Have You Been Tested?

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Welcome Back Lovebirds,

Valentine’s Day has officially come and gone and I hope everyone acquired love in some fashion. This week I want to discuss safe sex and everything that it entails. 

A friend of mine (who lives in a different country) was sharing his COVID dating tricks with me. While joking around between us he shared that he was asking his possible partners one question, which during these times require two separate answers, when was the last time you were tested? I chuckled, but then realized that may be our foreseeable future during this strange time. However, another thought came to me, are people more or less comfortable asking people if they have been tested for COVID or STI’s?

My day job involves a lot of sex education. I have described every form of contraception possible to teens, I have driven clients to the STI clinic more times than I can count, I’ve gotten tested with clients to avoid any stigma they might feel, I have drawn pictures, seen pictures (I did not want to see), heard scenarios, bought condoms, anything involving safe sex practices I have talked about. I am incredibly comfortable asking questions, being asked, and looking up information. I have noticed though that not many people are as comfortable nor as forthcoming. 

That friend I spoke about earlier? He identifies as queer and stated he has never had an issue getting answers from his partners on the last time they were tested for STIs but stated he has noticed a stigma within his heterosexual friends. He noticed an immediate reaction of defensiveness as though the preventative method of testing is an accusatory one. I, myself, have noticed a stigma with testing as well. While things happen and as cautious as people would like to be it isn’t uncommon for unprotected sex to occur when having a casual hook-up. The irresponsible thing is to keep having intercourse with other people and not making sure you are in good health. Also, STI’s can lie dormant, therefore, getting tested once isn’t helpful. 

Action Canada for Sexual Health Rights suggests testing under these circumstances

  •       Every six months
  •       You have a new sexual partner – before you start hooking up
  •       If you have noticed any bumps, discharge, rashes, or other changes in your body
  •     If you or your partners are hooking up with other people
  •       If you had sex with someone who has an STI and didn’t use a condom or other prevention methods
  •       If you had sex without a condom with someone who doesn’t know if they have an STI (because they haven’t gotten tested in a long time)
  •   If you had sex with a condom and the condom broke

Talk to your partners, talk to your friends, talk to your doctors. There should be absolutely no stigma in taking care of yourself and others. STI testing should be as common as a dentist. Maybe more common? Cause lord knows I hate a dentist.

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