Everyone’s testing routines look different, and there are a few things in particular that trans guys might want to think about when it comes to STI testing.
Some clinics that do STI testing try to be inclusive of trans and gender non-conforming people in their policies or even on their intake forms. But some doctors, nurses and staff will still say inappropriate things, misgender people, make assumptions about trans guys’ bodies or what kind of sex they are having, or don’t offer the testing that they might offer other men who have sex with men.
These experiences may turn you off the idea of getting tested. But testing and treating is just as important for your health, and for the health of the guys you’re hooking up with.
You have a right to the same sexual health services as other men, including an anal swab, urethral swab, or swab in your front hole. Even so, it can be difficult to access the tests you need and advocate for yourself. Being explicit about your needs sometimes works, and sometimes doesn’t. You might want to give yourself a pep talk, bring a friend with you to stay with you during the test, and let the doctors know if it’s your first time. Some trans guys also find it helpful to combine STI testing with bloodwork for hormone monitoring.
In summer of 2022, an illness called mpox (originally called monkeypox) started affecting gay men’s sexual networks worldwide. Queer trans guys may be part of those sexual networks. You don’t need to make mpox testing a part of your regular routine. You should only test for mpox if you have symptoms, but it is important to know the symptoms of mpox, and to get vaccinated for it. Learn more about mpox here.
If you’re a trans guy who has sex with guys, we’ve got lots of information in Primed, our guide for queer trans guys and the guys who like them. There’s a lot of helpful advice for trans guys at the Check it Out Guys Campaign, which talks about pap tests for trans guys.