In a perfect world, sex would be all fun and games. Making love would be a pleasurable distraction from one’s life, paving way for all the nice things associated with the act. But the world is far from being perfect, and there’s a handful of unpleasant outcomes that sex could introduce into your life, such as the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections. And while it’s estimated that there are about 20 million new infections each year, a significant percentage of the population still shies away from getting tested for STDs.
This might sound ridiculous, but STD testing is often seen as a shameful and inconvenient process. This not only prevents individuals from getting tested but also makes it hard for couples to approach the subject. It goes without saying that regarding STDs as taboo doesn’t make them any less dangerous. But what if there was a solution that made testing less awkward and, as a result, more approachable?
The Advent of At-home Testing
Basically, the reason why not many people look forward to visiting a clinic for an STD test is that they feel nervous and/or embarrassed about the subject. Fortunately, the health industry has taken note of these concerns and provided an alternative in the form of home STD test kits. Although these aren’t meant to replace standard exams, such innovations will definitely make it easier for couples to approach testing and, as a result, their sexual health as a whole. Besides, the fact that they’re so accessible means anyone could get tested even when they’re on a busy schedule.
To say the least, at-home STD kits will gradually eliminate the excuses commonly given for not getting tested. The ability to test for STDs at home instead of making an appointment with a doctor also carries benefits such as:
-Privacy: There’s no denying that discussing one’s sexual history with a total stranger leads to an encroachment into their personal space. While medical professionals are usually trained to approach the process subtly and delicately, this doesn’t make it any less uncomfortable, especially if it’s your first time getting tested. And this is where things get tricky — in such a scenario, most people will prefer not to divulge certain details of their sexual life, thus preventing the doctor from using the right techniques. A home STD kit eliminates this risk by skipping the awkward conversation and instead offering a variety of tests so you can figure out what you need to do.
-Brevity: Making time for a visit to your doctor will inevitably force you to abandon your routine and reschedule any other appointments you might have. And this often becomes a nightmare when follow-up visits are required. By contrast, most self-test procedures don’t take more than 5 minutes, which means you won’t have to go off your routine to take one. More importantly, you can take the test at any time of day as long as the location allows it, and your lab-certified results will be availed via the internet.
-Security: A good number of LGBT individuals have reported being subjected to physical trauma and insulting language when undertaking STD tests, with others even being denied services altogether. In particular, most transgender individuals often find it hard to access preventive health care due to fear of discrimination and getting shamed. Now add into the equation the aforementioned breach of privacy, and what you have is a state that actively fuels the spread of STDs. Although much still needs to be done to correct this, the comfort and security provided by at-home testing kits make it easier for everyone to start taking control of their health. This is definitely a step in the right direction.
-Affordability: Most manufacturers aim to make their test packages affordable to everyone, including those who aren’t covered by insurance. This means your personal information won’t get into the hands of insurance companies and thus be used to drive up the cost of your plan.
As previously mentioned, it’s very important to keep in mind that these test kits don’t eliminate the need to see a doctor in any way. In fact, you’ll want to consult with yours before purchasing one so they can recommend the best products for you. Should you find out that you have an STD after testing yourself, make an appointment with your doctor for follow-up tests, and treatment, but don’t forget to see a therapist for counseling as well.