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 Post subject: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:53 am 
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This has come up a couple of times in a couple of other threads since my current dude (from NL, currently living in DK) is having such issues getting any kind of STI test done. Other people have chimed in going: Well, that's weird! In X-place, it would be totally different!

I am incredibly curious about that difference.
So, let's do a PPK-survey!

Tell us where you're from or where you live, what the sex ed is like, and how easy (or not) access to STI testing is.

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Last edited by lutin on Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:54 am 
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My experience: I am from the US, currently living in NL. I asked my GP for an STI panel, and she didn't even blink. I got the test done on the spot and the results by phone two days later.

My dude is from NL and currently living in a tiny village in DK. He has been trying (and failing) to get an STI test for the past month. His GP in DK thinks it's "not necessary" because he is at such low risk. The sex health clinics in my part of NL are not interested in him because he's "not at risk enough", and tomorrow he has an appt. with a sex health clinic in a larger town in DK (where I worry they will tell him the same thing).

In the meantime, the lack of easy access to STI testing has caused unnecessary stress and etc., etc. I don't understand why it's so difficult to do such an easy test for something which clearly affects multiple people! /rant.

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 5:33 am 
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In the UK: totally routine. I went into Bath to get it done as there's a dedicated walk-in clinic there, but my ex did it at the GP here. Medication was free, whereas prescriptions normally have a nominal fee attached. I'm going again tomorrow for a follow-up appointment because the antibiotics for my "easily treatable" chlamydia clearly haven't worked. Maybe that's why they were free hah.

They do STD testing for students at the college where I work, and I've seen (free) chlamydia screening kits at the supermarket in the pharmacy section.

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:26 am 
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Speaking of things people think is weird, since I first started getting my period and having pap smears, I've been going to an OB/GYN or gynecologist. It is rare for a gynecologist in the US to not be an obstetrician as well in the US but you'll find them. Anyway, when I mentioned this to another woman fairly recently, she had said she had never been to a gynecologist and that gynecologists are for when you have 'problems'. I don't know why, I guess because my mom always went to an OB/gyn, she would sign me up for appointments as well at one and that is how I started. I never thought it was odd.

So during my yearly exam at the gynecologist, they do a fairly routine panel of STDs. I don't believe HIV is one of them though. I think HIV exams are fairly easy to get in the US but you do have to ask. And obviously the US has the 'insurance' issue, but there are also places like planned parenthood so without insurance, people do have to look around to see their options.

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:36 am 
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My last primary care facility did pelvic exams, pap smears and STI tests on request. I'm in NYC and there is a city run test center for STIs that is free, more than one I believe. They also provide free treatment. There are also a lot of places for HIV testing that are free and anonymous. There are even mobile vans that travel to low income neighborhoods and do testing.

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:48 am 
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. (somehow posted a quote of myself unintentionally)


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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:04 am 
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STI's are checked by my OB/Gyn every time I visit, and for the HIV I just went to the regular doctor and got the results a week or so later, no problem whatsoever.
My male friends had no problems either in getting tested, they just asked for it at the regular doctor.

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:44 am 
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I'm in Canada. GPs will do it, walk-ins will do it, and there are dedicated sexual health clinics. Sex ed is pretty good here--it's evidence-based and if it talks about abstinence it would be as an option not THE option (honestly, I skipped the grade in high school where they do sex ed so I don't know specifics).

Edited to say: the general messaging re: sexual health here is that you get tested with every new partner and after any risky business. Also. you can get emergency contraceptive from walk=ins or drug stores.

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:57 am 
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Oh I forgot the sex-ed part of it... The official sex ed offered in school when I was young is different than the sex ed now. HIV/AIDS was fairly new and it wasn't covered in our text books although within a few years of taking a sexual ed/health course in high school, I had 2 relatives die of AIDS. A lot of it talked about various forms of birth control and various diseases and end results, lots of boring stuff really and 'getting tested' wasn't really one of the strong messages. We probably had a condom demo.

A lot of the unofficial stuff that came since (20 years now) was wear condoms and get tested. I don't consume a lot of external media these days but a lot of the things I've heard on the radio is about taking control of your sexual health, getting tested, using protection, etc. Most of those messages though seem to come from charity/non-government organizations.

