STDCheck.Com 10 Panel STD Test – Sexual Health Review
Happy new year! Here we are, we’ve made it, welcome to 2019! That is going to take me forever to get used to writing… I still occasionally write 1993 on my checks (and yes… I still use checks, because apparently I’m an old person)… but whatever, time is irrelevant. Did you make any resolutions as the clock hit midnight? I kind of gave up on those long ago, they never worked and it stressed me out the moment I slipped up on whatever it was that I had resolved to do. So now, I just resolve to be a better person than I was last year and to be kinder to myself then I was the year before. So far, its working out pretty great.
This year, I decided it was time to hone in on some of the areas of my health that often get ignored, the fiddly little bits that you don’t think of until something is actually wrong. So for starters, I decided I needed to be kinder to my skin. My poor freckled face has had enough of the sun, its time to invest in a good sunscreen and to use it DAILY. Also, living in Minnesota, I am constantly dry, especially in the winter… so I also need a good facial cleanser that wont dry me out and a good moisturizer to follow. This led me down a rabbit whole of Korean beauty products and blogs and youtube videos and before I knew it… I ended up with $250 worth of products in my amazon cart when all I was after was a cleanser, a lotion and a nice sunscreen (on a side note, if anyone has a spare $250 I know someone who could use it…).
The next thing I decided I needed to do, which is just as important as skin care but probably even more over looked is to look after my sexual health and wellbeing. For this, I started by pulling out all the most often used sex toys from under my bed and from my bedside table and gave everyone a really thorough and proper washing. I’m not talking a fast rinse after a quickie afternoon orgasm, I’m talking about boiling… a 10% bleach solution… a toothbrush… the whole nine yards. My dildos were so clean I could practically see myself in them. I even cleaned the container I keep them in… so… yeah, I cleaned the crap outta my stuff.
The next step in my path to sexual wellbeing makeover to throw away old pairs of underpants. Okay… don’t laugh at me… but for real, I had panties that I owned in high school still stuffed in the back of my drawer… it was time to say goodbye. I had many pairs of panties that had so many holes in them… it was getting really generous to even still refer to them as panties…. they were really just waistbands with some bits of string hanging off them. I also got rid of a lot of my underpants made from synthetic materials… except for a few special occasion sexy underwear… so now I am down to my quality cotton pieces that are not as old as my high school diploma. So hooray for making my vulva comfy and happy!
Finally, I booked a 10 test STD panel with STDCheck.com. And I can hear you saying “An STD test?! Why are you sick?!” Nope (at least I was reasonably sure I was currently uninfected with anything), but I go to the dentist every 6 months, even when there is nothing wrong with my teeth and I visit my eye doctor once a year to check out my eyes and make sure things are still healthy and adjusting prescriptions as needed… so getting an STD check is really no different (but way to overlooked) and just another way to keep tabs on whats going on with my body.
Also, while waiting for my appointment day to roll around (you can actually just show up to the lab any time during business hours, no appointment needed… but I set a specific day for myself) I did a little reading on STD vs STI, because I feel like I see those terms used very interchangeably, but I was pretty sure they were two different things. So, what I found out from my utilizing my degree in Google-ology is that STD stands for Sexually Transmitted Disease (ok, I didn’t really need Google to tell me that… I knew that from health class) and that STI is a Sexually Transmitted Infection. An infection and a disease are two different things… for example if I were to have chlamydia I would have an STI, but if my chlamydia turned into a pelvic inflammatory disease you would then say I had an STD. So you could say that an STI is often the first step to an STD and that medically speaking, that all STDs start out as STIs but not all STIs turn into STDs. Yeah… its confusing, but go ahead and read that through once more, you’ll get it. So I feel like the term STI is probably more appropriate for this review and I feel like the term STI has a far less aggressive stigma attached to it than STD does…. and infection doesn’t sound all that bad, it sounds treatable, it doesn’t sound as negative as disease does.
