Today’s post for The ValleyScott Blog was written by Miss Heather Rioux, our first Guest Contributor! In addition to being a well regarded provider, Miss Heather is also a Health Care Professional with several years of experience. She brings a wealth of knowledge related to health issues that can impact the Consensual Transactional Sex community.
STI testing. UGH!
Nevertheless, in the world of responsible CTS, it’s an obvious necessity.
For me, I think the only thing worse than waiting for the actual results, is walking into the doctor’s to ask for the testing itself. It’s my third visit this year, and it’s not even July. The receptionist, who now knows me on a first name basis, beams. In a small office with paper thin walls—crammed full with my neighbors, no doubt—she squeals. “Hey, Miss Rioux! Here for another full STI panel?”
Thanks, Betty. That’s not a HIPAA violation at all! I’m not mad at her though; she wants to make me feel welcome under weird circumstances.
If you’re a client, it’s probably even more awkward. I can imagine the doctor asking, “Mr. Jones, I have to wonder… Why do you keep getting tested so often? Haven’t you been married for twenty seven years?”
Yikes. Who wants to answer that truthfully—especially when sex work is still so condemned? Still, it’s a good idea to see a doctor on the regular, and establish a relationship. That way, when things go wrong, they know you intimately, and can treat you in the best way possible.
Testing, though, doesn’t need to be so intimate and invasive. There are ways you can test yourself discreetly—at home or even in your office! Yes, ladies and gents, there are now in home STI testing kits, with step by step instructions. Best of all? You don’t need to give copious amounts of blood to your friendly neighborhood vampire (technically known as the phlebotomist). Just a few swabs, a few dabs of blood, and you’re good to go! BE SURE TO SEND YOUR TEST OUT WITHIN 48 HOURS OF PROVIDING SAMPLES—RESULTS ARE TIME SENSITIVE!
I’ve done my research on various different companies, and my favorite is Everly Well. Their tests are designed specifically for male and female organs, and are the most cost effective for the more serious infections you should be getting tested for, including: HIV I&II, Herpes II, Hepatitis C, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis, and Trichomoniasis. Also, they automatically send you the shipping supplies you’ll need to send your samples back, and all you have to do is put it in your local USPS dropbox. Log in to your account online, et voilà! Results. Plus, the company is veteran owned! (Americans love that kind of stuff.)
Yes, the test costs $200—if you’re buying only one. What I like the most about Everly Well is that you can subscribe and save—and quite a bit! Besides, if you’re participating in CTS, it is advisable that you get tested more than once per year.
If you don’t like Everly Well, there are many more options. Even CVS offers Oraquick HIV swabs for around $40, and you get your results in 30 minutes. Use your Google powers (in an incognito tab, of course,) and search for “at home STI testing.” Let me know if you find a better deal!
As always, happy hunting, and be safe!
Heather (your local sex work friendly healthcare professional)
For more information on Every Well test, go to their website: Everlywell.com
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