Thursday

STD Testing

Who Needs STD Testing? 





These days, more and more healthcare professionals are touting the importance of STD testing. Given the number of people infected with STDs without knowing it, the only way to avoid long-term consequences and prevent the spread of such diseases is to encourage people to get tested on regular basis. Tracey Powell is the CEO and founder of getSTDtested, an online company that facilitates STD testing in a manner that protects its customers’ privacy, and according to him, many people tend to shy away from STD testing because of the stigma involved. In fact, Mr. Powell’s business model is rooted in the notion that people should be able to get tested for STDs in a non-judgmental, confidential forum. The company's goal is to persuade those at risk to get the facts about their own health so that they can properly care for themselves while taking steps to ensure that they don’t inadvertently pass along infections to their sexual partners.

In that case, who should get tested for STDs? It’s a good question, and one that Mr. Powell gets asked quite frequently. On a basic level, anyone who is sexually active is technically at risk for an STD, and should therefore consider getting tested. However, there are, of course, some exceptions to the rule. Two people who begin a relationship having never engaged in any sort of previous sexual activity can probably avoid the testing route, provided that they are actually being truthful about their respective pasts. Similarly, married or monogamous couples who got tested prior to the start of their relationships and have been 100% faithful to one another ever since probably do not need to be tested. On the flip side, anyone who chooses to engage in a non-monogamous relationship would be strongly advised to get tested for STDs. Additionally, those who are entering new relationships would be wise to get tested and have their partners get tested prior to engaging in unprotected sexual activity.

Of course, when most people think of STD testing, they assume that such services are predominantly utilized by single people in their teens, twenties, and thirties. While people who are young and single might represent a fair percentage of folks who need and choose to get tested, there are plenty of “older” or “monogamous” people who can certainly benefit from STD testing. For example, recent divorcees returning to the dating scene should probably get tested, or request that their partners get tested, at the beginning of any new relationship. Those who are older but single should get tested if they’ve had a number of sexual partners or a recent sexual encounter that causes concern (even without symptoms). Mr. Powell likes to emphasize the fact that "...there are no age limits on STDs and the profiles of our customers demonstrate demand across virtually all age groups, even including those in their 50s, 60s and 70s."

Some might be quick to assume that married couples are automatically off the hook as far as STD testing is concerned, but in reality, not all married folks are as faithful as they should be. While Mr. Powell would never want to encourage a married person to engage in an unhealthy dose of paranoia, those who are married but have reason to believe that their spouses are being unfaithful should definitely get tested for STDs. Additionally, it’s a good idea for engaged people to get tested for STDs prior to beginning a marriage if they did not already do so earlier on in their relationship.

With the advent of quick, simple, and confidential testing, those at risk for STDs really have little excuse not to take the proper steps to protect themselves and their sexual partners. Remember, as a general rule, if you’re unsure about your partner (or about yourself), then get tested to avoid finding yourself in a medically-uncomfortable or dangerous situation. And if you do happen to learn that you’re a carrier for a particular disease, then be sure to contact your previous sexual partners to let them know. After all, when it comes to preventing the spread of STDs, knowledge is power, and the only way to obtain that knowledge is to get tested accordingly. 

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