Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

How Do Doctors Test for STDs?

How does a doctor test to see if you have STDs?
Perry*

There are different tests for different sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The kind of test a person gets will depend on the type of STD, symptoms (like sores, discharge, or pain), and his or her medical and sexual history.

To get this history, a doctor or nurse practitioner (NP) will ask about things like how many partners the person has had. After that, the doctor or NP will examine the person's genitals. For girls who have symptoms of STDs, this might include a pelvic exam. Girls who do not have symptoms and are just getting screened for STDs as part of a routine checkup probably won't need a pelvic exam.

Based on what's learned from the interview and exam, the doctor or NP may take one or more of these samples:

  • a blood sample (from either a blood draw or a finger prick)
  • a urine sample
  • a swab of the inside of the mouth
  • a swab from the genitals, such as the urethra in guys or the cervix in girls
  • a swab of any discharge or sores

Sometimes, the sample can be tested right there in the health provider's office. Other times, the sample is sent to a lab and the results come later. It depends on the office and the type of infection doctors are testing for.

STDs can be sneaky. Often there are no signs that a person has one. That's not necessarily a good thing. These "hidden" STDs can still put people at risk for health problems. Anyone who is having sex (or has had sex in the past) should get tested.

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date Reviewed: 17-01-2017

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.