A national shortage of STD testing materials has caused the Vermont Department of Health to prioritize testing based on CDC guidelines.
While the health department says there is no need for fear, they do say there are ways to help aid them in the shortage of STD testing supplies.
The typical avenues that people may go to get tested for HIV or an STD might not be an option.
Centers like the Pride Center Vermont recommend sexually active people get screened for STDs every three to six months. But they can’t currently administer HIV testing themselves. They say even as a sex-positive organization, it’s better to be safe, so testing is not needed.
“In the middle of a pandemic, the safest thing to do is to have one or no partners,” said Reggie Condra, a health and wellness coordinator with the Vermont Pride Center.
Condra says they have been encouraging people to seek testing at places like Planned Parenthood or through your health care provider.
But with a shortage of testing materials and COVID cases on the rise, he recommends finding safer ways to minimize risk.
“Cases are spiking all over the country so be creative,” said Condra.
Limiting yourself to one or no partners during the pandemic doesn’t mean you can’t express yourself sexually.
“There are different ways of sexual expression. Masturbation, virtual sex… really easy free ways to do these things,” said Condra.
The idea is to cut down on contact with other people not only to stop the spread of STDs when there is a shortage of tests but also to eliminate the threat of COVID-19, as well.