Sometimes, our experience with the health care system is not as great as we want it to be. In the case of sexual health, and particularly for young people, stigma can impact our interactions with health care providers. This might mean that we aren’t taken seriously or in the case of STI testing, are even denied testing. This can be for various reasons, including assumptions about who is having sex, at what age we should start having sex, who you are having sex with and what this says about how frequently you should be tested.
It can be hard to ask your health care provider for STI testing and being denied a service or told that it doesn’t apply to you can feel extremely disempowering. That’s one of the reasons for Action Canada’s directory of youth-friendly, affirming and non-judgmental clinics. We’ve also compiled practical tips and tricks on how to assert yourself in a scenario where you do not feel seen or heard, and on how to take care of yourself if you experience discrimination, stigma and/or judgement when accessing STI testing or health care more generally.
You have a right to STI testing! You have a right to health and to information. We’ve got your back!