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Denver, CO: FREE IUD’s at Denver Public Health!

July 2, 2009

Okay, so I’m totally stoked.

Yesterday I went down to the free STD clinic at Denver Health (not only do they provide free STD testing to the community, but also free or cheap pap’s, pelvic exams, and family planning consultations if you meet certain criteria) for a check up and a consult for birth control. I’ve been wanting to switch up my methods and try the hormone based ones again. I had bad experiences with them back in LA. The pill not only killed my pms but also all my emotions in general, I lost my libido and experienced drastic vaginal dryness compared to what I’m usually like (prior to being on the pill I have never needed lube.. it was actually an insult the first time my partner at the time suggested we break it out one night). My doctor told me it’s a rare reaction that some women have to the hormones.. tried SEVERAL different combos and mixes.. nothing worked so I went off the pill.

When I was last into the Clinic for my semi-annual STD screenings the nurse had mentioned that they’ve got a few with different hormones and delivery systems that might work for me, most notably the ring. She said that since the ring administers the hormones locally, there is less that gets processed by my body so the side effects might be more minimal than I had experienced prior. Figured I’d give it a shot, at least make an appointment to go in and talk to someone about things and my situation.

I love going down to the STD clinic. Since it’s free, they ask ya all sorts of probing questions regarding your sexual history and activity to garner statistics. I swear, they never seem to expect to hear the things that come out of my mouth.

Nurse: “have you ever tried cocaine?”
Me: “I’ve been told I have…”
Nurse: “um.. now how does that work??”

Nurse: “Now this is a sample of the size of the NuvaRing it flexes enough to fit comfortably inside…”
Me: “Wow, interesting. Because it’s bigger than even some of the cock rings I’ve seen”
Nurse: ~look of shock~

But ya, I ended up being the one surprised when we started talking about IUDs. Last visit, they told me around December to come back for more info on LOW COST IUDs. So it was definitely a shock when she asked me if I was interested in being screened for eligibility and when I told her I wasn’t sure I had the $50 on me was when she informed me that they had ultimately made the decision to provide them FREE of charge as long as people qualified.

Essentially, I love the way they are running their program and am extremely impressed. Not only is it FREE, but also their regulations on who is eligible are flexible. It didn’t matter that I’m a 22 year old who had never had a child and openly admits to having multiple partners as well as a few other things (trying to respect the privacy of my partners). Usually, the fact that I’m so young and have never had a child would make most general practitioners think twice before sticking an IUD in me. Let alone the multiple partners thing. IUDs have strings attached to them that hang down from your uterus into your vaginal canal. They’re handy for checking monthly that the thing is still there. What this means though, any STI that you might contract travels quickly to your uterus. There is an increased risk for PID and other serious issues with the IUD. This means, if you have multiple partners (as I do) you need to be on the game in regards to open communication about testing and their sexual practices with their partners. My primary sexual partner and I are so open that I don’t worry, I know everyone he is with, what they do, how often they do it and vice a verse. It enables me to securely say, we do our best to inhibit the contraction of an STI into the relationship. Because of this fact, which the nurse talked with me on extensively yesterday, she said she had no worries that I’d be on my game in this regard. Again- AWESOME. I think it’s great that they can put the burden on the patient because ultimately, if I am responsible enough to maintain healthy relations with multiple partners, why should I be considered ineligible.

Anywho, for those interested, definitely go take advantage! Don’t know how long they’ll keep it free.. they’re definitely not advertising it.

Oh! And if you didn’t know already the Denver Public Health’s Free STD Clinic also offers 3 months of birth control of your choice (the ring, pills, the patch, etc) with a referral for more after 3 months. All medication for STI’s (they’ll even do a screening for UTIs!!) are free as well. TONS of resources there, free condoms (yay for the fishbowl on the counter!) and the entire staff is GREAT! If you go in I recommend getting an appointment with Lynn or Erica (they’re my favorites) and say, “HI!” to the drug and alcohol counselor for me! She’s a riot.

Just don’t be like me and offer yourself up for another HIV test when you just had one 3 months prior and haven’t been exposed just because you want to be poked with a needle. They look at you funny.

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