June 12-18 was National Men’s Health Week, and Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE) encourages men to take charge of their sexual health with regular checkups, screenings, and testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. Regular checkups can keep a person healthy and can find health problems before they become serious.

Getting tested for sexually transmitted infections is a basic part of staying healthy and taking control of one’s sex life. Getting tested is one of the most important steps a person can take to protect their health — and it’s easier than ever before. STI tests are generally quick and simple. For example, rapid HIV tests can provide results in as fast as 20 minutes, and testing for many other common STIs simply require a urine sample.

The public is encouraged to take advantage of free HIV testing days, next occurring at PPSNE health centers in Connecticut on Tuesday, June 27, and in Rhode Island on Wednesday, June 28.

All STIs, even HIV, are treatable and many are curable. Early treatment can help prevent serious, lifelong health problems that can result from untreated STIs.

Each year, nearly 8,500 men (12 percent of total patients) visit PPSNE health centers across Connecticut and Rhode Island. People in our communities rely on Planned Parenthood for men’s health services, including STI testing and treatment, cancer screenings, work and school physical exams, free or low-cost condoms, and sex education and information. PPSNE also prescribes the anti-HIV medication Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, more commonly called PrEP, at all of its health centers.

The fact remains that not enough men get the checkups and preventive care they need. It can be easy to take our health for granted, but preventive care is an important part of keeping yourself safe, healthy, and happy. PPSNE is proud to be a source of care for men in Connecticut and Rhode Island, and to answer any questions they may have about their sexual health. Everyone deserves a compassionate, nonjudgmental place to turn for expert information and health care. We encourage men to schedule a checkup today because their health is simply too important to put off.

Timothy Spurrell, MD, is Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.

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