WHAT TO EXPECT

TESTING EXPECTATIONS FOR MALES

CHECK-IN

When you first get to the clinic or your doctor’s office, you’ll need to fill out a form with some general questions about your health and maybe your sexual history.  It’s extremely important to be 100% honest when filling out these forms to make sure you get the best care possible.  If you aren’t sure how to fill something out or have any questions, ask the front desk person for help.

PRE-EXAM

You can bring a parent, your partner or a friend with you, if that would make you more comfortable. You also have the right to speak to a healthcare provider in private (i.e. without a parent in the room).

A good healthcare provider should give you the choice and should support your privacy by asking your parent to leave the room for all or a part of the discussion and exam. When the healthcare provider is ready for you, they will take you to a private room where they’ll go over your forms with you.

The provider will ask you if you’re having any symptoms that might be caused by a sexually transmitted disease (STD), like pain with urination or discharge from your penis.  Then, the healthcare provider will ask you more questions about your sexual history.  Some questions to expect are:

  • How many sex partners have you had in the last year?
  • Have you had sex with men, women, or both?
  • What kinds of sex have you had (oral, anal, or vaginal)?
  • How often do you use condoms?

THE EXAM

Once the healthcare provider has all the information they need, they’ll start the testing process.  There are different tests for different STDs.  Lots of men don’t get tested for STDs because they think it’s going to hurt.  Ask the healthcare provider to test you using a urine test.

They’ll have you urinate into a cup, and test the urine for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.  If the provider thinks you might have a rectal infection, he or she will simply swab the inside of your butt cheek or anal area.

If the provider thinks you might have an STD in your throat, he or she may swab your throat.  Remember, you can get STD’s with any type of sex!

You should also ask your healthcare provider about getting tested for Syphilis and HIV.  The provider will probably do this by taking a small blood sample and sending it to a lab.  HIV can also be tested for using a mouth swab.  Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about what would make you most comfortable.

A visual inspection of your penis and testicles might be needed also.  The healthcare provider just needs to make sure that everything looks okay by looking for signs of sores that might be Herpes or Syphilis, or genital warts that could indicate HPV.

The exam might make you feel self-conscious, but there’s no need to be embarrassed – what you show your healthcare provider will be nothing new to them!

Make sure you ask your provider to test you for STDs.  If your appointment wasn’t specifically for a sexual health or STD check-up, the provider may not be testing you for STDs- even if you gave urine or blood.  Sometimes you have to ask for testing!

AFTER THE EXAM

The healthcare provider will answer any questions you have.  It might be helpful to come to your appointment with a list of the questions you have, just to make sure you don’t forget anything.

At this time, your provider may give you information and resources about sexual health and STDs.  And he or she will probably talk to you about how you can protect yourself from STDs and they might offer you free condoms.

YOUR RESULTS

Your healthcare provider or their nurse will call or send you a letter to let you know about your test results.  The healthcare provider (and their nurse) is required by law to maintain 100% confidentiality – only you will be told your test results.  (If you are at least 14 years of age the law makes sure the healthcare provider cannot tell your parents you were seen for an STD exam.)  For more information about your rights to confidential health care.

Negative Test Results – Negative results mean there were no STDs detected in your tests. However, some STDs don’t show up right away after you’ve been exposed.

  • For Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis, it may take up to 2 weeks
  • For Hepatitis and HIV, it could take up to 3 months
  • For Herpes, it could be as long as 6 months before a test can detect it

If you’re worried, talk to the doctor about making an appointment for a follow-up test.

Positive Test Results – Depending on what STD you have, you may need medicine to get rid of the infection or to help your body fight it.

Your healthcare provider will tell you if you need treatment and if so, what your choices are. If your provider recommends treatment, follow his or her instructions and take ALL medication when it’s prescribed or given to you.

  • Bacterial STDs (like Chlamydia and Gonorrhea) are curable with antibiotics.  Your healthcare provider will decide which antibiotic would work best for you.
  • Viral STDs (like Hepatitis, Herpes, HPV and HIV) cannot be cured but may be able to be treated with certain medications.  Your healthcare provider will decide the best treatment for you- some treatment includes things like rest and good nutrition; other treatments include prescription medication.

The doctor will also talk to you about making sure your partners get tested and treated.  This discussion may be difficult -to prepare for it, visit the communication page.  If you don’t feel comfortable telling your partner that you have an STD, staff from the Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) can do it for you.

They are required by law to maintain 100% confidentiality for you.  This means that none of your information may be shared with that partner- (partners are told only that someone they had sex with in the past has an STD and they should seek testing and/or treatment as soon as possible).


