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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Full STI screenings

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Author Topic: Full STI screenings
blueberry
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Hi Scarleteen!

I've been looking through the articles related to STIs on the main site and the general idea seems to be that everyone should get a full screening regularly (at least once a year?), no matter what kind of sexual activities they're engaging in.

However, where I live it seems very hard to get a full STI screening done even once, not to mention having it done every year... A friend of mine who've had a lot of different sex partners got told they wouldn't test her for everything because she could only have gotten the more unusual ones if she had been doing 'something suspicious', which seems absolutely ridiculous to me. Same thing happened to my boyfriend who got a huge moral lesson after admitting that he had had sex without a condom (before we met). I mean, it's great if people have safe sex but isn't it also a good thing for young people to take responsibility for their mistakes and want to get checked so they won't spread the diseases to others?

As for myself, I'm wondering if it would be good for me to have a full screening done as well, even though I've only had sex with one person in my life. My boyfriend got tested for everything he could right before we met, but that was two years ago and since guys apparently can't be tested for HPV (which I only learned today), should I at least get tested for that one? I've been tested for chlamydia three times (twice when I was living in the UK because it was part of their regular health check there) and had a pap test two years ago which I'm going to do again soon, but that's it.

I guess I'm also a bit worried that I might have gotten something from my boyfriend that didn't show up in his test because he was hitchhiking in Asia (and Australia and the US) before we met and I somehow imagine that STIs are more widespread there than here (don't know if that's true), but I'm afraid they're just going to laugh at me if I want to get tested since I'm in a long-term relationship. Is that silly?

Posts: 66 | From: Scandinavia | Registered: Jan 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Generally, the way to go about STI testing is to find a sexual healthcare provider you like, then talk with them so they can help you determine what tests you most likely need. Part of their education as physicians or clinicians involves figuring out what tests a patient needs, whether we're talking about STIs or anything else.

They can also talk with you about, for instance, the need for a specific HPV test versus what a pap smear can suggest about your HPV status.

Testing inside a long-term relationship isn't silly. After all, it's not like people in them are somehow immune, especially since people being in them and not being monogamous in them is common. Even when that's not the deal, all infections don't have the same incubation period, and some don't show up on tests until years after they have been acquired.

I agree, sounds like your friend didn't have a very good provider. Do you have the ability to choose where you go or who you see? If so, then the goal is to choose one whose judgment you trust to help you figure out what tests you should do and on what schedule. [Smile]

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blueberry
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Hi Heather, and thanks for your reply!

I went to talk to a nurse at my student healthcare center (about other stuff, but I brought this up as well) and she said considering I've been in a monogamous relationship for more than two years and that I haven't had any symptoms there's no need for me to worry really, but I can still get tested for some if I want to so I'm going to do that next week. (She also said they don't usually do specific HPV tests unless you have symptoms, apart from the pap smear.)

I guess I just got worried after reading all these articles since I always thought I was "safe" somehow, and some of them do sound quite scary.

Well, I can't really go anywhere else right now other than a private clinic which is way too expensive for me, but I suppose I could find someone nice at the student healthcare center as well. The nurse I saw today was very helpful =) I feel a bit uncomfortable about going to the gynecologist again though because I felt so awful after last time and they only have a male one (I know, not a big deal for some people but it makes me more nervous).

[ 01-25-2013, 12:28 PM: Message edited by: blueberry ]

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Robin Lee
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I'm really glad to hear the nurse was so helpful and that you'll be able to get the healthcare that will help ease your mind on this.

It's absolutely okay for you to feel nervous about the gynecologist being male. A lot of people feel that way. I'm not sure what the laws are where you live, but in many places it's required that there be a nurse or other person present if the gynecologist is male, or if the patient requests that someone else be present. So, you could ask your health centre what their policy is on that, and if you'd at least be allowed to bring a friend.

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Robin

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blueberry
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Hmm, I've never heard about such a law, but of course I could always ask. It's not really that I'm afraid of being alone with him or something like that though, I just feel very awkward about it.

Actually my last exam was meant to be with him but I chickened out and rebooked it to a female physician (not a gynecologist) in the last minute instead. She wasn't very nice though, she insisted on speaking Finnish which I don't understand very well and the whole exam was very uncomfortable and even painful afterwards. I've only had it done once before but surely it's not meant to be painful...?

So I'm not really eager to do it again but I suppose I could always see this male gynecologist just to talk at first and see if he seems okay =)

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Robin Lee
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No, pelvic examinations are not supposed to be painful. They can often be uncomfortable (the discomfort should not last long), but should not cause pain, and certainly should not cause there to be feelings of pain afterwards.

You can absolutely book an appointment to talk to the gynecologist. No matter what kind of appointment it is, you get to say what you do or don't want to happen. So, say, if you were to get on the exam table, and the exam has started, you still get to ask for it to stop, either temporarily or permanently for that visit.

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Robin

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blueberry
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All right, I will keep that in mind for next time, and hopefully it will work out fine. Thanks very much for the advice! [Smile]
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Robin Lee
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You're most welcome. [Smile]

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Robin

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