Everyone who is sexually active can spread things. From HPV to gonorrhoea and hepatitis and way more. Many STIs are mainly annoying to have, but some you’ll never get rid off, and others can kill you.

I try to take regular tests, once or twice per year, depending on how active I am.

Today was probing day again! Throat, front, back, and blood – all the main STIs. Yeah, didn’t need a paaaaaaandemic to get familiar with sticks in my throat. Been there, done that – many times.

I’m writing about this as there’s still such a stigma on STIs, both having them and testing for them. Testing doesn’t make you a slut (although there’s nothing wrong with sluts, let’s celebrate consensual promiscuity) or dirty in any way. It makes you a responsible adult.

Let’s destigmatize STIs and testing for them.

(Also: let’s make STI tests free for everyone).

P.s. before I get a lot of messages asking me where I get tested: check with your GP, doctor, or (Dutch) GGD and see where you can get tested. Tests tend to be free for men who have sex with men, sex workers, and those who got a warning from someone with an STI. Also, beware that the questionnaires that come with some testing strategies are very binary and heteronormative. The nurse and I had an amazing conversation about that today and put feedback in the system as we agreed it needs changing now.

Photo of me in the designated bathroom holding three sets of swabs and tubes for testing.