I don’t know of anyone who feels comfortable discussing Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STD’s), and especially the possibility of actually having one. Even though most STD’s are curable, getting tested has a way of making a person feel anxious, scared, and embarrassed. I know this because before I was married I tried to make it a point to get tested every few years or so. Eventually the concern for my health was enough for me to get tested every year. Now that I have a wife and a family, I am certainly glad that I did.

The reality is that safe sex is a good idea, but most people aren’t really practicing it. Being caught in the moment has a way of seriously diminishing a person’s common sense and therefore puts them at high risk for contracting any number of diseases. Some of which will never go away. Some that can kill you.

Here are some statistics: between January 1, 2011 – December 31, 2011 there were nearly 5,000 people living in Indiana with HIV without an AIDS diagnosis and nearly 6,000 people living with AIDS. There were almost 23,000 cases of Chlamydia, 7,000 cases of Gonorrhea, and 6,000 cases of Hepatitis C. These numbers should frighten you because they are just the diagnosed cases. A lot of people never get tested because it is not uncommon for a person to be infected with an STD without symptoms.

To get tested for STD’s you can contact your family doctor and make an appointment to get a test panel done. You also want to make sure your doctor knows that you want an HIV test as well. Some STD panels do not include testing for HIV. So be sure to clarify that with your physician.

If you do not have a family doctor or you would just prefer to have a test conducted “under the radar”, for about $350 you can order an 8-panel test online from www.stdtestexpress.com Using this method you order your test online, visit a local lab so they can take a sample collection (typically takes about 30 minutes), and then you get your results in about 3 days.

If money or lack of insurance is an issue there are a couple of options here in Evansville. The Vanderburgh County Health Department has a Specialty Clinic, which provides free and confidential testing for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis. The Specialty Clinic does not offer HIV testing. This service is for people without private health insurance or Medicaid. Appointments are made each morning for the following day and are taken until the schedule is full. The phone number is 812-435-5683.

Another option is Echo Community Health Care. They provide affordable, accessible, and appropriate healthcare to the uninsured, under insured, and the homeless. To make an appointment call 812-421-7489 or visit their website at http://www.echochc.org/