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|Written by Miss O|
|Monday, 30 June 2008 19:00|
“Hey, uh, Dave*, so after the whole thing with Katie cheating on you with the skeezy older guy…did you ever get tested?”
“What? Like for AIDS and shit?”
“Well, STIs in general, yeah.”
“No, I mean it’s not like I have any symptoms or anything.”
“Well, that doesn’t always show up, the only real way to know is to get a test.”
It went on like this, and to make matters worse, the brat went and told MOM what I had said. My Mom (a little freaked out, like most parents would be, at the thought of her kids’ sex lives), despite the fact that she works in a medical laboratory, said she felt testing was unnecessary. And so Dave never got tested.
Now, I know that not everyone really wants to hear a speech about STIs from their big sister. It’s awkward, I know, but I just wasn’t sure that he was getting the message from anywhere else. As a girl, we read a lot more magazines that talk about the dangers of sex. Plus, a lot of us are on some form of birth control, and get annual Pap smears, which give our doctors a good chance to bring the subject up, if not actually get us tested.
But most of the guys I know read magazines about sports or cars, and they tend to only go to the doctor when they’re sick. Guys also generally talk about this kind of stuff less amongst themselves. Now, unless you’re Dave, I’m not your big sister, so there’s no reason to be awkward about this. Just listen to what I’m saying.
Everyone who is sexually active – male, female, straight, gay – should get tested, at least when they change partners. If you have multiple partners, you should be getting tested every 6 months – more often if you engage in risky behaviours. Although, of course, I’d recommend not engaging in risky behaviours in the first place.
You should also be talking about testing with every new partner you are with. Sure, it’s a little weird to have to ask when their last test was, but it’s way less awkward than having to call up everyone you’ve slept with in the last year to tell them all they have to go get tested for chlamydia.
Which brings me to my next point. It’s not just AIDS and herpes. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis, syphilis…you need to get tested for all of them. Symptoms sometimes don’t show up for years. Sometimes you cannot even realize you are infected until the damage is permanent. I don’t have enough space here to go through all the symptoms and risks, and how these diseases are transmitted, but, beyond getting tested, it’s your job to educate yourself on these diseases, so that you can take precautionary measures.
© 2008 Miss O, Illustrations by Adrian Steeves; licensee (Cult)ure Magazine.