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Friday, May 24, 2024

Until ObamaCare officially kicks in, basic body maintenance can be expensive but also a major necessity. Specifically, I’m talking about birth control and getting tested.

Not necessarily the most fun. Even less so if you’re considering the economical route: the local health department.

But I’m here to tell you, it’s not as bad as it sounds.

Here are some tips:

1. Have at least three hours to burn. 

Speeding up government employees isn’t going to happen. 

2. Bring a photo ID and a pay stub or awards letter.

The latter is for determining your cost. You will often end up paying little or nothing, even for birth control pills and condoms.

3. Breathe.

This can be an easy thing to forget when getting your blood taken.

4. Ask questions.

These people have seen it all, and nothing you will say or ask is going to impress or shock them. Just get the information you need from a medical professional so you don’t have to wonder if something your roommate, friend or Flavor Flav said is accurate.

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5. Relax

Calm down, especially during the swab, but also remember to do this during the entire visit. Though easier said than done, realize that everyone in college and every adult, for that matter, deals with sexual health. You are not alone. It’s definitely not a sexy process but vital in ensuring sexy things continue to happen for you.

Also, things like abstinence, monogamy and safe sex will reduce the stress of these visits. Just saying. Multiple risky encounters are obviously going to give you more to think about in the waiting room.

6. Getting your results

You will get the HIV test results before you leave. Keep in mind that exposures within three months may not show up on the test.

It takes one to two weeks to get the lab results for the other tests, so keep phone number they give you.

For more information call the Alachua County Health Department at 352-334-7900 or visit

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