Can't be bothered to go and get tested? Or have you convinced yourself that you don’t have an STI? Whatever the reason, take a look at six reasons why you should. It might just change your mind.
1. Anyone might have one – including you
- The most common STIs such as chlamydia often don’t have any symptoms. That means that you and your partner could have one and not know about it
- Anyone can get an STI, even if they’ve only had sex once
- You can’t tell if someone has an STI by how they look, or even if you know who they have had sex with
- Even if you use a condom, you could still get an STI. Some STIs (such as pubic lice) aren’t prevented by using condoms. It’s also easy to make mistakes when you’re using condoms without even realising it, which means that you could still have an STI.
- Even if you’re in a long-term relationship, you could still catch an STI. It’s good to get tested if you decide to stop using condoms with a new partner. You should also get tested once a year when you’re in a relationship, just to be safe.
2. If you do have an STI, it will probably be treated very quickly and easily
- Most STIs can be treated very easily with antibiotics
- It’s important to make sure STIs are treated, because of the long term effects
3. STIs can have very serious consequences
- Women: if STIs like chlamydia are not treated, they can cause pelvic inflammatory disease. This can make women infertile, meaning that they won’t be able to have children
- Men: untreated STIs can cause swollen or painful testicles, infertility (meaning that you can’t have children), and even meningitis
- The only way to find out if you have an STI, and to get it treated, is to go and get tested
4. Testing makes you a good person
- People respect you more if you’ve been tested for STIs. It’s better to have found out you have an STI and had it treated, than to carry on passing it on to other people
- People who look up to you (friends, younger brothers and sisters) will see you as a role model, so would you rather they looked up to someone who risked passing on STIs to people, or to someone who took responsibility for their own health?
- Testing makes you clean, not dirty and it means you have proof that you don’t have an STI
5. It’s really easy
- You can get tested for STIs at lots of places, including Brook clinics
- Clinic staff won’t judge you or your behaviour, they know that you’ve done the right thing by going to get tested
- You can read all about what happens when you visit a Brook clinic, here
6. You don’t have to do it alone
- Make a pact to go and get tested with a friend or a group of friends. It’s less scary than going on your own (and you’ll have someone to talk to while you wait!)
- If you’re in a new relationship, you could go and get tested together. Anyone who is having sex should get tested for STIs at least once a year, or before they have sex with a new partner
Still not convinced? Imagine you have an STI right now. If you don’t get tested, you will never know for sure, and you could end up with serious health issues. Don’t wait until you have symptoms before you get tested because those symptoms may never appear, even if you do have an STI. And if you have an STI, it’ll probably be easily treated, and you can go back to your normal life.