You Deserve Better Testing

Knowledge Base Article

Imagine two people meeting at a polyamory meet and greet. They hit it off and exchange telephone numbers. Soon they begin dating and find themselves discussing their sexual health over dinner.

One person breaks the ice by saying, “I was STD tested just last month. My doctor tested me for everything, and I was clean. When was the last time you received an STD exam?”

The other person might say, “Just last week! The doctor tested me for the ‘works,’ and I was also negative.”

Those two people think they discussed STDs and knew each other’s status, but they didn’t.

You see, STDs are plural. There are multiple infections and diseases, and some of these infections are specific to one area of the body and require multiple locations to be tested.

We’ve seen wild variations in what providers look for in their lab orders. There was so much variation that the two people in the example were almost certainly not tested for the same things.

It’s possible that the first person’s doctor tested him for HIV, genital gonorrhea, and chlamydia. The second person’s doctor may have tested her for syphilis, trichomoniasis, and hepatitis.

That’s a huge problem, and why we founded Shameless Care.

Here are some things to consider when you think about your last STD exam.

Do you know what diseases/infections you have tested for and what collection methods and locations were used? If not, find the answers to those questions.

That way, when you discuss STD tests, you can say something like, “My doctor tested me for HIV, Hepatitis C, and syphilis with a blood test. The doctor also tested me for genital gonorrhea and chlamydia with a urine sample.”

That may sound like too much information, but the alternative “I was STD tested and am clean” is not any information at all, really.

Also, consider if your current regimen matches your sexual practices.

Many people have unprotected oral sex, making them vulnerable to oral gonorrhea or chlamydia infections. Those highly contagious bacteria can live in the throat, waiting to infect other people’s genitals. They can also be asymptomatic in the throat, which makes testing key.

Was your throat swabbed during your last STD exam? Did the medical provider stick something that looked like a giant Q-Tip down your throat and swirl it around?

If not, this is a huge “red flag” that your provider may not understand the consensual non-monogamy lifestyle, modern sexual practices, and the actual risk profile of most people.

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