Sexually Transmitted Stuff
Is it diseases or illnesses? Im not sure which one is the currently used acronym, STD or STI. So lets just say stuff for now. I guess I prefer 'illness' rather than 'disease' because disease sounds more dirty in my mind. The bad dirty, not the good dirty by the way!
If Im honest I have never really worried about STS (remember we are going with ST 'stuff'), I have dismissed it I'm my mind because I make excuses for it not being a problem. Like I believe they have not had sex with someone else before (as in they told me this and I believe them, not I just thought that, hahaha), so they must be clean. Or this person generally seems well put together, I doubt they would have a dirty disease.
Few problems here...you may have noticed them.
1. Even if someone is a virgin, they can still have STS
2. You can not tell if someone has, or is more likely to have STS based on their appearance
My sex concern has mainly been focused on not anyone pregnant because I don't want that, for me, for my fellow sex participant, or for my sperm babies. In fact this has even prevented me from climaxing in the past. Its all very well someone saying I'm on the pill, but I worry just one of my sperm will flirt or fluke his way into an egg.
I think this maybe linked into one of the topics that I recently spoke about in therapy. That is my lack of self compassion. I am fairly caring and considerate towards others, but often fail to have this for myself.
That kind of fits into why I am getting tested. Its not even really for me. Its to make sure Im not carrying anything. That depressive mindset of 'I don't matter' has led me to be more carless with my cock and put it places (that were very lovely, but) that it should not be without being covered (sorry couldn't think of a cool condom word/name). This year I have had penetrative sex with more than 1 woman without protection and most of these interactions were not during relationships, so I could not even pretend I knew (thought) they were disease free. It was a risk, it was an assumption.
So here we are, with me feeling like a bit of a hypocrite because I talk to young people about the importance of safe sex.
I am here because I want to protect any future fellow sex participant. Thus about a week ago I ordered a sexual health kit from letstalkaboutit.nhs.uk. I didn't want to go to a clinic because the only time I can go (the weekend) it would be really busy. I wasn't worried about being seen at a clinic, I've been in before with a previous partner, but I am aware that this could be an issue for some people. Thats why I think the online order is great. If you live with other people and you're worried about them seeing a noticeable parcel, it is very discreet. The grey Royal Mail packaging is very non special, its not noticeable (I haven't shown that as it has my address on). Then inside that there is a plain white box.
For me the test itself involved collecting two samples; urine and blood.
I decided to do the urine first as I really wasn't looking forward to the blood and was not sure if I would even want to pee after taking blood.
To collect the urine sample you are provided with a lovely box with lining inside it to collect your sample. This worked well as it was easy to collect and not get messy. Which I feel it would if you tried to go for the straight in method. Thats not just because of the accuracy, as you could hold the tube to your penis. Its because you could easily overflow the tube. But yer, us men are not always as accurate as we like to think.
Once you've got a good sample in the box it is very easy to tip that into the tube without spillage. Sample one complete. You place the lid back on the tube and back inside the small plastic holder (as shown in the image).
Collecting blood was something I was scared about, I don't like needles and I don't like pain. The way I chose to do this was to read the instructions twice and just do it. I didn't want to sit there and think about it, that wouldn't help.
So, first up I had to clean my hands and make sure they were then dry. The pack includes some wipes to do a final clean of your fingertips. Thats were you will be getting blood from, specifically your little finger. You are provided with 3 lancets, which look just like little stamps. So after taking a few quick breaths I lanceted / stamped my left little finger. As instructed I wiped away the first drops of blood to come out. I then allowed the blood to drop from my finger into the collection tube. I didn't have much coming out and had to try to massage my hand and finger to get more to flow. Unfortunately I didn't collect enough. So I also had to lancet / stamp my right little finger. Which is would seem is where all my blood is, hahaha.
Again once the collection was complete put the lid on and place that back inside a small plastic holder. I then placed the two tubes, along with the used lancets inside a clean bag (kind of like a giffy bag. Again provided), and put that inside the plain white box, and that inside the readdressed envelop, also provided.
Just like my academic tests, once I had done them I wasn't too worried. Theres nothing you can do then is there? So I posted them and assumed I would hear something in a week or so.
Around one week later I received a text message from Solent NHS that I had the all clear. YAY!
This is a great quick way to get replies out to people and I very much appreciated it. That was a good day. I am pretty sure that if you do test positive you are phoned rather than texted in this situation. That would not be a cool text to receive. As you can see from the message they do also provide you with contact details should you be worried about anything else.
This was a bit of a wake up call form me. I still think its more to protect other people rather than myself, but I will take anything that means I am in someway looking after myself.
Please don't be an idiot like me, do use protection. Cover that willy so it may be coveted in the future. You definitely do not want to be catching that sexually transmitted stuff.
Fortunately my results were clear, but it could easily have been a different story.
If you are worried about anything sexual health related please do check out the Lets Talk About It website.
If you are being affected by any of the mental health issues I have touched on please also check out the Mind website.
I would be interested to hear if anyone else has used the home testing kit, how did you find it? Is it better than going to a drop in service?