It was the day before my roommates and I were due to return home for Thanksgiving (a while ago now), and we found ourselves with a little downtime. So, naturally, we decided to get tested for STDs. Okay, I know what you’re thinking…naturally? Are you serious? And to that I say you’re absolutely right: getting STD tested with roommates is hardly my idea of a fun way to kill time, and I’m sure most will agree. But if I told you the story ended with us laughing off the suggestion, killing a bottle of wine, and sleeping like babies until it was time to drive home the following morning, I’d be lying. Before you call me crazy, if you haven’t already, just hear me out on this one!
To answer any preliminary questions: no, I didn’t have an STD; and no, none of my roommates had any STDs either. In fact, none of us even had any symptoms. We were the rare creatures that came in for the sake of confirming what we already knew: that we were safe and free from any infections or diseases that everyone has heard about but barely understands. So why the hell did we go then, right? It’s a reasonable question, and one I asked myself as the nurse inquired “So you don’t have any symptoms? You mean, you’re just here to get tested…just because?” But by the end of the examination, she was commending me for coming in, telling me not enough people had the mindset of my roommates and I (by that time, the whole staff figured out we were together) and looking back on it, I couldn’t agree more. There were some real benefits to getting tested with little logical doubt the tests would come back negative, and the more I thought about it, and the more I learned about STDs (in my Contemporary Health Issues class, that is) the happier I was that I got tested! Let me explain why.
First off, a personal note as to why I agreed to get tested and why I’m broadcasting it for viewers to read, since I haven’t quite answered that question and I’m sure it’s still a bit mystifying. Full disclosure: I’m not really a ‘one-night-stand’ kinda girl, so any stigmas or stereotypes regarding sexual activity and STDs are irrelevant. The simple truth is, my roommate suggested it, and my other roommate and I agreed to it. The more explicit explanation, you ask? No one is perfect, and nothing is certain when sex is concerned. With assigned readings about STDs in my ‘Contemporary Health’ text, discussions of safe sex practices and how they can fail, and with countless pictures on the projector during my nine AM class, God knows I should be the last person to forgo an STD test. And just because I was cautious and aware during sex didn’t guarantee anything. To me, knowing for sure that I had been smart and safe was worth the momentary embarrassment and temporary inconvenience of trekking to the county health department. And this last statement leads me to my reasoning for sharing this whole experience: why was I embarrassed? Why is there a stigma surrounding STD testing? Why are STD tests for us equatable to Voldemort for the characters in Harry Potter? This is something I think needs to change, and maybe with a look at the facts, some of you can at least see things from my perspective.
Well, here’s hoping you looked through the gallery, checked out some of the websites, and you’ve learned a littler something about STDs. Here’s also hoping you see my point a little clearer by now, you’ve realized I’m not actually crazy, and you no longer look at STD testing as something that should be looked down upon! I guess that was my goal with this whole post: to change the way people see STD testing from a negative to a positive in terms of health and prevention. We all have a right to know what goes on with our bodies, and to label sexual health as a non-issue is simply foolish, especially when we have so much working against us.
What do you guys think about the information in this article, or my experience? Have a similar story, feel free to share it here!
[Lead image via stockyimages/Shutterstock]