We asked people when they last got checked for STIs

Because chlamydia is no fun

Sexual health is something we all should be looking after, but hardly any of us ever discuss it. From the pill to protecting your pecker it’s all kept pretty hush hush, even though it’s extremely important for us all. Last year in England there were approximately 440,000 diagnoses of STIs.

Sexual health is becoming less of a taboo subject, with events like last month’s National HIV Testing Week (#NHTW), World AIDs Day, and attention drawn by celebrities such as Charlie Sheen. So how many of us actually get tested, and is there any stigma left?

Maya, 20, English Lit

“I have never been tested, even though I should, I have not yet. I’ve been meaning to, especially this year, but I haven’t gotten around to it. I’m really shitty.”

Marica, 24, Comparative English Lit

“I’ve not gotten specifically tested for HIV but I donate blood every six months, so that kind of goes with the territory, so I cover that while doing the other thing.”

Azelia, 21, Philosophy

“I think I got tested, like, two years ago because I slept with a lot of people I didn’t know very well. I was inappropriate in Peru. Since then I have had a boyfriend.”

Oliver, 20, Law

“I haven’t gotten tested. No reason in particular, ‘cause I just practice safe sexual methods with safe people who have taken tests, so I have assumed they’re safe, as long as you wrap it before you tap it. I don’t think there is any stigma. Seems pretty normal these days, everyone does it and is expected of people to do it I think, hence why I’m going to get tested now.”

Cara, 19, Physics

“I got tested at the beginning of October because I had recently started a relationship with a new partner and, as I have an implant, we both got tested so that we could stop using condoms. I don’t think there’s stigma around sexual health in general because it’s part of a healthy lifestyle. I have never felt judged by anybody I have encountered while getting tested or talking about getting tested.”

Serafin, 19, Informatics

“Last time I got tested was almost a month ago. And, yes, there is a stigma. People feel bad for doing what should be the right thing basically. Just because you had that one crazy night or did something you felt like doing at that point – I’m talking about not using condoms – doesn’t mean you should be ashamed of going to a clinic and explaining your worries to a nurse who is willing to help. Plus you can get STDs from oral sex too, and I doubt barely anyone uses condoms or the square latex thingy for rim-jobs thing in terms of oral.”