By Coley Bochman
A major part of being a healthy sex positive person is knowing your status. I’m not talking about social status or relationship status; I am talking about your STI status. Getting tested regularly is extremely important for having a healthy, happy sexual relationship.
There are two types of STIs, bacterial and viral. Bacterial STIs include gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia. Bacterial STIs can be cured with simple antibiotics. Viral STIs include HPV, Herpes, and HIV. Viral STIs cannot be cured, but they are treatable and can be kept under control with medications.
Many people think that if don’t have any “burning,” “itching,” or “discolored discharge” they don’t have an STI. This is false! Both bacterial and viral STIs have something in common- most carriers are asymptomatic. This is just a fancy way of saying that the individual with the STI does not have symptoms. Yep, that’s right, a disease can be living in your body causing a lifetime of harm and can be passed on to sexual partners and you wouldn’t even know you have it. For example, one out of five people have herpes and the majority of them are asymptomatic.
According to ityoursexlife.org, there are nineteen million new cases of STIs a year, in the United States alone. Statistically, that means that by age twenty-five, one in two sexually active people will have had an STI. These numbers may seem scary, but the good news is that STIs can be prevented!
No one can tell you how often to get tested. There is no magical number of times that works for everyone. Everyone’s sexual experience is different. If you feel like you have been exposed or are at risk for contracting an STI it’s easy to get tested.
I charge you to get tested and “know your status.” Have a conversation about STIs with your sex partners. Create open communication with your friends and challenge their knowledge about STIs. Get everyone in the know!
Just think, a quick, simple blood test or urine sample could mean a world of a difference. Male and female condoms are an easy way to protect yourself from most STIs but they do not protect from everything. There is no reason to not get tested. Be the change!