Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are more common than most would imagine. About half of all people in the United States will have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in their lifetime . Despite the prevalence of these infections, they remain highly stigmatized. Personal fears about negative societal attitudes surrounding STIs can keep people from being tested as the shame of testing positive for an infection can seem more difficult to manage than its treatment.
Providing people with a private and easy-to-use alternative to traditional on-site STI testing can encourage more people to seek timely testing and treatment to mitigate the STI epidemic. With LetsGetChecked’s at-home Sexual Health Tests, people can overcome STI-related stigma, making a typically uncomfortable testing experience more discreet and convenient.
Stigma can delay people from seeking STI testing and treatment
The stigma associated with STIs is a significant barrier to prevention and treatment, influencing people’s willingness to test and seek treatment. A positive STI diagnosis can cause people to feel judged or discriminated against, contributing to feelings of shame, guilt, and embarrassment. As a result, many people may delay seeking out STI testing and treatment even if they believe they may have contracted an infection, potentially decreasing overall physical health and increasing the likelihood of infecting others.
Seeking STI testing and treatment can be a sensitive and uncomfortable process to navigate for many. According to a recent study of young women who are currently sexually active, only about 56% percent have received STI testing. The report also revealed that 51% of young women reported that they do not want to bring up topics of STIs or sex with their doctors, and 27% of sexually active young women admitted to omitting the truth about their sexual history to their doctors . Although STIs are treatable and manageable with the right intervention, the associated stigma can prevent people from getting the testing and treatment they need, leading to serious complications and placing others' health at risk.
Providing a more private testing experience
If we want to break down every single barrier that prevents someone from getting STI testing, it is crucial to empower people with the ability to self-test. The quick and discreet nature of at-home testing can help address stigma-related barriers to STI testing. Compared to in-person testing, at-home testing services offer people more privacy, one of the primary concerns among teens and young adults. At-home tests can make STI testing easier and more private, reducing the stigma patients may experience when seeking care.
Rather than making an in-person trip to a clinic or hospital and waiting in long lines that reduce anonymity, home test kits meet people where they are and allow them to test at their convenience. The provision of at-home testing can give people more control over their health and save them the anxiety and discomfort that people may experience when testing at a public facility. This alternative to on-site testing can overcome the stigmatization of STI testing to increase the number of people who test and prevent transmissions.
How LetsGetChecked can help minimize stigma
LetsGetChecked’s discreet and easy-to-use Sexual Health Tests can help minimize the stigma around testing and reduce the burden of STIs in all populations. Our at-home tests and follow-up medications are delivered directly to people’s homes in a plain envelope for a private testing experience. In the case of a positive result, our clinical team will call to explain the results and arrange for the appropriate medication to be delivered, if suitable.
As confidentiality and security are of the utmost importance, we make sure to use the necessary technical and organizational measures to keep personal data safe. Confidential home testing can enhance prevention efforts and increase access to testing while reducing the stigma that accompanies testing at clinics or hospitals. LetsGetChecked can provide your population with a seamless and private testing experience that helps them feel comfortable and encourages participation in regular STI testing. Contact our team to learn more about our virtual healthcare solutions, or sign up for our monthly newsletter to get curated insights from our team of experts, event invitations, and industry news you can use.
- https://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/issue-brief/public-knowledge-and-attitudes-about-sexually-transmitted-infections/#:~:text=Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are,million new cases each year.