STI Testing: Why You (and Everyone Else) Should Get Tested by Cher Ghafari
Getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) – they’re the same thing can be scary for any one. Even as someone who volunteers at a sexual health clinic and is considered low risk (ie. is in a monogamous relationship and uses condoms) I STILL get nervous when I go for a regular check up – even though I know (or I think I know) that I have nothing to be worried about.
So why do I go? Because it’s important for both my health and my partner’s health, making STI testing a routine – for both of us. Remember, even when you think you know, you many not know as much as you need to. You don’t know until you get tested. Why? Well, let me ask you this – what is the most common symptom of a STI? None!
So regular STI testing is a must and should be done:
- a) 3 months after having sex for the first time
- b) yearly if in a long-term relationship
- c) before each new partner to a maximum of every 3 months
- d) if you are experiencing symptoms
Or you what? If you wake up one morning and just feel like getting checked for the heck of it, go for it!
Many people are also under the false impression that they are not at risk, or that the risk is lower now than it used to be. Is that true? Unfortunately not. Statistically, in Canada from 1997 to 2010, there was a 143%, 124% and 1200% increase in the number of reported cases for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, respectively1 – and the numbers are still increasing.
The good news is: knowledge, using barriers such as condoms, dams and gloves, communication and regular testing can reduce the transmission of STIs.
And do you know what else? All STIs are treatable! However, only chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis can be cured. Moreover, testing is easy – especially for chlamydia and gonorrhea. However, if not caught early enough, they too can have negative irreversible long-term effects on your body. So why take the risk? Go get tested now – it can be as easy as 1, 2, 3 pee!
1. Public Health Agency of Canada. Report on Sexually Transmitted Infections in Canada: 2010. Centre for Communicable Diseases and Infection Control, Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Branch, Public Health Agency of Canada; 2012. Available from http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2013/aspc-phac/HP37-10-2010-eng.pdf
Written by our *amazing* (we may be biased!) Service Canada student, Cher Ghafari