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 their turn, as it's run on a first-come, first-served basis. This particular event was for rapid HIV testing, where HIV results are given within just 10-15 minutes.
I visit my gynecologist annually, but I've never gone specifically to get tested for STIs/HIV. I attended this event curious about what the entire process was like.
Heather: I have a question about STD testing, but it's together with a lot of other stuff, so I'm giving you some of the whole story. My long-term boyfriend just broke up with me, seemingly out of the blue. We were together for several of the most tumultuous years of our lives—we dealt with so much stuff, I can't even describe it....
We sometimes deal with a tough situation in direct service: a user comes in, and reports having contracted an STI; a user who also isn't a first-time user of our site or services, and who, in a previous conversation with us about pregnancy risks, blew off also talking about STIs and safer sex and turned down help we offered to them to reduce their STI risks, not just pregnancy risks.
This is one of those things where there's no joy or pride in being right: it stinks to be right about someone getting any kind of illness and being unhappy.
I was going to be taking my STI test with a friend today, with the idea we would both get tested and I could've written in the style of a comedy bromance movie like "Dude. Where's My Car?" except with less sexism and more conversations about male STI testing anxiety and our feelings.
Alas, he has made other arrangements and I'll be going solo to the testing clinic.
This clinic focuses on reducing HIV in the MSM (men who have sex with men) demographic, but is open to anyone, and so I'm here in the city centre where it is based. They test for HIV, chlamydia & gonorrhea and I've opted for all three.
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 was with at the time had not honored my request. I wound up on Scarleteen to ask about pregnancy risks, and was advised to test for STIs.