Planned Parenthood for the Win

Mom: Hey baby. What are you up to today?
Me: Not much. Just left Planned Parenthood.
Mom: (audibly chokes) You just left where?!
Me: (with a devious smile) Planned Parenthood
Mom: Yes. I heard, but for what?
Me: I got tested. It was time.
Mom: Oh. Well. . .that’s. . .good.
I giggled back and forth with my Mother for a few minutes after starting this conversation with her this morning. You would think that after 29 years of her having me in her life she’d be used to me catching her off guard with my propensity for “shock and awe”, but no. I still get her from time to time (or all the time). Especially since I’ve chosen to make a business out of discussing the single most taboo topic in existence.
In this particular instance, I was giddy to tell her a bit about my experience.
I love sharing what I know and I love being curious with other people, even if they were never curious about whatever I’m babbling about in the first place.
I was excited all morning because the sex geek in me gets that way by putting my sex and sexual health in its proper position of priority. . .which is really freaking high!
My choice in Planned Parenthood for this adventure came purely from curiosity.
Typically when I hear the words “Planned Parenthood”, I immediately think – ABORTION. BAD. STAY AWAY. . .then my mind trails off in a series of “what the fucks?” And I remind myself that most of that comes from my brainwashing days of Catholicism.
Any other time this organization has been brought up, it was usually because it was being battled in the media.
So, naturally, I was curious about what the buzz was about and the rebel in me was itching to come out and play.
Funny thing is, it was so not bad AT ALL!
Planned Parenthood of New Orleans was one of the calmest, easiest, most relaxed, most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in a clinical environment in a very long time.
Which is wonderful to report!
Speaking of reporting, I’ll mention that when I originally when into the clinic, I asked for a “full panel” of tests. The lady behind the desk politely smiled and said, “what?”
I told her that I wanted to be tested for everything I could get tested for, to which she responded, “OK, but that is not what is most typical when people come into get tested.”
This conversation piqued my interest immediately.
I had to know what she meant, what people actually do get tested for and why not for other things.
Come to find out that people typically get tested for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV.
Because herpes was missing from the list I set out to have a conversation with each person I encountered about it (mainly to see if their stories matched up).
And they did. And it made sense, though I’d never heard it explained this way previously.
The general response was – they don’t see a need to test for HSV because the test is for exposure to the virus, which is a test that will come back positive for most individuals who undergo the test. When they do test, it’s after the presence of sores in and/or around the genital area. They swab and test the sore itself to confirm that it is in fact herpes. After which, the patient gains pertinent information to put together a plan of action in order to manage the symptoms.
Further in the conversation, I found out that they don’t test for herpes because the person getting tested may test positive and have never had a break out and may never have a break out but the sheer fact of a positive diagnosis and the stigma that accompanies can cause stress on the patient and sometimes cause them to basically think there way into a break out! How crazy and how powerful the mind body connection is. The clinic also believes that a person should not have to label themselves until it is actually necessary, which in this instance is after the first break out.
It took me most of the day and repeating this story several times for me to fully wrap my head around it and to say – OK, I get it. I agree.
It was also interesting to me that Hep C wasn’t tested for. Apparently only people who fall into the “baby boomer” age range and people who use IV drugs are instructed to go out of their way to get tested for this strand of Hepatitis.
HIV is a blood test that you can watch give you a result within 15 minutes. Even though there have been major strides in the management and treatment of HIV/Aids it is still the one that I feel people fear a positive diagnosis for the most. It used to be a potential death sentence a couple of decades ago, now, with PREP, it’s completely and totally manageable.
Last interesting note, which I already knew, but is always good to hear again, the two most commonly occurring STD/STIs are chlamydia and gonorrhea and both of them are most often treatable with a single dose of antibiotics. Which is great news since most of the states like mine, with abstinence only mandated sex education, have the highest reported diagnosis for both chlamydia and gonorrhea. I think to myself, well at least we can get rid of it pretty easily, right? The interesting thing to note there though is that roughly 50% of people with an STD/STI don’t know they have it.
With all of this information said and shared, I basically have one message of summation: GET TESTED- for yourself first and foremost! There is nothing sexier than telling your truth to those you love, whether that’s to a one night stand or to someone you will be with for the rest of your life.
Also, getting tested does not have to be scary should you chose for it not to be.
This most recent encounter was wonderful because I chose to go to a clinic I was curious about and because my partner made the lead in to the experience fun and playful.
And you might need to take note here that if it’s not fun and playful for your partner, then maybe you will need to be that for them.
As far as we’ve come as a people today, I really think it’s time we fix the broken thoughts we often have about our sexual health, don’t you?
Not only that. . .having peace of mind or an understanding of what is actually going on in your body is for sure going to lead to a more relaxed sexual experience. . .and guess what happens when you safe and comfortable? Better ORGASMS
And everyone could use next level orgasms in their lives!
With all my open and honest love,
Alexa