Changing the Conversation About Sexual Health*
By Mikkel Hyldebrandt
Georgia was recently identified as having some of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases, so the need to get tested regularly is more important now than ever before. Peach spoke to Laureli Litke, the official relationship expert, and pun-master of STDcheck.com, about stigmas around sexual health and the importance of getting tested regularly.
Tell us a little bit about the services provided by STDcheck.com?
STDcheck.com is all about destigmatizing and normalizing the conversation around sexual health. We are a direct-to-consumer lab testing company. Customers can easily pay for an STD test online, visit the lab closest to them, be tested, receive results within 1-2 business days, and
view their results in their online customer portal.
Can you give us a short update on the STD situation in Atlanta right now? What should our readers be extra cautious about?
A recent CDC study has identified Georgia as a state with some of the highest STD rates across the nation. The most common STDs in Atlanta are Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia. While our doctors recommended that everyone have a comprehensive STD checkup each year, these three most common STDs are the ones that you should definitely be testing for.
How do you think that getting tested for STDs will affect our conversation about sexual health?
Getting tested for STDs regularly normalizes it! It’s just like a dental check-up. Nobody judges you for having a cavity here and there, but you still need to have a dentist look at your teeth pretty regularly. When you test with us, it’s a very no-nonsense process. No one sits you down and asks you intrusive questions about your sexual activity. You simply provide a blood sample and a urine sample, and you are given results a few days later in an online portal. If you test positive, you are eligible for an over the phone consultation with one of our physicians, who will then be able to discuss treatment options with you. We keep the process pretty simple because that’s how simple STDs should be.
There are still many stigmas surrounding sexual health – which ones are typical (for the LGBTQ community)?
I think that there is a stigma around sexual health because some still assume that they don’t need to be tested if they are generally clean and well-groomed people. The truth is, STDs can happen to anyone, regardless of how clean they are. It’s not so much a matter of hygiene, but safe sex, open communication, and regular testing.
How do you specifically support the LGBTQ community through your work?
Quite a few of our blog posts over on our blog Exposed are geared towards the LGBTQ community and overall sexual positivity. We’ve additionally been taking steps to donate to resource centers for the LGBTQ community. If you are aware of an LGBTQ friendly resource center that is in need of donations, have them contact STDcheck.com
In many cases, you offer free STD testing right now – how does that work?
Through the funding of our non-profit division, we are able to offer free HIV testing to college students. We partner with colleges and universities to create individualized pages for schools in need of free HIV testing. These pages give the students information about testing centers located near their school, why they should be tested, and how to obtain free testing. If you are a college student that would like to submit your school for free HIV testing, visit stdcheck.com to learn more.
More info about STD testing, the lab closets to you, and free testing by visiting stdcheck.com.
*This advertorial was sponsored by STDcheck.com