Although considerable advancements have been made in STD prevention, gay and bisexual men remain disproportionately affected by infections, especially HIV. As hooking up gets easier and treating infections get harder, curbing the spread of STDs is more important than ever.
There are 20 million new sexually transmitted infections in the U.S. every year. Yet less than half of adults aged 18-44 have been tested for an STD other than HIV. With millions infected every year, the need for an alternative that will make testing easier and more convenient for those at risk is critical.
That’s where GetTested comes in.
Catering to a new generation of consumers, GetTested, is a straight to consumer testing option that allows individuals to screen themselves on their own schedules and in the privacy of their own homes. No more inconvenient, uncomfortable trips to the health clinic.
A study released by the U.S. National Survey of Family Growth show incidence of STDs increased in gay men during a period when patterns of risky sexual behaviours were falling, underscoring the increased importance of testing.
Only 39 percent of gay and bisexual men received STD testing and just 41 percent received HIV testing. GetTested brings the solution straight-to-consumers, and makes the testing process simple, accessible and convenient.
Test kits are gender-specific and are delivered in discreet, unmarked packaging. Samples can easily be collected at home, and individuals can access results through a HIPAA compliant portal.
In the future, GetTested is looking to develop a secure portal for users who want to exchange results electronically with their sexual partners. The company’s overarching goal is to encourage individuals to take charge of their sexual health by demanding safe sex.
I recently had the chance to speak with brand spokesperson Hannah Dela Cruz. Check out our chat below:
Little Gay Blog – In many ways, we’ve become more open about sex and our sex lives. The rise of gay ‘hook up apps’, the sharing of selfies on social media and the texting of dic pics point to this. Why then do you think that a degree of shame and even secrecy exists about STD testing?
Hannah – Inherent conservative attitudes has a huge influence on our society and is largely to blame for the stigma towards STD testing. While sexualised images are quite easily accessible, as a society we’re not comfortable really having healthy discussions about sex. People may send a dick pic, but may be hesitant to even bring up testing with their partner.
Unfortunately, becoming infected is often associated with promiscuity and bad judgment. We tend to blame people for contracting an STD because becoming infected is looked at as a punishment for sleeping around. We don’t treat any other infections in this way, for example, we don’t blame someone for catching the flu.
Testing is often kept a secret because the mere necessity is associated with bad behaviour. In reality all sexually active adults are at risk and there are a multitude of ways to contract an infection, so STD testing is inherently a good decision and vital to safeguarding anyone’s health.
Those living with STDs are often ridiculed and are looked at as pariahs, because the fact that many infections are manageable, if not curable is often left out of the conversation. As a result, people tend to be afraid to be associated with an STD-positive status, causing them to keep testing a secret or forego testing altogether for fear of finding out.
How did the idea for Get Tested come about, and what’s the response been like so far?
GetTested was started by an entrepreneur and medical professionals who saw that there was room in the market for products that let consumers take charge of their health care. There has been a huge shift not only towards the desire for convenience but also the expectation of having easily accessible information, and this is the case not only medicine but within our lifestyles too.
The conventional approach to STD testing just does not fit our modern lifestyles. Most people don’t make time for a check-up. It can be hard for people to fit an hour appointment into their calendar.
In fact research by ZocDoc, found that 93 percent of millennials don’t schedule appointments with their doctor for preventative health visits. That’s an enormous population of sexually active people who are not getting tested for STDs, whether it’s because they are too busy or just don’t prioritise health care.
GetTested is an at-home STD test kit, that can be ordered online, completed privately in your own home and sent back to our lab for testing at your convenience. In addition to convenience and complete privacy, GetTested gives people the ability to be equipped with the same information that their doctors have and can be used as an alternative to results that they get at any lab testing facility.
While this is in no way an alternative to going to the doctor, it’s an option that people can fit into their lifestyles easily. Right now with how rates of STDs in our country have been, more options for testing are vital.
Can you explain this: “A study released by the U.S. National Survey of Family Growth show incidence of STDs increased in gay men during a period when patterns of risky sexual behaviours were falling.” That seems a bit confusing. How is it that STDs are increasing when risky behaviours are decreasing?
The study by the U.S. National Survey of Family Growth showed that HIV prevalence and the incidence of STIs increased in gay men during a period when numbers of partners and some other sexual risk behaviours were falling.
As you may know, STDs can be contracted in a multitude of ways and a person may become infected after only sleeping with one partner. The study also found that in 2010, only 39 percent of gay men received STI testing and only 41 percent received HIV testing.
What this study underscores is the necessity of STD testing because it is the only way to know for sure that you are free of infections and not passing the infection to others.
And lastly, what would you say to someone who’s on the fence in order to encourage them to take the plunge and get tested?
Testing is the best way to safeguard your sexual health. GetTested is a discreet, accessible and convenient option. Each kit can be ordered online, delivered in unmarked packaging and is available at a flat rate of $199. This means no surprise medical bills and insurance is not needed to acquire a kit.
STDs are either curable or manageable and the first step towards treatment is getting tested.
For more information, check out the Get Tested website.