From one human to another, let’s be honest: nobody enjoys getting tested for STIs. For one, it’s stigmatized and can be embarrassing, and the whole process is daunting. It’s unrealistic to expect us college students to trek to the doctor every time we have a new sexual partner to get tested, only to wait in line and pay more than we’d like to — and don’t get me started on balancing doctors’ appointments with classes. For the majority of sexually active college students, it’s a more realistic and convenient choice to just close our eyes and turn our heads the other way.
I hate to say it, but this nonchalance is catching up with us. STIs are spreading like wildfire and increasing at alarming rates, especially for college students. And what’s worse, some people don’t even know they’ve contracted an STI and continue to spread it. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to blindly believe your hookup partner when they swear they’re clean, because they might not know they have one. Assuming you’re free of STIs is a thing of the past — or, at least, it should be.
If you’re feeling scared or called out, don’t worry — this Valentine’s Day and beyond, there’s a new solution to ease all your STI worries. Caraway, a digital healthcare platform for college women, is partnering with Ash Wellness to provide at-home STI test kits made specifically for Gen Z (because none of us have time for long, confusing instructions). And since it’s recommended to get an STI test at least once a year, what better time to take your annual test than after Valentine’s Day?
What comes in the Caraway X Ash Wellness testing kit?
Well, each one comes with test swabs to be used on oral, rectal, and vaginal areas. They also come with a urine and/or blood test. Then, these samples are then tested by Caraway’s experts for STIs and other various sexual health issues, like chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, hepatitis C, trichomoniasis, candidiasis, and bacterial vaginosis. And the whole testing process can be done from the comfort of your dorm room.
I know what you’re thinking: I gotta get my hands on one of these. The good news is, it’s easy and comes with *many* additional benefits. First, sign up for a Caraway membership. It’s currently $20 per month (or $180 per year), and includes a 30-day free trial. Caraway gives you 24/7 access to clinicians in physical, mental, and reproductive health, and also includes therapy, prescription refills, referrals for in-person care, educational wellness tools, informative health content, and more. And let’s not forget: After downloading the app and signing up for a membership, you’ve also got access to these complementary STI testing kits.
On the app, all you have to do is message the Caraway team to request a kit, and boom: It’ll be shipped directly to your dorm or residence within days. After collecting your samples, use the return label provided to mail the kit back, and Caraway experts will review your results and get in touch with you through the Caraway app. If you test positive for any STIs, you’ll then be able to discuss the next steps with the care team right on the app. I don’t know about you, but that definitely beats the awkwardness and annoyance of going to a clinic.
I know it can be scary, but STI testing is something we should all get around to at some point. Even if you’re sure you don’t have an STI, it doesn’t hurt to try, especially when the process is that easy. Suffice it to say, thanks to Caraway and Ash, you’ll be prepared to tackle any unwanted Valentine’s Day surprises this year.