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The Testing Diaries: Joey

Do you feel anxious about the idea of getting tested for sexually transmitted infections and diseases? Some of our readers certainly do.

Some never had adequate sex-education and did not realize that sexual activity with a partner -- and not just anal or vaginal intercourse -- can pose STI risks in the first place. Some are not sure where to go for testing or how to ask for it. Others feel uncomfortable discussing STIs with a partner or potential partner. We get it: this stuff can be hard, and it is usually not the kind of thing where someone just takes us by the hand and leads us through.

This is why we're starting this new series at Scarleteen's blog. In it, some of Scarleteen's volunteers will share their own stories of how they deal with different aspects of STI testing and reproductive healthcare.

I was tested for the first time seven years ago, shortly after I had my first sexual experiences. Things did not go according to plan: though I'd insisted on condom use, the person I

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Pregnant & Posting: 8 weeks

I'm pregnant.

It looks like such a small sentence, but in reality it is not small at all. Pregnancy is a big deal. It changes lives, both during a pregnancy and afterward. Bodies change, relationships change, lives change. It can be exciting and terrifying all at the same time. So I start this with a small statement with big implications.

At Scarleteen, we see many questions about pregnancy. Often they are about a specific pregnancy risk or whether someone is pregnant or not. Sometimes it is about the choices that accompany a pregnancy. Sometimes there are questions about the things that happen during pregnancy.

I'd like to share with you, in this blog, about my pregnancy. It is not my intention to suggest that this is what every pregnancy is like for every woman. I am not arguing that my choices are the "only" or "best" way. I want to talk about my experience and my perspective. I want to share the good parts and the bad parts.

To that end, I feel like it is important to tell you wh

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Is birth control safe? Are certain brands best?

Gwenaly asks:

I've been wondering if using birth control is safe? And is there a certain brand of birth control that I can use that will be the best to use?

I think I have a UTI: what should I do?

ab asks:

I am a teenager and think I may have UI and that could be from a UTI but what should I do to treat it/make it go away as it is affecting daily routine? I have not visited any doctor as I am embarrassed to tell my parents about this possible problem. Do I need to see a doctor, if so how should I tell about this condition to my parents as I can't go on my own? What is the typical process during a doctor's visit for UI or UTI? Will it include a full body exam, because I feel nervous and sensitive to that, especially with someone else in the room with me (e.g. parents). What should I do about this? Can this be cured without need of going to a doctor?

Kansas Abortion Provider Slain

Very sad news: A prominent abortion provider, George Tiller, was shot and killed this morning inside his church in Wichita, Kansas. He was one of the few remaining doctors in the US who perform therapeutic late-term abortions after 25 weeks (to 28 LMP). Unfortunately, Dr. Tiller was regularly targeted by radical anti-abortion groups; his clinic was bombed in 1986 and he was shot and wounded in 1993.

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How do I deal with the results of a medical trauma or abuse?

malia asks:

Hi, I'm sixteen and about four months ago I was treated at the hospital for severe anemia due to over excessive menstruation. While I was there, I had to have a pelvic exam done, and I'm already really shy, and I've never been touched like that or even have had a boyfriend. So the doctor (who was a man) was about to do it, but I was so scared he had to physically spread my legs apart. Then he put the speculum in and did whatever, but he had to push through the hymen, and it hurt pretty badly. It seemed like he didn't care at all how I was doing, or anything. Now I cringe when people mention sex or anything like it because it reminds me of him and the pain and embarrassment. How am I ever going to trust a man enough again to let him get close, and how can I block this event out of my head?

Question Authority! Get a Second Opinion (from a Doctor or Dentist)

This is about a recent scare of mine at the dentist or how a misdiagnosis almost cost me hundreds of dollars and unnecessary pain and surgery. However, before I talk about that specific experience, I'd like to share my back story.

How I love thee, dentists of the world!?! Let me count the ways.

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I want to avoid abuse triggers and flashbacks, but I really should go to see a GYN...

trying_to_deal asks:

I have a history of sexual abuse which I have just started working on in therapy--including repressed memories. I have never willingly engaged in sexual experiences and I am 25 years old. A few years ago, during an ER visit for extreme pain (kidney stones) I was given an internal exam which felt out of my control. In fact, seemed forced and I left feeling very violated. Now, I have never seen a gyn even though I am much overdue. I feel like I should for health reasons but I am terrified I will have flashbacks again if the doctor touches my vagina. How do I deal with this? It has impacted this and my ability to seek relationships because of fear of being touched vaginally.

Your vagina is NOT a crystal ball. OR: What your doctor really can't tell just by looking.

Anonymous asks:

MMkay, so I'm 21, being doing all the right things with yearly exams, getting the tests I need, etc. I just read an article about how the vagina does not substantially change after intercourse, but the first time I had a pelvic exam my doctor said "you're lucky you're getting this done here, a lot of college clinics don't have virgin equipment." What? If there's no substantial change (which I am FAR more inclined to believe) then this makes absolutely no sense. I would ask what she meant, but her practice has moved and I see a different doctor now.

UNRELATED question that I always wanted to ask her but was too afraid to- I was sexually abused when I was little, and raped when I was 16. That for me also confuses the whole issue of what she said- first of all, I wasn't a virgin, and secondly, (my real question) how was it possible she thought I was a virgin, as my guess would be there would also be some kind of signs of past trauma?

As a note, I'm in counseling and doing pretty well but I'm scared to ask because of the oh-man-if-my-doctor-was-right-then-maybe-I'm-overreacting/wrong problem... I'm usually pretty good at trusting myself on this issue, but this is one place I'm always afraid to go because it would be so concrete. (I also just moved for grad school and am seeing someone new and feel comfortable, but I will make a point to ask her too.)

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.