GYT–Get Yourself Tested

In addition to being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, April also happens to be Get Yourself Tested Month.  Even though STIs are not specifically a women’s issue or an LGBTQ issue, I think it’s worth mentioning Get Yourself Tested Month on this blog because they are HUMAN issues and, regardless of what the Republican party wants you to believe, women and members of the LGBTQ community are people.

On top of that, women are more likely to contract STIs like HIV than men due to biological reasons-~-namely, that they have more membranes exposed during sexual intercourse than men do and are therefore more likely to be exposed.  And men having sex with men (MSM) are 15% more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to contract HIV.

There’s nothing wrong with sex-~-as long as it’s safe.  And no matter WHAT conservative America wants to tell people, the reality is that TALKING about these issues is the only way to practice safe sex.

Like I said in my previous post about HIV, getting tested is the first step to protecting yourself or treating a problem.  1 in 2 young people who are sexually active today will get an STI before the age of 25, and most won’t even know it.  Most people never bother to get tested, and many find it uncomfortable to talk about it with their partners.

But here’s the thing: if you have an STI, it may very well be treatable, even curable, but you’ll never be able to take care of yourself properly if you DON’T get tested.  And like HIV, unless you know what is going on with your body, you can’t make the healthiest possible decisions.  Don’t let yourself get sick or stay sick because you were too scared or too cocky to bother getting tested.

And remember, it doesn’t matter if you’ve only had sex with one person, because you don’t know what THEY’VE done.  You can’t tell just by looking if you or your partner has an STI; sometimes it takes months for symptoms to start showing.  And if I have learned anything from researching HIV in Kenya, it is that partners are not always truthful.  Sometimes they’re scared to come clean or sometimes they just have something to hide, but either way, don’t just go by what they’ve told you.  Getting tested is the ONLY way to know for sure if you have or have not been exposed to an STI.

Many health centers and clinics offer low-cost or even free testing for HIV and STIs.  Don’t take a risk with your health.  April is Get Yourself Tested Month, so please, go to a clinic, find out your status, and talk to your partner.  And remember that condoms are the ONLY form of contraception that protects from STIs.

You can find a test location at GYTNOW.org.

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~ by Randi Saunders on April 4, 2012.

One Response to “GYT–Get Yourself Tested”

  1. […] if that weren’t enough of a problem, people are disincentivized to get tested, which is vital in order for people to make the best possible decisions and for societies to curb […]

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