Let’s talk about getting tested.
I know what you might be thinking. You would definitely know if that guy you brought home had chlamydia… like for sure you would have noticed if something was off. And that girl was way too pretty to have gonorrhea, you’re totally certain! None of your friends would ever contract something like that and there’s no way you wouldn’t know if you had one yourself.
If this sounds like you, let me tell you what I’m thinking: you’re wrong. Do you want to know why you’re wrong? Because good-looking people can absolutely get STIs and most STIs don’t have ANY symptoms in over 50% of infected people.
If you have sex (vaginal, anal, oral or whatever else you might be doing) and you aren’t using a physical barrier between you and your partner, YOU COULD CONTRACT AN STI. If you are in a relationship, YOU COULD CONTRACT AN STI. Even if you only have sexual contact with people who “look clean”, YOU COULD CONTRACT AN STI. And if you think you have some weird 6th sense that tells you when people have a venereal infection, you’re wrong and you could totally contract an STI even if your third eye isn’t seeing it.
Here’s the deal. If you have sexual contact with someone without a physical barrier, call up the Mud Creek clinic or go online to book an appointment with a nurse at the Acadia Clinic. It’s a little awkward- sure- but is it more awkward than looking up that person you brought home from the Vil last weekend to tell them over Facebook message or Instagram DM that you gave them something? Is it worse than wondering if your genitals are infected with something that might affect your chances of having children at some point? These infections do not go away over time and can wreak havoc on your system if left untreated!
To avoid an incredibly weird conversation with someone you found attractive enough to sleep with, you’ll go to go to the doctor’s office and tell the receptionist that you’re here ‘to get tested’ in a very hushed voice. You’ll sit in the waiting area and scroll on your phone, hoping that no one asks you why you’re there. While you’re pretending to cough (you’ll say you think you have strep if anyone asks) and avoiding eye contact with anyone who comes into the room, consider that you’re doing a good deed.
Instead of pretending this is some taboo subject that no one has any experience with, let’s be real. Nearly everyone knows someone who has had an STI. So why are we all pretending that it doesn’t happen? Why are we stigmatizing getting tested- something that would help us all?
So, here’s my suggestion to every sexually active Acadia student: talk about it! Go get tested with your friends- make a day out of it and grab an ice cream at The Real Scoop or a beer at The Axe afterward. Don’t make it some big secret. You should be proud of yourself! You held yourself accountable for your actions and made an adult decision to get tested. Good for you!
We’re pretty much all adults here (sorry to the 17 year olds in first year- I’ve been there and I feel for you) so why can’t we act like it? If you’re sitting in the waiting room in the basement of Dennis and your buddy from class comes in, ask what they’re in for. If they fake a cough and say it might be strep, you don’t have to call them out- but if they ask you what you’re in for, why lie? You’re there to get tested to make sure you don’t have to Twitter message anyone about having given them the clap. Own it! Shout it from the rooftops! I peed in a cup! I got swabbed! I don’t have an STI! –You could even use it as a pickup line!
Of course, if you’re absolutely mortified about getting tested and you couldn’t even manage to lie about maybe having strep, there is one other option. And hear me out- it’s not that bad. YOU CAN ALSO JUST USE A CONDOM.
So that’s it. Book an appointment or use a condom. Take the free condoms in the SUB and in the clinic and take advantage of the free health care that we all pay for.
Shout it from the rooftops: safe sex is good sex and safe sex means getting tested!