TESTING EXPECTATIONS FOR FEMALES

CHECK-IN

When you first get to the clinic or your doctor’s office, you’ll need to fill out a form asking some general questions about your health and maybe about your sexual history.  It’s extremely important to be 100% honest when filling out these forms to make sure you get the best care possible.

PRE-EXAM

You have the choice to bring along a parent, partner or friend with you, if that would make you more comfortable. You also have the right to speak to a healthcare provider in private (i.e. without a parent in the room). A good healthcare provider should give you the choice and should support your privacy by asking your parent to leave the room for all or a part of the discussion and exam.  When the healthcare provider is ready for you, he or she will take you to a private space where they’ll go over your forms with you.  The provider will ask you if you’re experiencing any symptoms that might be caused by a sexually transmitted disease (STD), like pain with urination or discharge from your vagina.  At this point, the healthcare provider will ask you more questions about your sexual history.  Some questions to expect are:

  • How many sex partners have you had in the last year?
  • Have you had sex with men, women, or both?
  • What kinds of sex have you had (oral, anal, or vaginal)?
  • How often do you use condoms?

THE EXAM

Once the healthcare provider has all of the information he or she needs, they’ll start the testing process.  There are different tests for different STDs.

Some STDs can be checked for during a pelvic exam or Pap smear.  During a pelvic exam, the healthcare provider will look at your outer and inner vaginal areas to check for visible sores or genital warts.  The provider may use a swab to get a sample from your cervix (opening to the uterus) to look for abnormalities caused by HPV.  This is a pap smear. The healthcare provider may also take a sample from the cervix to test for both Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.  They may insert several fingers into your vagina and press on your abdomen to check the health of your uterus, and may also do a rectal exam.

NOTE: An annual Pap smear does not automatically mean you are being tested for STD’s.  Be sure to ask what tests are being done.

Healthcare providers can also test for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea using a urine sample.  Talk to your provider about which kind of test is best for you.  If they think you might have a rectal infection, he or she will simply swab the inside of your butt cheek or anal area.  If the provider thinks you might have a STD infection in your throat, he or she may swab your throat.  Remember, you can get STD’s with any type of sex!

You should also ask your healthcare provider about getting tested for Syphilis and HIV.  They will probably do this by taking a small blood sample and sending it to a lab.  HIV can also be tested for using a mouth swab.  Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about what would make you most comfortable.

Make sure you ask your provider to test you for STDs.  If your appointment wasn’t specifically for a sexual health or STD check-up, the provider may not be testing you for STDs- even if you had a pelvic exam, gave urine or blood specimens.  Sometimes you have to ask for testing!

YOUR RESULTS

Your healthcare provider or his/her nurse will call or send you a letter to let you know about your test results.  The healthcare provider (and his/her nurse) is required by law to maintain 100% confidentiality – only you will be told your test results.  (If you are at least 14 years of age, the law makes sure the healthcare provider cannot tell your parents you were seen for a STD exam.)  For more information about your rights to confidential health care.

Negative Test Results – Negative results mean there were no STDs detected in your tests.  However, some STDs don’t show up right away after you’ve been exposed.

  • For Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis, it may take up to 2 weeks
  • For Hepatitis and HIV, it could take up to 3 months
  • For Herpes, it could be as long as 6 months before a test can detect it

If you’re worried, talk to the doctor about making an appointment for a follow-up test.

Positive Test Results – Depending on what STD you have, you may need treatment to get rid of the germ or to help your body to fight the infection.  Your healthcare provider will tell you if treatment is appropriate and if so, what your options are.  If your provider recommends treatment, follow his or her instructions and take ALL medication when it’s prescribed or given to you.

  • Bacterial STDs (like Chlamydia and Gonorrhea) are curable with antibiotics.  Your healthcare provider will decide which antibiotic would work best for you.
  • Viral STDs (like Hepatitis, Herpes, HPV and HIV) cannot be cured but may be able to be treated with certain medications.  Your healthcare provider will decide the best treatment for you- some treatment includes things like rest and good nutrition; other treatments include prescription medication.

The healthcare provider will also talk to you about making sure your partners get tested and treated. This discussion may be difficult.  For assistance with preparing yourself for it, visit the communication page. If you don’t feel comfortable telling your partner that you have a STD, the Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) can do this for you. SRHD staff who do this are required by law to maintain 100% confidentiality for you.

This means that none of your information may be shared with that partner- (partners are told only that someone they had sex with in the past has a STD and they should seek testing and/or treatment as soon as possible).

Your healthcare provider will also find out if you’re pregnant.  If you are, it is even more important you follow all instructions regarding medication, avoid sexual activity and talk to your partner about getting tested and treated.

Many STDs can be passed to your baby- while the baby is in your womb or during the birth process.  For more information about STDs during pregnancy, visit the pregnancy and STDs page.



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