Gonorrhea is a Lot Easier to Test For Than it is to Spell

Std tests

Using the restroom at the public high school where I teach always involves lacking one or more of the basic necessities: toilet paper, soap, paper towels. On a good day one can find two of the three. But there is never a shortage of drama. If you take time to read the sharpie messages that are scrawled on the stalls, you can learn a lot about the state of mind of today’s teens and their utter lack of respect for each other. What I wasn’t expecting one May morning was to overhear a conversation about vaginal itching and discharge between two girls using the restroom to get ready for school, which is quite common. From the privacy of my stall, I had heard all I needed to and I casually said to the young lady when I was washing my hands at the sink that she should probably see her doctor about her symptoms. Now, it’s not really for me come right out and say that she needs to have an STD testing procedure done, but I hoped that I had at least guided her in the right direction.
Although our school has a human growth and development curriculum that covers STDs, this young lady was either absent or sleeping the day they discussed STD testing. Perhaps, though, what schools need to do more of is to not only explain the symptoms of STDs, but to also share where a young person might go to get an STD testing procedure. I realized that I had not provided that information to this young woman either. I assumed that she has a pediatrician or gynecologist and the truth is, she might not. She would be exactly the kind of patient who would likely need to know where the nearest STD testing clinic might be where she could get an STD testing procedure at a cost that is reasonable for a teen to pay.
Where Can I Find an Urgent Care?
There are approximately 6800 urgent care centers in the U.S. and most are in freestanding buildings that are easy to spot from the road and located on bus lines. The young woman from my school has probably been past them numerous times without giving them any thought. But on this occasion, when she really needed one, it might have been wise for me to give an address so she would know exactly where to go.
What Can I Expect an an Urgent Care?
Many patients at urgent care clinics can be seen quickly. In fact, in a survey conducted by The Urgent Care Association of America, nearly 60% of patients wait only 15 minutes or less to be seen and 80% of all visits are 60 minutes or less. So in the amount of time this student would have been in a single class of her school day, she could have been in and out of the urgent care. With a simple blood and/or urine test, this young lady would have learned whether her symptoms were due to an STD or some other urinary tract or yeast infection, all of which seeing a doctor for would be necessary for treatment.
Who Will Treat Me?
Urgent care facilities staff a mix of nurse practitioners, physician assistants and physicians. Nearly all have at least one physician on duty 100% of the time.
What are the Advantages of Urgent Care?
Of course there are many other services other than std testing procedures that urgent care facilities can provide, such as sports injury assessment, X-rays, and vaccinations for travel, and treatment for ailments such as the flu. And the cost of urgent care is much lower than emergency rooms, which is where a lot of patients go when they could have been easily treated for less. To compare, the cost of a typical emergency room visit is upwards of $1,500 while a similar visit to an urgent care might only cost $150.
Perhaps schools should do a better job of educating young people on the healthcare system and explaining how and where a person might go to seek treatment for common ailments. As a teacher, I’m certainly going to remember this encounter the next time I have an opportunity.

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