By Katie Stewart |

I’ve been recently hooked on the show “Black Mirror” with its not-so-far-off futuristic interpretations of society. But, as I think of how modern their interpretation of the future is, I can’t help but think of the old-school opinions and stigmas associated with STDs. Our society has quite a way to go when it comes to being comfortable when talking about STDs. Are they scary? Well, duh. Anyone on the verge of an STD diagnosis is probably freaking out.

But why freak out about getting tested for STDs? Why feel ashamed about being tested positive? What has contributed to the shame and guilt associated with STDs? Is it from our parents? I know that as a teenager my mother beat into my head the negative and horrible things she said about herpes and other STDs in general. How could anyone be loved or still seen as worthy if they had herpes or gonorrhea? Both men and women are reluctant to talk about it despite the Center for Disease Control and Prevention showing that 55% of Americans over the age of 25 have herpes. Somehow it remains hush-hush.

If we all became more comfortable with having an open and honest conversation with ourselves and our intimate partners, think of all the heartbreak that could be prevented.

Save yourself from the awkward, terrifying conversations before it’s too late. This video shows real people talking about how people are afraid to get tested because of bad news, or if they’re just starting to date it’s weird. Also in a Christian upbringing, “most” people wait to have sex so partners don’t ask about testing. Go get tested and do so proudly. You’re taking care of your body: self-care 101. Do not participate in the secret body-shaming. Some STDs can be treated if caught early enough. And if you’re diagnosed with something, you’re now able to address it and go forward in an educated way in your next relationships.

Here are five places in Waco you can go get tested:

  1. Planned Parenthood’s new location on Highway 6 has the ability to do a full range of STD testing. They accept insurance and Medicaid. If you’re uninsured, you may be eligible to receive financial assistance for your appointment. According to their website, they also have confidential counseling. You can book it online or call for questions at 254-759-5750.
  2. Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic is a part of the city of Waco that offers gonorrhea and chlamydia testing. They are closed on Friday and have different hours throughout the week. Check their website here for cost, hours and services.
  3. Central Texas Urgent Care of Lacy-Lakeview and Hewitt also offer STD testing. They accept a large range of insurance carriers and their website says that they also offer “medical discount programs for cash-pay patients.”
  4. Any Lab Test Now is a clinic in Waco that has the ability to test for eight different STDs. They offer Saturday appointments, and you can check-in online. Walk-ins are welcome, and you don’t have to have insurance either.
  5. CareNet has two locations in Waco and although their primary services involve pregnancy, they offer a “paid referral to a local vendor for [STD] testing and treatment.”

To learn more about STDs among youth, click here.