It’s STD Awareness Month: Get Yourself Tested!

STD awareness monthApril is National STD Awareness Month, which means it’s also the fifth annual GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign. 1 in 2 sexually active people will get an STD by the age of 25, and most won’t know it.

So getting tested is super important. And it’s something that you kinda have to take responsibility for yourself. I think most people don’t realize that you need to speak up and ask to be tested and for what–you can’t just assume that your doctor will test for everything as a matter of course. I was reminded of this just recently when I had a herpes scare (false alarm, PHEW!) I was also reminded that even though clinics like Planned Parenthood do offer relatively inexpensive testing for low-income and uninsured folks–go here to find a location near you– it usually still costs something. And that may be a real barrier–especially if you haven’t had any symptoms. As my partner observed, as we called around to different clinics to find the lowest price, “It seems like a clean bill of health is a privilege.”

So, we’re advocating for free blood testing ATM machines. But until that dream is realized, do your best to get yourself tested. And talk to your partners about it–it may seem kinda awkward at first, but you’ll feel better once you do.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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