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The Testing Diaries: Allie

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 doing this series at Scarleteen. In it, some of our volunteers share their own stories of how they deal with different aspects of STI testing and reproductive healthcare.

The health center at my university is pretty awesome.

It provides free STI testing days throughout the year. Instead of making an appointment, students and non-students alike can just walk in, check in, and wait

Read more...

I need to better understand how condoms can protect me from STIs.

fox asks:

I'm unclear on how condoms are supposed to be effective in preventing female-to-male contamination during "plain" sex, I mean insertion of the penis into the vagina. Let me explain.

Latex is an effective barrier to virii and germs. I get that. As far as protecting the woman is concerned, I've no trouble believing it works. The STD virii or germs are present in the semen and/or pre-cum; these are "emprisoned" by the condom, don't get out, and don't get into contact with any part of the anatomy of the woman. She's protected. The sweat of the man does not contain these virii or germs and thus no risk with the rest of the skin-to-skin contact. But in the other direction, I don't quite get it.

What Safer Sex Isn't

Maybe you know what safer sex is. But do you also know what it isn't? Take a minute and fact-check your ideas about what can protect you from STIs and what cannot.

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.