By SASsy Guest Blogger Rebecca Griffin
Most people already know how important it is to practice safe sex and have themselves regularly tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) to ensure they stay healthy. Unfortunately, the ordeal of going to a clinic, waiting in an unfamiliar room, and being surrounded by strangers–all for what for many is a very personal matter–deters many people from getting the help they really require.
According to a report from the Huffington Post a new pilot program for at-home STD testing initiated earlier this summer by Planned Parenthood in California hopes to change that. “What we’ve found is with the app people are really looking for convenience,” Ana Sandoval, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, told the Sacramento Bee. “There’s still stigma attached with the idea that you could have possibly contracted an STD. We work hard to try to eliminate that stigma.”
The test works in conjunction with Planned Parenthood’s free mobile app and allows for users to screen themselves for both chlamydia and gonorrhea from the comfort of their own homes. The California program follows similar mobile testing services being rolled out in Minnesota and Washington state.
Regular STD testing is one of those things that everyone knows they need but very few people actually want. A survey by Adam & Eve of 1,000 men and women found that only 51 percent confirmed they’d ever been tested before and of those a quarter of them said they’d only been tested once. Whether it’s the availability or awkwardness that’s keeping you from getting tested it is important to remember that there is absolutely no shame in being safe and responsible. It’s the smart thing to do! Things can happen even to those who are particularly careful, but what’s really important is not to allow needless embarrassment to prevent you from getting the care you need.
“It’s so important for women, men and young people who need high-quality health care to be able to access it in a way that meets them where they are and allows them to get the services they need,” said Jill Balderson, vice president of health care innovation at Planned Parenthood.
By downloading the free Planned Parenthood smartphone app, users can order the test directly online and pay for the kit through the app using their credit or debit card. The home testing kits cost $149 although traditional free testing is still available at the physical locations. Upon receiving the kit, the user provides a urine sample in the included container and mails it back to the testing facility. Results are usually received within about a week.
I have my fingers crossed that the program is successful and will be expanded to more countries around the world as it could provide important options for those who live in areas without convenient access to health clinics. Hopefully, the advent of this exciting technology can offer a private and discreet way to reduce the unnecessary shame of practicing responsible sexual habits, and encourage more people to be proactive when it comes to maintaining their sexual health.
Rebecca Griffin is a freelance writer and blogger from San Diego, CA. She volunteers for organizations that support women’s rights in her free time.Share this Post[?]