Music, Balloons and STD Awareness
April is Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness Month. Friday, April 17 was STD Awareness Day in Hillsborough County.
To mark the occasion, the Hillsborough County Florida Department of Health's clinic had a free STD testing day.
The lobby was filled with music, balloons, conversation and health trivia games.
Chip Connell and Min Nemoy were waiting in the lobby together. They're friends with benefits--friends who occasionally engage in sex.
Connell said the event was a good way to encourage people to get tested.
"A lot of people are threatened by just the very imposing typical clinic setting," he said. "But here, I can chill out, listen to music, I can grab a snack. It definitely makes it a better environment to give people an incentive to get tested."
Nemoy was also pleased with the environment. She shared it on Facebook.
"My STD testing comes with snacks, balloons and a DJ," she wrote.
Nemoy feels that there shouldn't be a stigma associated with STD testing.
"You don't get a stigma if you eat sweets and get a cavity and have to get it filled," she said. "If you're an adult and having good sexual health and getting testing, there shouldn't be a stigma with it."
Nemoy, who gets tested every three to six months, said that honesty and responsibility are important components of any relationship - polyamorous or monogamous.
"You need to be informed about yourself before you go and do something with someone else," she said.
Carlos Mercado, the clinic's STD program manager, said that normally testing can cost up to $30. But, he said, they won't turn anyone away for an inability to pay.