I’m sitting in a sterile, uncomfortable room in my hospital gown waiting impatiently for the nurse to return. I wish I was anywhere else; I know that this exam is necessary but that’s not making me any more comfortable.

My name is Saba and I’d come in for my routine checkup about three weeks ago. I try and do this every time I have a new partner. We’d been dating a few months and I was in some serious honeymoon phase. The first few times we were really good about condoms and I’m on the pill too so I wasn’t worried. But the last time we got so caught up in the moment and he insisted he’d pull out. Yes, the withdrawal method of safe sex- HA! Not a method to be trusted.

During the routine check-up, I had a simple swipe test and I got my results that same day. I felt so angry and upset that I had an STI. I felt like it was stupid of me and I should have known better, but really I know that’s not the case. I started thinking about whether Imran knew all along and just didn’t tell me or whether he didn’t know at all.

I knew I had to tell him and that he should get tested too. I’d heard that sometimes you would feel a burning sensation when urinating but I hadn’t had any symptoms and I knew there was a real chance that he hadn’t had any either. Having an STI and not having any symptoms – what’s that about? How are we supposed to know to go to the clinic or get tested? I guess it’s just about knowing if you’re risk and having a little fun without a condom put me at risk.

They gave me a single dose of Azithromycin and I had to make sure I didn’t have sex for a week, so the antibiotic had a chance to clear the infection completely. I’m here today to make sure the medication worked and the Chlamydia has been completely cleared out of my system. I know that this course of treatment has been successful for many in the past so I’m hopeful that It’ll work.

Practising safer sex or always being careful is so much harder than it sounds. Imran and I aren’t even together anymore, he was not happy about my news. In fact, he insisted that I’d been with other guys and put him at risk, even called me names that I don’t want to even remember. Needless to say, I was not impressed.

Having Chlamydia sucks but at least it me realize that I don’t want to be with someone who can’t handle a mature conversation about sex. Or someone that has assumptions about woman that are stuck in the 50s. I have fun with sex and I’m safe. I’m not going to be ashamed to talk about testing, my relationships or what I want with a partner anymore.

So, go to your nearest clinic and get yourself checked out and regardless of the results, practice safer sex and get any new partner to have a test for all STIs. It just isn’t worth the potential risk to my health.