I Think I Have an STD. What Can I Do?
This is a list of
questions you may have about STDs. The questions are about how it feels
to have an STD, how you can get and give an STD, where to get tested,
and what it will be like to see the doctor. Each question has an answer
that can help you decide the best way to take care of your health. You
can read each question in order, or skip around if you see a question
that is important to you.
Remember, if you want to talk to someone, you can always call
AIDS Action Committee HIV/STD hotline (800-235-2331) or
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s STD information
Know If I Have an STD?
How Do I Find a
Should I Expect When I see My Doctor?
Happens After I’ve Been Tested?
Will I Pay For My STD Care?
How Do I
Know If I Have an STD?
I had sex with someone
who has a
sexually transmitted disease (STD), but I feel fine. Do I still need to
go to the doctor?
Some STDs don’t have symptoms that you can see or feel, but can
be serious.. Your health care provider can run some easy tests to see
if you have an STD.
I had symptoms that might
have been an
STD, but they went away. Should I still see a doctor?
Yes. Most STDs don’t go
their own, even if the symptoms disappear. You need to see a health
care provider, get tested, and get
What happens if I have an
STD and I
don't see my doctor?
some STDs, the longer you wait, the more likely it is that the STD will
cause health problems like pain and infections in other parts of your
body. Some STDs can make it harder for women to get pregnant. The good
news is most STDs can be treated, and your health care provider can
If I have an STD, could I
give it to
people I have sex with?
Most STDs are very contagious (easy to get, easy to give). If you think
you have an STD, you should not have sex with anyone until you get
tested and treated.
How Do I
Find a Doctor?
I don’t have a doctor.
How do I
I’m under 18, can I see a
on my own?
There are lots of ways you
can find a
health care provider and get into care quickly.
teens who think they might have an STD can get their
own care and have it be confidential. Confidential means that
health care provider won’t tell anyone else about your visit
say it’s ok for them to do so.
I expect when I see my doctor?:
When I call my doctor’s
how do I get an appointment for an STD check-up?
can call and say you want to get tested for STDs. If you are not
comfortable asking for an STD test say “I need an appointment
related to an urgent but personal medical issue.”
I think I have an STD and
can’t get an appointment with my doctor until next week. What
should I do?
health care providers’ offices have appointments for the same day
call. Ask for a “sick visit” or “urgent care
visit.” If you
cannot get an appointment the same day, ask to speak to a nurse and
tell them you need to be seen that day to get an STD check-up.
I’m afraid to bring up
subject of STDs with my doctor. How should I ask?
health care provider has probably done many STD check-ups with all
types of patients. You can tell your provider that you had sex with
someone who has an STD and now you would like to get tested, or that
you started a new relationship and you want to be tested for STDs
I don’t want to go to my
doctor for an STD check-up. What other options do I have?
What questions will my
doctor ask me?
you do not want to see your own health care provider for STD care you
can also get a test at any of the sites listed on:
Or you can call the Massachusetts HIV/STD Hotline at 800-235-2331
to have a counselor help you find a testing site near you.
health care provider may ask you personal questions, like: How many
people have you had sex with? How many were male and female? What type
of sex did you have? Try to answer as truthfully as you can.
you are honest with your provider about how many people you have sex
with and the different ways you have sex, they can make better
decisions about your care.
What kind of STD tests
will my doctor
are different types of tests for STDs. Some involve urine
into a cup), and others use swabs from your penis, vagina, anus or throat. Others may require a blood test.
Once I have been tested
sure your health care provider has your phone number so they can reach
you to give you your results. You can let your doctor know if it is
okay to leave a message or not. If you prefer, you can also call them
to get your results.
I only want an HIV test.
What should I
Your health care provider may treat you
with medicines at the same time as the visit. Other times they will
wait for your test results.
If the provider prescribes any medicine, take it as exactly directed,
even if the symptoms go away.
you just want an HIV test you can go here
or talk to your health care provider. If you are think you might have
been exposed to HIV during sex, you should also get tested for other
happens after I’ve been tested?:
How long before I know my
It could be between 3 – 14
to get your results, depending on where you got tested. .
My STD results came back
What do I do now?
If the test is positive will I have to tell the person I had sex with
that I have an STD?
is no law in Massachusetts that says that you have to tell your sex
partner(s) if you have an STD. But letting your partners know they may
have been exposed to an STD means they can get tested and treated too,
which can help them to stay healthy. You could also get the infection
again if you have sex with a partner who hasn’t been treated.
you need help telling past or current partners about an STD there are
specialists at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health who can
help. You can call (617) 983-6951 to speak with someone.
- Take your medication.
the people you had sex with to get an STD check-up and treatment, or
call a health educator at the MA Department of Public Health at (617)
983-6951. You can get the STD again if the people you have
with are not treated.
- Use condoms with all your partners and get an STD check-up
least once a year, or anytime your have symptoms
How will I
pay for my STD care?:
I don’t have health
Where can I get some?
Will my visit and tests
be reported to
Health care providers will bill the STD tests and treatment costs to
your health insurance carrier. If you have concerns about
confidentiality, talk to your health care provider.
If I want to pay out of
much will it cost?
depends. Some providers charge on a sliding fee scale (which means they
lower the cost depending on your income.) When you make an
appointment ask how much it will cost.
Free testing for HIV
and STDs is available at some clinics in Massachusetts. Click
for a listing of the clinics or call the Massachusetts HIV/STD Hotline
at 800-235-2331 to have a counsleor find you a testing site in your