Sexually transmitted diseases are a very serious public health matter. In addition to the most serious illnesses which are not curable and result in death, there are several other diseases that can cause significant and permanent health problems for the individual. While this may be due to a variety of reasons, one of the number one causes of this phenomenon relates to the fact that the person may have the illness for quite some time without ever knowing it. However, this can easily be avoided by getting tested for STD’s.
Barriers to Testing
Many individuals do not get tested for sexually transmitted illnesses because they are concerned about embarrassment and their privacy. Contrary to popular belief, there are very strict privacy rules for STD’s. Health care providers are not allowed to share this information with the exception to state and national reporting laws for specific STD’s. Still, under these laws the person’s identity may not necessarily be revealed. This information should always be conveyed to the patient in an upfront and honest manner by personnel.
STD Testing Privacy
Health care facilities have some form of policy known as a need to know basis. This means that they cannot even share health information with other health care providers that do not need to know this information. Policies such as this help ensure that testing for sexually transmitted illnesses remains private and are mandated by both state and federal laws.
Adherence to Policy
Despite popular belief, adherence to STD testing privacy policies is actually quite high. Health care workers that do not abide by these policies are subject to heavy fines, civil litigation and even loss of licensure. Sexual health is just as important as other aspects, therefore it is the right of the patient to privacy and confidentiality when having testing for sexually transmitted diseases.