Despite how they’re portrayed in the media, sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) are nothing to be afraid of, embarrassed by, or quiet about. Often, we’re taught to be ashamed instead of educated about STIs, and that can keep us from learning how to have important conversations about sexual health with sexual partners.
This cultural norm is hard on a lot of us. The reality is, most people who are sexually active have either tested positive for an STI or had a sexual partner who has at some point tested positive for an STI. The CDC recently released a report that on any given day in 2018, approximately 1 in 5 people had an STI. Though STIs are very common and often treatable, we don’t have many open conversations about testing, treatment, and prevention.
The good news is that a different approach to understanding STIs is possible. Educators, patient advocates, and health care professionals across the country are helping create safer spaces to have conversations about sexual and reproductive health, including STI testing and treatment.
There’s already a lot of information available online to help individuals get up to speed about sexual health and STIs. Finding an unbiased, non-stigmatizing source with medically accurate information can be challenging and overwhelming, but there are some great places to start.
Roo, from Planned Parenthood. Are you just getting started on your journey of learning, or are you supporting a young person as they learn about sexual health? Roo, a private chat-based program from Planned Parenthood, is here to help. Roo can answer hundreds of questions with information straight from sexuality educators and sexual health experts.
The STI Project. Unlearning the stigma associated with STIs is hard and emotionally difficult, especially when experiencing a new diagnosis. The STI Project is tackling stigma head-on, and helping to create a positive place for people who have STIs to be in conversation with one another.
Pleasure & Protection Kits, from Planned Parenthood Great Plains. When people think about ‘safe sex,’ the first thing that comes to mind is often a square foil package with an external condom tucked inside. External condoms are a great form of barrier-method birth control and STI prevention, but there are a few other materials that can also make sex safer, healthier, and happier. Planned Parenthood Great Plains delivers those materials right to your door, and provides educational materials about finding the right methods for you on our website.
If you have questions that are specific to your own body and health, Planned Parenthood Great Plains is here for you. Make an appointment today and get tested!