A burning question
Heather Corinna replies:I need help! I slept with someone and now I burn and am swollen down there. My family doesn't have insurance and I just turned 18. I heard that there are free women's clinics but I can't find any in houston. Can you help me?
In the immortal words of Douglas Adams, don't panic. :)
Whether or not you've got symptoms of noticeable after-effects from partnered sex, once you become sexually active, you will need to get your sexual health looked at at least once a year, including a pap smear and a full STI screening. Certainly, now is as good a time to start as any.
Finding completely free clinics is often difficult, however, clinics often offer a sliding scale, so if you don't have any income or are very low-income, the chances are good that you can get sexual healthcare you can afford. And in the case that the sex you had was unprotected, you can also often get condoms for free at many clinics.
In Houston, here are two places for you to start. Just go ahead and call in, and explain that you need a basic exam and STI testing. If money is an issue, also ask about their fees and if they have sliding scales. If this burning or other symptoms are severe, let them know that, and they'll likely do all they can to get you in as soon as possible. (Though it should be noted that while you need to go get this care, that burning and swelling could just as easily be from intercourse without arousal and/or lubrication as it could from something nastier.)
- Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas: 1-800-230-PLAN will connect you to the closest clinic.
- Legacy Community Health Services. They have several location: see their site to find the number for the one nearest to you.
Either of those venues should be able to serve you, and in the case neither can, either could easily help you find what you need elsewhere.
And just so that you have the basic information for yourself in the future, here are a few links which should be of use: