Getting past the uncomfortable

Published 6:30 pm Friday, July 29, 2016

Beaufort County Health Department is taking steps to combat the spread of STDs, and the department has now taken its services to the jail.

Thanks to grant money from Vidant, health employees can now perform urine-based tests for gonorrhea and chlamydia on male patients — a more comfortable option than the previous swabbing tests.

This means more patients are getting tested in more locations, and more of them are receiving the treatment they need.

It’s no secret that STDs are an uncomfortable topic to discuss. Whether talking about how they are transmitted or admitting to experiencing symptoms, this topic has been known to cause some blushing faces.

However, seeing the health department excited about the urine-based testing and expanded coverage to inmates is a way to combat this stigma. Health employees understand the importance of STD testing and treatment to a patient’s long-term health, as well as the overall population’s well being.

The more people are willing to talk about it, the more likely case numbers will begin to decline. Not only that, talking about it means a person will be more informed about a sexual partner and less likely to unknowingly contract and spread a disease.

Sure, it’s embarrassing and uncomfortable. But that’s not important. What’s important is that the problem is confronted and treated in a timely manner. That is the responsible approach.

Don’t be afraid to get tested. Whether one is experiencing symptoms, thinks infection is a possibility or just wants to be extra safe, it certainly will not hurt.

Get past the insecurity. Health employees are on the patient’s side. They are not there to judge, but rather to help people. Take the mature — and arguably courageous — step to take control of one’s health.