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:00 am 
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About the sex-ed, I went to school in Italy and we had no sex ed at all. Zero. It just was never a topic, as far as I know it wasn't even in discussion whether to do it or not. This was 15 years ago though, they might have updated the curriculum by now (I mean, we had "computer classes" where we learned visual basic and pascal on ancient computers, once or twice a trimester, so the high school curriculum wasn't the most up-to-date...)

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:25 am 
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in Brazil, (depending GREATLY on where you live, as different states spend differently), as a woman you can go into your neighborhood public health clinic and request a panel. Like anything with the public health system it may take a bit, but they are pretty good about women's care (since so many women are on the pill). Not sure what exactly is on the STI panel, but I do know that anyone can request HIV testing at any time (and HIV regimen, like cancer treatment, is ONLY available through the public system to avoid issues of inequality in medication availability, so they're pretty invested in getting tests out there). For men, I am not sure, it's not commonly requested and I suspect that even HIV testing for men is something of a rarity.
A lot depends on city and what kind of risk there is.

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:48 am 
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Here in the UK they even do postal "pee in a pot" type STI tests. When I kept getting UTIs a few years back my mum got me a kit to test with (which I was pissed off about because at the time I had never even held hands with a guy let alone do anything more) but yeah it's pretty easy. Evey doctors surgery has "sexual health clinic" notice boards in them with details of who to contact, though they are obviously designed to be aimed at younger people.

As for sex ed, mine was purely about the physical facts. Woman and man have sex, here is a diagram of male reproductive system, here is one of female, this is how a baby is made, wear a condom, it goes on a banana like this. And watching videos of screaming mothers in childbirth presumably to put us off.

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:13 am 
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Oh yeah, Sex Ed. We had two rounds in grade school in 5th a day 8th grade both pretty straight forward facts. It was preHIV. so the focus was on preventing pregnancy in the 8th grade class. Then I had it again in high school. I grew up in NYC so it's pretty liberal but sex ed varies so much state to state and depending if you attend private or public school.

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:26 am 
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Our sex ed classes were pretty basic too, as far as I can remember. I remember the one in 5th grade being all about getting our periods, the one in 8th being about asking questions about sex (I only remember this because the most fascinating question was whether or not you could get pregnant from a blow job, which I didn't even know what that was at the time), and then the one in high school...they separated our health class by gender for a week and they talked a lot about checking yourself for breast cancer. I don't remember anything about pregnancy or disease/infection prevention, but I may have blocked it out, out of embarrassment. (I was one of those kids that died if an adult was talking about sex/bodies.)

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:32 am 
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I had pretty decent sex ed in high school (in Oregon, US) but then transferred to a school with an abstinence-only curriculum in Idaho and it was terrifying what the kid didn't know.

But I request an STI test whenever I feel like I need one from my primary care physician and she has never blinked an eye.

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:42 am 
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linanil wrote:
Speaking of things people think is weird, since I first started getting my period and having pap smears, I've been going to an OB/GYN or gynecologist. It is rare for a gynecologist in the US to not be an obstetrician as well in the US but you'll find them. Anyway, when I mentioned this to another woman fairly recently, she had said she had never been to a gynecologist and that gynecologists are for when you have 'problems'. I don't know why, I guess because my mom always went to an OB/gyn, she would sign me up for appointments as well at one and that is how I started. I never thought it was odd.


I've never been to an OB/GYN. My family "doctor" is a nurse practitioner with a women's health certificate.


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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:36 am 
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Yeah like many others, I can request testing for anything/everything at the drop of a hat via my primary care physician. Actually she usually asks me if I want HIV screening again even if I don't bring it up at all (but she knows I may or may not have had difficulties in the past of consistently using protection). I went just recently for my routine check up that's required so I can have my T, and I wasn't thinking about STI's at all and she brought it up and then I remembered I did mess up once since I've last been tested. So another test's on it's way right now! Good doctor!

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:38 am 
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Awesome dr., mars!

