Do You Have to See a Doctor to Find Out if You Have an STD?

Do You Have to See a Doctor to Find Out if You Have an STD?

A guy I had sex with a few weeks ago is telling me that he thinks he got an STD from me. A while ago, I had unprotected sex with someone, and I don't know if that person has an STD or not. How can I know if I have an STD without getting checked by a doctor? Or is that the only way to find out?
- TJ*

The only way to be sure about whether or not you have an STD is to get examined at a doctor's office or health clinic. Many STDs don't have obvious symptoms. Lots of people don't even know they have an STD until their doctor discovers it. Even a bump that looks like an ingrown hair could be something more.

When you go for your exam, tell the doctor or nurse practitioner that you had unprotected sex in the past. (Don't worry about how he or she will react — medical professionals are trained to help people, not judge them.) The doctor or nurse practitioner can check you for any STDs with a simple exam and a blood or urine test. If it turns out that you do have an STD, the doctor or clinic can start treating you. It is really important to treat STDs as early as possible so that you stay healthy and don't have any complications.

Since many STDs don't have symptoms, you won't be able to "see" that someone else has an STD either. That's why the best way to protect yourself and anyone you sleep with is to use a condom. And, if you're having sex, get regular medical exams.

Reviewed by: Julia Brown Lancaster, BSN, RN, CAPA
Date reviewed: January 2012

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.





Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.





Bookmark and Share

Related Resources
Web SiteAmerican Social Health Association This nonprofit organization is dedicated to preventing sexually transmitted diseases and offers hotlines for prevention and control of STDs.
Web SitePlanned Parenthood Federation of America Planned Parenthood offers information on sexually transmitted diseases, birth control methods, and other issues of sexual health.
OrganizationAmerican College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) This site offers information on numerous health issues. The women's health section includes readings on pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum care, breast health, menopause, contraception, and more.
Web SiteGYT - Get Yourself Talking and Get Yourself Tested This media campaign designed to get young people to talk with their health care providers and partners about the importance of getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
Web SiteAdvocates for Youth Advocates for Youth helps young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health.
Related Articles
Is a Gynecologist the Same as a Primary Care Doctor? Find out what the experts have to say.
What Can I Expect From the Gynecologist? Find out what the experts have to say.
Gyn Checkups Girls should get their first gynecological checkup between ages 13 and 15. Find out what happens during a yearly gyn visit -- and why most girls don't get internal exams.
About Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) You've probably heard lots of discouraging news about sexually transmitted diseases. The good news is that STDs can be prevented. Find out how to protect yourself.
When Is it Time to Start Seeing a Gynecologist? Find out what the experts have to say.
iGrow iGrow
Sign up for our parent enewsletter