When it comes to being sexually active, there are more than a few responsibilities that fall on your shoulders. For starters, you should always use protection to ensure you don’t contract an STD, and it’s smart to use birth control — oral contraceptive, condoms, etc. — if you don’t want to become pregnant. The only time that birth control or protection is not needed is when you know for a fact that your partner does not have an STD and you don’t want to get pregnant.
If you have found yourself in the unfortunate situation of wondering whether or not you have an STD, the most important thing you can do is go to a qualified physician as soon as possible and be tested. Most communities have community health clinics that will test you free of charge, which is of the utmost value if you don’t have health insurance. If you are over 14 years of age, you can rest assured that the results of your tests will be kept private. However, if you are under 14 and the results come back as positive for one or more STDs, the information will likely be shared with your parents, however, this depends on the state you live in.
Hopefully, you have someone close to you that you can take with you when you go to get tested. This will make the entire situation a bit more comfortable. During the actual testing process, there are several things to you should be aware of. First of all, you need to find out whether or not you need an appointment. Many clinics allow walk ins or same day appointments. Always call first thing in the morning and see when the best time for you to come in and get tested is. The actual testing itself usually takes less than one hour.
Before any actual tests are administered, you will be asked to fill out lots of paperwork as well as answer many questions asked of you by a medical professional — either a nurse, nursing assistant or physician. These questions will usually entail how many people you have slept with, the last time you were checked for STDs, whether or not you use protection each time when having sex, etc. It’s imperative that you be completely honest when answering these questions.
The medical professional will also ask you whether or not you are displaying any signs of STDs, such as rashes, itching, infection, raised bumps, etc. It is based on the answers that you give to these questions as to the specific STDs that you are tested for. Some of the more common STDs that people get tested for include:
- Bacterial vaginosis
Receiving the results for any STD testing tends to take seven to 10 days. If any of the results come back positive, your doctor will speak with you about the treatment options available. It is pertinent that you follow any treatment recommendations to ensure the STD does not worsen, and most importantly, always inform any current or future sex partners that you have tested positive.