STI Testing in Vancouver- it should NOT be this difficult!
I recently decided it was time for me to get tested for an STD. I'm symptom free, but starting a new relationship, and while I try to be safe that is not always enough. I went online to find a clinic near either my home or work, and found several. The only problem? I'm a straight, white male, over the age of twenty. After calling several clinics to make an appointment, only to be refused because they are no longer taking new patients, or being told there is a six to ten week wait. Here I am, a young man, trying to do the right thing, and I am being stymied at every turn; I spent nearly two full weeks looking for a clinic that would accept me as a patient. Finally, I was able to find a clinic, well out of my way, that would see me, but they are open only one night a week, meaning that I need to wait up to two weeks to get my test results.
We are told, from the time we are teenagers, that “safe sex” is not fool-proof. We are told we should get checked out regularly, if we have had unprotected sex, sex with more than one partner in a given period, or are starting a new relationship. There are posters on buses, leaflets in doctors’ offices, and commercials on television, all saying to get checked out. So why should it take weeks to find a clinic that will actually do the testing? If it is such a concern, and I believe it is, things should not be made so difficult. I recently read an article, citing Vancouver as a hub for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea outbreaks, with rates rising sharply in recent years. Perhaps if these infections were caught sooner, by having discrete clinics more readily available to the “majority,” and everyone else, it would help stem this? Or perhaps common sense is simply not common enough for that concept to be understood by those calling the shots in Victoria. In this day and age, precautions need to be taken, and yes, individuals have a responsibility with regards to who they have sex with. But realistically, people are going to continue having sex. It has been going on in one form or another since the dawn of time. STI tests are a right, in this province, for everyone, no matter their age ethnicity, or sexual orientation; so where are the resources to allow those of us trying to "do the right thing" to actually do it?