02 April 2013
My name is Justice, and I am currently a senior attending the Meridian Medical Arts Charter High School. I began interning at the Central District Health Department in late January and have had a great experience working in reproductive health. The staff members in the reproductive health department are all welcoming and hard working. Getting yourself tested is scary, especially for teens. However, at the Central District Health Department there is little to be afraid of. The moment someone walks through the door they are welcomed in with a smile. From there, all the staff a person will encounter are quiet about what someone is coming in for, helpful with just about any situation, and above all the staff is comforting. Staff understands the uncomfortable feeling that goes with getting yourself tested, and is more than willing to help ease the nerves.
In school people talk about it all the time. People are always talking about who is having sex with who. Truth of the matter is, not as many people are having sex as one may think. But none the less many teens begin to become sexually active through their school years. One thing teens have to understand about being sexually active is that now they have to be responsible for their body. Teens need to get tested. However, from experience I know that many teens in school are terrified of going to a clinic to get tested for sexually transmitted infections. Teens are scared for a variety of reasons. There is a feeling of being ashamed to get tested, of being judged, and a feeling that they may actually have a STI. Many people, not just teens, have the mentality that if one does not acknowledge something it will go away. This is untrue in many of the cases that it is used in, especially with STI’s. Teens need to know that getting tested is important. It is an act of pride, not shame, because they are taking the responsibility of their actions. Getting yourself tested means being mature about sex and the consequences it may have.
I am a teenager and I have had the experience of getting tested. I have also been there for others who have been tested. Walking into a clinic is terrifying, even if you know that what you are doing is a good thing. Many teens I know have walked in trying to hold back tears because of the nerves that are firing at what it seems to be a million times per second. However, once you are in the clinic and have begun talking to staff they become a helpful resource. My advice would also be to bring a close friend along. Having a familiar face around, that is someone trustworthy, helps to lighten the nerves. Even if someone does not have a close friend available at the time, the staff will reassure that person that they are doing the right thing. A person will find zero judgment when coming to get tested. Instead a person getting tested will see that staff appreciates them for being mature and getting tested. Once someone has gone through all the routine tests and walk out of the clinic, it is a great experience to understand that they stepped up to accept responsibility for their actions.
Being sexually active is normal. However, it is quite the experience to get tested as a teenager. It is nerve racking, but something that should be done. It is also something teens should take pride in because they took the responsibility upon themselves to get tested. I am a teenager and I have had the experience for myself. I am proud to have gotten myself tested and I hope that teens across the nation will take pride and get themselves tested.