People have sex, and STIs happen. If you're sexually active, getting tested for sexually transmitted infections is an important part of self care. Smashing the stigma of STIs includes normalising the conversation around getting tested. Looking for reasons? Here’s 5.
- You have symptoms
Call us obvious, but, like the signs of an STI, this one’s too important to miss. While many STIs are asymptomatic wallflowers, others announce their presence with ferocity.
Common STI symptoms include:
- Pain around the genitals and lower abdomen
- Itching or irritation around the genitals or bottom
- Rash, lumps or bumps around the genitals or bottom
- Leaking or discharge from your genitals or anus
- Burning sensation when you pee
If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your doctor about getting tested.
2. You receive a partner notification
If your current or previous sexual partner is diagnosed with an STI, their doctor will ask them to notify their sexual partners from the past 3 to 6 months. Whether they loop you in personally, through their doctor, or via an anonymous notification service, the important thing is you’re better off knowing. Then you can get that checkup ASAP to prioritise your health and that of your sexual partners.
- You start a new relationship
If your new relationship is hurtling down the highway to unprotected sex, don’t forget to detour via your nearest clinic. Whether you’re monogamous or poly, casual or committed, the responsible thing to do is to get checked out before dispensing with barrier protection. Taking the initiative to get tested ahead of time? Huge green flag.
- You’re trying to get pregnant
Some STIs, such as syphilis, pose serious health risks to pregnant people and their babies. Others, like chlamydia, can cause infertility if left untreated. If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, speak with your doctor about getting checked as part of your routine pre and antenatal health screening.
- It’s been a while
Time flies when you’re having fun. If you regularly have sex with new or different partners, experts recommend you get a sexual health check every three months. If you’re in a long-term relationship and sexually active, you’re still advised to get a sexual health check at least once yearly.
Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong reason to speak to your doctor about STI testing. Regular screening and safe sex practices allow you to take control of your sexual wellbeing. Luckily, getting checked is super easy, sometimes you can even self-test - and you can even bring a plus one with you for support.