4 Things About STIs and Testing That You, an Adult Man, Need to Know

The statistics are pretty scary.

Today we’ve been talking a lot about one particular sexually transmitted infection, and for obvious reason. Charlie Sheen made a very public admission to the world on The Today Show that he is HIV positive, and the backlash has ranged from supportive to thoughtful downright ignorant. 

Sexual health isn’t exactly dinner table conversation (unless you’re having dinner at my house), so it’s natural that it only gets the internet buzzing when a major celebrity drops a bomb. But we’re not here to talk about Charlie Sheen. We’re here to talk about you. More specifically, the health of you and your dick. It’s been awhile since 9th grade health class, after all.

1. Why do some people call it an STI while others say STD?

STI = Sexually Transmitted Infection. STD = Sexually Transmitted Disease. They’re very similar, sure, but according to Planned Parenthood, many people use STI because an infection presents itself with no symptoms (Chlamydia and Gonorrhea often present this way), and a disease has a diagnosable set of symptoms. If it’s treated with a course of antibiotics and is completely cured, infection is a much more accurate term than disease. Also, the former term carries less stigma, which is perhaps why it’s increasing in popularity. 

2. We’re still mostly  acting like morons about getting tested

In a recent study from Kindara that polled 1,000 men and women ages 18-65, an overwhelming 44% of men have never been tested. To make matters worse, an additional 17% have only been tested once. In their life. Women are a little bit better, with 30% admitting they’ve never been tested, but this is still abysmally bad. Since so many STIs present themselves without any symptoms at all, making a trip to the clinic should be a regular part of your health routine. Your dick deserves better, you guys.

3. Not all condoms are created equal

Birth control pills/patches/IUDs are great if your lady uses them, but they don’t prevent against STIs. For that, there’s no other way but a condom. Bree Olsen is making headlines right along her famous ex Charlie by expressing outrage over his alleged lack of disclosure, citing that they only used lambskin condoms. While lambskin condoms are a solid measure to prevent pregnancy if you have a latex allergy or a lamb fetish, they don’t protect against viral STIs like HIV. All important things to consider when you’re awkwardly staring at your options in the pharmacy, pretending to browse for magazines instead.

4. It’s easier to get tested than you think

Don’t know how to get started? Why, here’s this nifty website to help you find out which services you need and where to get them. For free. And they say the government never does anything for us.

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