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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » It shouldn't be this hard to get an exam and STD test.

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Author Topic: It shouldn't be this hard to get an exam and STD test.
libertatissacra
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I first visited a gynocologist when I was 16 to get on the pill, and she didn't give me any kind of physical exam, even though I had been sexually active. She was also extremely reluctant to give me an STD test (which I specifically asked for) and I had to fight with her before she'd finally do the test.

Nearly three years later, I figured that since I've been very sexually active recently, I should get into better habits and start having yearly exams and STD tests. I call up my gyno., and she tells me once again that I "don't need it" because I'm young. So I figure, screw her, I'll go to the county clinic. They tell me more or less the same thing. Because I'm only 18, they won't give me an exam, and they'll only test me for three STDs, which they won't be able to do for two weeks. Okay, next option. Planned Parenthood. And yet again, I get fed more or less the same line. Because I'm young and haven't been sexually active for more than three years, they won't examine me. I did, however, make an appointment for an STD test after a little bit of talking.

I'm sorry, but wtf? I was under the impression that one should have an exam before they even become sexually active, and then every year after that, regardless of age. I thought I'd been neglecting my sexual health until now, and now that I want to fix that, I'm being told that I "don't need it." Shouldn't health care professionals be encouraging young people to look after their sexual health?

Is this typical, or is my town just weird? What can I do to better convince these people that I really would like an exam, whether or not they think I need it?

EDIT: I'm not longer living in San Francisco. I moved back to my home town. I was able to get an STD test in SF with no problem at all, but here, it's like I have to get down on my hands and knees and beg. It's very strange.

[ 07-02-2008, 08:23 PM: Message edited by: libertatissacra ]

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"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between."
-Oscar Wilde

Posts: 115 | From: San Francisco, CA | Registered: Nov 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
orca
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Ugh. I really hate crappy medical practices like that. Yes, you should be getting yearly exams and they are completely wrong. Some doctors say it isn't necessary to get pap smears every year if you are in a monogamous relationship and have had normal pap smears for at least three years, but otherwise you should have one every year. If they won't give you one, you have two options: get forceful about it (act obnoxious towards them if you have to), or keep searching until you find someone who will give you the exams.

I've found that I tend to have some difficulty voicing myself to doctors so bringing someone with me who can speak for me helps. Maybe you can bring someone with you, too? I'm very shocked that they have been treating you that way, and if I were you I'd consider filing a complaint (though I'm not exactly sure where to file a complaint about that).

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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libertatissacra
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It's so difficult to talk to medical professionals because...well, they're the ones that went to med school. I'm just some kid who almost failed biology in high school, so even when I know I'm right, it's really hard to assert that to someone more "qualified" in the field. And I don't often have a problem with getting a little forceful and nasty about things that I know I want, but part of the problem is that everyone has been so damn nice when they're turning down my requests, and I always feel guilty about getting mean with people who are nice to me, even when the nice people are wrong.

I have an appointment with Planned Parenthood on Monday for an STD screening and to discuss some different birth control methods (taking a pill at the same time every day just isn't working so well with me at this point). Perhaps they'll be more willing to give me an exam if they're also putting me on a new form of birth control, or maybe talking to an actual doctor rather than the person at the front desk will get me somewhere. If that fails, I think I'll go back to my usual clinic and see if they can't assign me to a different gynocologist who will be more receptive to my wishes.

It's just so weird (and unfortunate) that I've been turned down at three different places for something that I thought was common knowledge as something that women should do. If it only happened once, I could write it off as that person/organisation just having a crappy policy, but it almost seems to be a prevailing medical opinion in this town that people of my age just don't need general sexual health exams.

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"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between."
-Oscar Wilde

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orca
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I really know how you feel about that, too. I get incredibly intimidated by my doctors, and even by the nurses, and later I just end up furious with myself because I know that I'm right and they're wrong about it and I've wasted time and money. I research enough to know when something isn't as they claim, and you do, too. And really, doctors can be wrong about things plenty of times.

I sometimes have my mother go with me since she was a nurse for so long and isn't afraid to get a little verbal (not harrassing, just speaking her mind). It might help to bring someone with you, even just a friend, and ask beforehand that you want help speaking up with this. It also helps to write down what you want to say. It's easy to feel a little bullied by the doctors or nurses, and sure, they do have degrees, but you know your body better than they do. And you can still be nice when you are asking for the tests, you just also have to be very insistent.

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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It might also help to remember that in most situations where you -- even if you are insured -- are financially supporting your healthcare pros. In other words, you are the paying client, and doctors, nurses, staff are effectively supposed to be serving you.

They might have gone to med school but without you, those loans are never getting paid off. As well, medical ethics requires they do address your concerns and give you the reasonable services you are requesting. But of course, in certain areas, the attitudes about sexual healthcare are neither current nor unbiased, and while that's really unfortunate when it happens, it does happen. If it is something you keep seeing in your area, it might not be a bad idea to pen a letter to your local medical board or an op-ed letter to your local newspaper.

Can I ask where you're living right now?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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libertatissacra
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I'm living in Santa Barbara, California. About two hours north of LA.

And yeah, that's another thing that confused me. I'm insured, so at the county clinic and at Planned Parenthood, I'm not applying for any kind of free or reduced cost treatment because I don't need to, so it can't just be that they're being cheap.

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"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between."
-Oscar Wilde

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Well, it can be.

Clinic systems are...well, it's complex. Not as in, "above your head," but more as in "so seriously exhausting, I hardly want to get into it."

Santa Maria Women's Health Center
Monday & Thursday : 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

116 S. Palisade Drive, Suite 104
Santa Maria, CA 93454
Phone: 739-8710
Fax: 739-8711

That's part of a public health clinic system available to everyone. You may want to call them and ask about their services as well.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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