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East Tenneesee Children's

East Tenneesee Children's Hospital





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 they had 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*

You don’t have to have any symptoms to have an STD. To find out if you do have one, you can get tested at a doctor's office or health clinic. You can find places near you to get tested here. Some places offer free or low-cost testing and treatment. 

Many STDs can be diagnosed with a urine (pee) sample or a swab of the cervix (in females) or the urethra (in males). Sometimes a sample from a sore or a blood test is needed. 

If it turns out that you do have an STD, the health care provider will prescribe medicine and/or give you an antibiotic injection (shot) in the office. Sometimes they can also give you a prescription for your partner too. It is really important to treat STDs as early as possible so that they don’t spread to others or cause any long-term problems.

Home tests are available for some STDs. But the results aren’t always reliable and they can be expensive. Plus they do not include treatment.

In most states, as long as you are over 13, you don’t need to worry about your parents finding out. You can always ask the health care provider just to be sure. 

To help lower your risk of getting an STD:

  • Use a latex condom every time you have sex (vaginal, oral, or anal).
  • Get tested with any new partners before having sex.
  • Have sex with one partner only (who also doesn’t have sex with other people).

And remember to get tested for STDs every year (or more often if recommended by your health care provider).

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

Date reviewed: February 2022