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:43 pm 
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ah, and i wanted to add- sex ed in Brazil (private school, not public, if it makes a difference) was pretty detailed, realistic, not scaremongering as it was for me in a (private) US high school (got nothing in the public high school). condoms, STIs, allowed for the existence of other types of intercourse besides PIV, etc.
the kid's sex ed in the US, from what i can see from the syllabus, looks like 1 single session about "private issues" (class divided by sex) and the rest of the semester is things like "budgeting, child care [carry around an egg for a week], and home economics." Almost makes me nostalgic for my own sex ed class in HS where we had to write a long, indepth report about some scary STI, with at least 5 graphic images, and then we had a school-wide slideshow with the images. for real.

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:05 pm 
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Oh yeah, and as far as sex-ed in Vancouver, Canada; in grade 7 (still elementary school there) it was pretty good as far as I can remember. They made us do take-home projects on it with full poster-board style presentations on our assigned topics. Some people got topics as silly as B.O., others got various STI's and pregnancy. And though I do remember brief times where they divided the class by sex for more private question-answer stuff, I remember in that presentation one, even menstration was a topic and it was definitely whole-class. I wish I remembered what my topic was! No idea. In high school there was no class or teacher-time for it, but one day they had a very liberal non-profit come in and do some talks about safe-sex, and STI testing. There was definitely a banana.

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:22 pm 
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I graduated high school back in the early 80s in Atlanta GA, US. Even though we lived in the bible belt we still had sex ed covering birth control and std. My kids recently graduated high school in a nearby area in the suburbs of Atlanta and things have changed. Abstinence-only curriculum and scare tactics. Even going a far as telling kids that having sex before marriage leads to depression. It is very upsetting that we are going backwards at a time when sex education is needed more then ever.


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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:29 pm 
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For sex ed, I went to a catholic school in southern louisiana - in 7th grade we had about a 2 hour long talk from some man in our gym and our entire highschool where we were told horrors about abortion, that rape doesn't lead to pregnancy because - as you all know - women's bodies block it, and then that stroganoff is pretty wrong, but normal. Every year we had a refresher play about abortion and how it ruins lives, just in case it escaped you in seventh grade.


And they gave us a little baggie with a tampon and deodorant. No explanation.

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:49 pm 
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Fee wrote:
For sex ed, I went to a catholic school in southern louisiana - in 7th grade we had about a 2 hour long talk from some man in our gym and our entire highschool where we were told horrors about abortion, that rape doesn't lead to pregnancy because - as you all know - women's bodies block it, and then that stroganoff is pretty wrong, but normal. Every year we had a refresher play about abortion and how it ruins lives, just in case it escaped you in seventh grade.


And they gave us a little baggie with a tampon and deodorant. No explanation.


Ha, whoa.

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But if one were to tickle Pluto, I suspect that it might very quietly laugh. - pandacookie

55k usd is like 4 cad or whatever equivalent in beavers you use on the island - joshua


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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:06 pm 
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Fee wrote:
For sex ed, I went to a catholic school in southern louisiana - in 7th grade we had about a 2 hour long talk from some man in our gym and our entire highschool where we were told horrors about abortion, that rape doesn't lead to pregnancy because - as you all know - women's bodies block it, and then that stroganoff is pretty wrong, but normal. Every year we had a refresher play about abortion and how it ruins lives, just in case it escaped you in seventh grade.
What, like... what? Like... what? Legally? This is insane.

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 Post subject: Re: STI's: cross-cultural edition.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:56 pm 
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My experience is that it's super easy to get STI testing done for women in the US, but I've had two male partners actually turned away from clinics when they went to get STI testing (gonorrhea and chlamydia, in particular), apparently because it was somehow too complicated/invasive to test them(?).

STI testing has NOT been a routine part of any gyn care I've received, except at Planned Parenthood (with my consent and with pre-counseling) and during pregnancy (and then it was without my knowledge, so not okay). I think it should be routinely offered, but not "routine" in the sense of you're gonna get it whether you know or not. I don't think testing should happen without pre-counseling.

On the sex ed front, all the moms on my local moms' facebook group were up in arms last week because apparently it is now part of the state curriculum to teach first graders the names of their reproductive organs. I commented in a fairly snarky way about how my 2-year-old knows the names of her own and her parents' external genitalia and that if you haven't taught your kids this by the time they get to school, you are the reason this is part of the curriculum.


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