So registering for the test panel with STDCheck.com was suuuuuper easy. First thing I did was register with the website, providing my name, date of birth, phone number, email, and address. I then selected which lab I wanted to use from a list of participating labs nearest to me. My nearest lab was three hours away though, which wasn’t the most convenient thing… but I’m sure if you live in bigger cities, this is less of an issue. It does make it tougher for those living in more rural areas to access though, unless they are willing to travel. Once I had my lab picked out it was time to pick out what test I wanted to do, there are several options to choose from. I opted for the 10 panel test, which is kind of the buffet of STI testing… you get it all. It was also possible to do a 10 panel test plus an HIV RNA early detection test, but my local Planned Parenthood had just recently did an HIV test for me during a special event, so that didn’t seem necessary. If you are just after one specific test, say a partner you had sex with found out they had Gonorrhea, you can register for just that specific test and save money by not purchasing any you are not concerned about while still being able to address your concern.
If confidentiality is a concern for you, there is the option to select “do not contact” that will insure no phone calls or mail is sent to you. Also, if you are worried someone might see you going to the lab and wonder what you are up to, you could also select a lab in an area further away from where you live. You could select a lab two states over if you really wanted… but that might turn into a bit of a drive. Another great thing about registering through STDCheck.com is they really do seem to work hard to keep all of your info private, they follow all HIPPA guidelines, they don’t accept insurance (that way nothing gets placed on your medical record, reported back to your insurance… or back to your parents… I remember using my insurance the first time I visited a Planned Parenthood and my insurance sent a letter to my dad with my pregnancy test results… not a conversation I enjoyed having), results are kept confidential and are only accessible by you through your account, and you are assigned a unique identification code that allows you to visit the lab without having to present your ID or fill out any paperwork (although I’m going to address this last bit in a minute).
Once registered I received a confirmation message with testing instructions as well as the requisition for that I needed to present to the lab. You will either need access to a printer or a fax machine for this, as you will need to get that requisition form to the lab you are using. The instructions were pretty clear and straightforward… with the instructions basically being “print this form” then “show up at lab” then “do the thing” and finally “get the results.” Don’t stress about it, it’s easy.
Arriving to the lab I had chosen ended up being a bit confusing as there wasn’t a human present to ask any questions too. There was just an touchscreen at one end of the room and a whole lot of chairs full of people. I stood there looking dopey for at least 5 minutes… until finally a human appeared at a window on the other end of the room. So I quickly flagged them down and showed them my paperwork. Now, supposedly I wasn’t supposed to have to show an ID or give them any of my details… but this human worker waved me over to the touchscreen to sign in (literally just waved me to it… no words) so I could be put into the queue… so I pointed out to her that I had a test from STDCheck.com and that I shouldn’t have to do that… but she just waved me to the screen again without even looking at my papers (or speaking… she could have also been a robot)… I probably should have been more insistent with her, but I also wasn’t too personally concerned with my privacy, because honestly, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with getting tested for anything from Herpes to Thyroid problems…but if I was, this would have been really upsetting to me. I talked with STDCheck.com about this and they confirmed that I shouldn’t have had to show my ID, but also mentioned that because the lab is not owned by their company, they can’t train them on their procedures, but that they do do (hehe dodo) mystery shopping to ensure service quality. So, this may not be an issue you run into and if you do, just be very clear with the lab person and show them on the paperwork you printed where it says an ID is not necessary.
So, I got myself checked in, giving a lot more personal data to the touchscreen machine than I believed I was required to. The machine gave me no other way to check in, it either required me to scan my license or to manually type in all my data. There really didn’t seem to be any other way to check in, as I am pretty sure all the human employees were being held hostage behind the ominous “NO ENTRY” door. After check in, I sat down in on a very uncomfortable bench and read an outdated copy of Field and Stream magazine and tried not eavesdrop on peoples conversations. I really hate waiting rooms. I especially hate waiting rooms that are nothing more than a small box being guarded by a machine that possessed all my personal data… it feels like nothing good can come of it… but I read a lot of dystopian fiction… so I have a healthy skepticism of robots. After awhile a group of collage age looking boys spilled into the room shortly after me who were also trying to check in and one of them (loudly) proclaimed he wasn’t supposed to use his ID and started waving around his paperwork… turns out he had also purchased a test from STDCheck.com… I felt like we were kindred spirits… we formed a club (not really… I avoided eye contact at all costs and hid behind an article on fly fishing). But I thought it was cool that someone else was here doing the same thing, like it was no big deal (because it literally is no big deal).
