Though it probably does us more harm than good, the first thing most of us probably do when we think we have a condition is to Google it. Hey, we can't help our curiosity (and in some cases, paranoia).
However, there's an added element to why we often Google sexually transmitted infections: stigma. Let's face it — the stigma surrounding STIs can often mean that we're more inclined to turn to the internet for answers than to go to a doctor right away. As it turns out, many of us are pretty worried about herpes, according to our search histories.
At-home STI testing startup, GetTested.com, has released some search history data that provides insight into the STIs we're most worried about. Perhaps unsurprisingly, "herpes" was the most common search in 47 out of 50 states, while "HIV" was the most common search term in the other states (Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and Oregon).
GetTested's data, compiled over a period of five years, compared search patterns in America on common STIs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, herpes, HPV, hepatitis C, trichomoniasis, ureaplasma and mycoplasma. The data also found that certain cities happened to be hotbeds for searches for some pretty particular STIs. For example, Detroit was the epicenter for searches pertaining to HPV.
"People feel like they can Google anything without shame. Unfortunately, due to stigma related to STDs many Americans choose to turn to the internet for information instead of seeking medical attention," Hannah Dela Cruz, spokesperson for GetTested, said in a statement shared with Refinery29.
The startup, however, hopes to encourage more of us to get ourselves tested for STIs in the comfort of our own homes through a variety of at-home screening kits. Whether you'd rather get tested with a doctor or via a kit delivered to your home, the important thing is that you get tested at all.