommended that if you do an at-home test, you should still follow up with a doctor or STD clinic to verify the results. The tests are not often 100% reliable if you’re doing the test after you’ve already had the infection for three months or so.
There are 110 million Americans at any given time who have an STD, so you shouldn’t feel like you’re alone if you suspect you have one. If you’re worried about the cost of STD testing, there are certainly low-cost alternatives you can seek out. It’s important to seek verification and treatment immediately, for your sexual health and the sexual health of any partners you may have.