STI testing for men is incredibly important, and yet many sexually active men still aren’t getting tested. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), STIs are incredibly prevalent in the United States. In 2020, there were more than 1.5 million reported cases of chlamydia, nearly 700,00 cases of gonorrhea, and more than 40,000 new cases of primary and second syphilis. HIV is also a significant concern, with over 34,000 new cases of HIV reported in 2019.
While testing rates have improved in recent years, they remain relatively low. There is still a significant need to increase awareness and access to testing to protect men’s health and reduce the overall prevalence of STIs.
This article will address the most common barriers men face in testing for STIs and how to overcome those barriers.
Why Don’t Men Get Tested for STIs?
Lack of Knowledge
A 2020 study found that one of the most significant obstacles against testing for STIs was a lack of knowledge about STIs and the importance of testing. Many men don’t see themselves as candidates for STI testing.
Stigma and Embarrasment
Stigma and embarrassment are also significant barriers to STI testing among men. Men who perceive more stigma around STIs may be less likely to get tested, even if they had multiple sexual partners or engaged in risky behaviors. This embarrassment can also extend to talking to sexual partners about STI testing.
Lack of Access to Testing
Lack of access to testing and healthcare may also be a significant barrier to STI testing among men.
The rest of this article will address how to overcome these obstacles and take control of your sexual health.
The Importance of Regularly STI Testing for Men
STI testing is necessary for men for several reasons. First and foremost, STIs can have serious health consequences if left untreated. Many STIs, such as HIV and syphilis, can cause long-term health problems and even be fatal if not properly treated. Other STIs, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, can lead to infertility if left untreated. Through regular testing, men can catch these infections early and receive the necessary treatment to prevent serious health complications.
Another reason STI testing is important for men is that many STIs do not have symptoms. Thus, you could have an STI and not even know it, and you could be spreading it to your sexual partners without realizing it. Regular testing allows you to detect and treat any infections you may have, even if you don’t have any symptoms.
How to Overcome Embarrassment About STI Testing
It’s completely normal to feel some embarrassment or stigma about STI testing, particularly if you’re unsure what to expect or worried about the results. However, it’s important to remember that STIs are common and that testing is a crucial part of taking care of your health and the health of your sexual partners.
One way to overcome embarrassment or stigma is to educate yourself about STIs and the importance of testing. The more you know about STIs, the less mysterious and intimidating they may seem. You can also talk to a trusted healthcare provider, friend, or family member about your concerns. They can help you understand the importance of testing and provide guidance.
Another way to overcome embarrassment or stigma about STI testing is to take advantage of the convenience and accessibility of telemedicine. With telemedicine, you can get tested from your home without having to worry about being seen at a testing center or clinic.
Finally, it’s important to remember that STI testing is a routine and necessary part of healthcare, just like getting a physical or flu shot. Don’t let embarrassment or stigma hold you back from taking care of your health and the health of your sexual partners. Get tested and take control of your sexual health.
How to Talk to Your Partner About STI Testing
It’s essential to have open and honest communication with your sexual partners about STI testing. Here are a few tips for talking to your partner about STI testing:
1. Start the Conversation Early
It’s a good idea to discuss STI testing before you become sexually active with a new partner. This allows you to discuss your testing history and any concerns you may have before engaging in sexual activity.
2. Be Clear and Direct
It’s important to be clear and direct when talking to your partner about STI testing. Avoid beating around the bush or making assumptions about your partner’s testing history. Instead, be straightforward and open about your testing history and why you think STI testing is necessary.
3. Use “I” Statements
Instead of accusing your partner or making them feel defensive, try using “I” statements to express your feelings and concerns. For example, you could say, “I feel strongly about getting tested before we start having sex. It’s important to me to ensure we’re both healthy and safe.”
4. Offer to Get Tested Together
If you’re interested in STI testing, consider offering to go together. Testing together can reduce feelings of stigma or embarrassment and allow you to support each other through the testing process.
The key to talking to your partner about STI testing is to be open, honest, and respectful. By having open and honest communication, you can take steps to protect your health and the health of your sexual partners.
How to Get Tested for STIs
There are several ways that men can get tested for STIs. One option is to visit a healthcare provider or clinic. Many primary care providers offer STI testing as part of their routine care. There are also specialized clinics and centers that focus specifically on STI testing and treatment.
To get tested at a healthcare provider or clinic, you will typically need to make an appointment and visit the facility in person. During your appointment, you will discuss your medical history and any concerns about your sexual health with a healthcare provider. They will then recommend the appropriate tests based on your risk factors and other factors. You may need to provide a urine sample, blood sample, or genital swab.
Another option for getting tested is to use a telemedicine app. With telemedicine, you can get tested from home without visiting a healthcare facility in person. All you need is a smartphone or computer and an internet connection. Simply log in to the app, answer questions about your sexual health and medical history, and a healthcare provider can recommend the appropriate tests. They can even prescribe treatment or refer you to a specialist if necessary.
Finally, you can get tested at a testing center or community clinic. These facilities often offer STI testing on a walk-in basis, and some may offer free or low-cost testing. You can find a testing center or community clinic near you by searching online or contacting your local health department.
It’s important to remember that STI testing is a routine and necessary part of healthcare, just like getting a physical or a flu shot. Don’t let embarrassment or stigma hold you back from taking care of your health and the health of your sexual partners.
While Opt Health does not provide STI testing, we do help with many other men’s health issues, including ED, insulin resistance, hair loss, and TRT. Our physicians specialize in longevity medicine, which aims to expand the human lifespan and healthspan. We take a comprehensive approach to health, examining 50+ biomarkers and lifestyle factors to create a completely customized treatment protocol. Click here to get started, or call (855) 443-8678 for a free consultation.