Once I was selected by my new robot master as the next human sacrifice, I was ushered into the no entry door… so I guess its really more of a “sometimes entry” door. It was here that I met my first human being and she was super nice and made me feel really good about being there. The first thing she asked me to do was to pee in a cup and directed me to the bathroom. The bathroom was crazy ya’ll… because they also do drug screenings at this lab all of the water was shut off and everything was sealed with tape that would show if anything had been tampered with… it was kind of wild… and I was unable to wash my hands that I peed all over (okay, I was actually able to wash them once I got into the blood draw room). I really hate pee tests… because like… how much pee is too much pee? Do they want me to fill the whole glass or should I be more demure about my pee volume and just give a coquettish half a cup. Like I always worry there is an acceptable level of pee and then there is a point where all the lab techs behind the little peep sample metal door look at your cup and just laugh at you… (I may just suffer from anxiety). So I pulled out my phone and nearly searched “how much pee per specimen cup” but then I realized I had been sitting in the bathroom for what began to feel like an unacceptably long amount of time and I began to worry that the nice lab lady was going to think I was pooping now too.
Pee test done it was into the little room to sit in a fancy oversized adult high chair for the blood draw. Blood draws are really no big deal to me at this point, I have veins that are practically giant targets with flashing neon signs that say “STAB HERE”… it is practically impossible for anyone to miss (I also bruise really easy, so stabbing me leads to a gross purple blob). Like apparently my veins are so visible that I had one lab tech ask if he could bring an intern in to do the draw, because it looked so easy. It was very quick and very painless, this lab person really knew what they were doing. She quickly pulled three vials of blood (the stabbing with a needle was fine, but looking at blood I don’t much care for… bleh) and that was it. For some reason I felt compelled to tell her why I was there and she thought it was really cool and wished more people felt comfortable just walking in for their STI tests. So here is hoping I can make getting STI tests cool… because you know… I’m so cool… a veritable trendsetter…
That was it, I left the lab before the robot overlords could stop me and I was on my way home to wait for my results.
Results showed up super quick, I think it was only like two or three days before I saw my results (and who knows… they may have shown up quicker, but thats when I noticed the email). The email had me log into the account I had made at STDCheck.com and I was able to click a link and see my results! The results themselves are kind of hard to read, I grew up in with a Doctor for a father and have spent a lot of time working in a clinic setting, so I knew what I was looking at… but for someone with no idea what they are looking at, it can be an overwhelming sheet of paper to take in. Basically, if it says negative or non-reactive next to a test, everything looks healthy. Everything turned out negative on my end, but had anything been positive, they offer a phone consultation with a doctor who can explain the test results and any next steps and at their discretion prescribe medications. It really is kind of a one-stop shop for STI help. I never had to have an awkward conversation with a doctor about why I thought I needed an STI test, I didn’t get any shamey speech from anyone about my sex habits (I once had a male gyno tell me to engage in abstinence instead of birth control), no one made me feel bad for wanting to take care of myself and that is really awesome and it should really be like that everywhere.
The price is really the only drawback I see to the whole experience. It is expensive, the 10 panel test (which is what I did) currently costs $198.00, which is lot of money. But if you don’t have insurance or are concerned with your privacy, this is a really great option to have available and I am really happy with my whole experience… well… except maybe the bit about almost being made a slave to a new race of touchscreen robots… and am very happy I did it. Just like going to the dentist, the eye doctor, or getting a physical… getting an STI check made me feel like I was taking good care of myself and doing something nice for me. So, if your New Year’s resolution is to be kinder to yourself (and it really should be) and you would like to look after your own sexual health and wellbeing or if you have any STI concerns and want to be tested but are worried about privacy, I can highly recommend booking your test through STDCheck.com!
The STDCheck.com 10 Panel STD Test was provided to me by STDCheck.com in exchange for my honest review and a $200 compensation.