Welcome to Let’s Talk About It, the column where we answer questions posed by our readers regarding sex, sexuality, gender, and related topics. Let's Talk About It is brought to you by the student-lead organization Sexual Empowerment and Awareness In Tennessee (SEAT).
This week’s question is: What are some resources for STI testing?
STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) and STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) are diseases that are transmitted from person to person through sexual contact. There are many kinds of STIs—many have symptoms, but some do not. STIs can become dangerous if left untreated, therefore it is important to get tested regularly in order to ensure you are STI-free.
One of the best ways to prevent STIs is to have a talk about your partner concerning testing.It is also good to know where to get condoms, and how to properly use condoms. There are other alternatives as well, such asinsertable condoms anddental dams.
You can get condoms from drugstores, convenience stores, supermarkets, Planned Parenthood, community health centers, doctors’ offices, or even at many events on campus that are aimed at sexual awareness and health.
The American Sexual Health Association addresses many of the myths surrounding STIs. For example, despite what it may seem,you cannot use oil-based lubricants (such as Vaseline or baby oil) safely with latex condoms, as they will break down and allow for STIs/STDs to pass through. The safest option for lubricant with latex condoms are water-soluble lubricants, such as Aqualube or Swiss Navy.
As stated by the CDC (Centers for Disease control and Prevention), if you are sexually active you should get tested for STIs every three to 12 months depending on your level of sexual activity. If you are not currently sexually active but have been in the past, it is a good idea to get tested since many viruses can take months to show up on certain tests.
Regular testing is always important in order to be aware and protected from STIs. There are quite a few places in Knoxville that provide STI/STD testing to the public.
Planned Parenthood in Knoxville provides many resources for STI testing, treatment, and vaccines. Appointments made should be by phone or online. Planned Parenthood is also a reliable source for sexual education.
Project ACT in Knoxville offers free HIV, Hepatitis C, and STI testing and you are able to contact them online as well as make an appointment over the phone. They also offer many resources on sexual and reproductive health.
The Knoxville Hope Resource Center also has STD and Pap testing, as well as offering many other resources for sexual and reproductive health.
For more resources and information on STIs, we advise you to check out theCDC website concerning their page on STIs and how to prevent them, as well as common dispelled myths and statistics.
Do you have a question about sex, sexuality, or relationships? You can ask us to find you accurate and reliable information from experts by tweeting @SexWeekUT or DM'ing @Sexweekut on Facebook.
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