If you think that getting tested for a sexually transmitted disease is embarrassing, just think how awful you would feel if you happened to share an STD with someone you care about. Sure, going for an STD test may seem like an invasion of your privacy, but it doesn’t have to be. If you know where and how to get a confidential STD test, you can protect your privacy while protecting your health as well as the health of your partners.
When should you be tested for an STD?
There are a number of common STD symptoms that should trigger an immediate visit to consult with a healthcare professional. Among them are painful, burning sensations while urinating, lower abdominal aches, a foul-smelling discharge, swollen lymph glands in the groin area, and a low-grade fever. In women, STDs may cause intermittent bleeding between menstrual periods, says Mayo Clinic.
Please be aware that not everyone infected with a sexually transmitted disease experiences any symptoms at all. Some people are unaware of their own infection until a sexual partner shares the unhappy news. For this reason, it’s a wise idea for anyone about to enter into a sexual relationship be tested prior to a first encounter. If you’re concerned about your confidentiality, peruse your STD testing options to find a clinic near you that promises privacy.
Why you should be tested for an STD infection
Sexually transmitted diseases are caused by various organisms, none of which leave the body without medical intervention. Bacterially caused STDs include gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia. STDs brought on by a virus include human papillomavirus, genital herpes, and HIV infection that can accelerate into full-blown AIDS. An itchy, uncomfortable STD called trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite that’s spread from sexual and other intimate contact. In many cases, the cure is as simple as an injection.
If left untreated, any of the above-mentioned STDs can cause chronic problems, including infertility and worse.
If you’re sexually active, you are at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. Sorry to bear the bad news, but that’s exactly how it is. The more often you have sex, and the more partners you have, the more exposed you are to a dreaded sexual disease. To protect yourself, use a condom every time you have intercourse. Use a latex dental dam when you participate in oral sex. If you’ve had one STI, it may be easier for a secondary infection to take hold. This doesn’t mean you have to deny yourself a full and satisfying sex life– just be careful to protect yourself and your partner every single time to engage in sexual activity.
Free, confidential STD testing
A number of clinics provide free testing for gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, hepatitis, syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections.SaferSTDTesting is one of them. Actually, the company provides confidential, no-cost STD testing in hundreds of cities from coast to coast. If you’re anywhere from Albuquerque to Anchorage, you can find a free STD clinic that will let you know if you have been infected with any sort of transmittable sexually-related disease.
On your parent’s insurance plan? Protect your privacy
Occasionally, insurance policyholders receive confidential health information about other people on their health plan. Sometimes, it’s required by law. Sometimes, insurance companies simply send that sort of private info to whomever owns a particular sort of health insurance policy. For a teenager on a parental health insurance policy, this sort of divulged information can be more than a bit embarrassing.
According to MyHealthMyInfo, anyone, including minors, may submit a Confidential Communications Request that California insurance companies must by law adhere to. Also called a CCR, this sort of binding request can protect your privacy when being examined or treated for STD, pregnancy, birth control services, and other personal medical matters. In many cases, you may submit your request for confidentiality over the phone. Whether submitted that way or via a written request, the insurer must honor your request, as long as it pertains to sexual medicine, addiction treatment services, abortion and other women’s birth control services.
STDs are not fun for anyone, but they are a fact of adult life. The best anyone can do is protect themselves with safer sex, abstain from random sexual activity with strangers, know your own body, and drop by a confidential testing clinic any time an STD symptom shows up. There’s no reason to feel embarrassed when your privacy is assured.
Natalie Martin is a freelance writer, and when she is not working on her next article she can usually be found in her garden. She attended the University of Cincinnati before turning to writing and now spends much of her time drawing attention to some of the major health problems that are plaguing the country today. Natalie resides along the Gulf Coast with her 6-year-old Labrador Retriever.