Remember: Any kind of sex puts you at risk of STDs. Look for signs of STDs on you and your partner. Get checked if you're not sure. And if you do have an STD, get treated! Tell your partner so they can get checked, too.
I'm not sure if I have an STD or not...
Look for Symptoms
Not all STDs have symptoms you can see. But knowing common signs will help. Pay attention to your body and your partner's body. If either of you see or feel something that seems like a symptom, get checked.
Getting checked is the only way to know for sure if you have an STD. You can get tested at a health clinic or doctor's office. Tests may include:
- A sample (swab) of discharge from the penis, vagina, mouth, or rectum.
- Urine and blood tests.
- A pelvic (vaginal) exam, or rectal exam.
- A Pap smear for females. This is done by taking a sample of cells from the cervix. Females who are having sex should have at least one checkup each year.
Many STDs can be cured or treated with medication. Early treatment can help keep things from getting worse. Follow all your instructions for treatment. And remember to:
- Avoid sex for as long as you're told. Otherwise, you could infect someone else.
- Take all your medications. And don't share medications with your partner unless you're told to.
- Go back to your doctor or clinic if your symptoms don't go away (or if they come back).
- Get treated for each STD you have.
Talk to Your Partner
If you have an STD, tell your partner so they can get checked. It may be embarrassing. But if you don't talk about it, your partner could end up having serious health problems. They could also pass the disease back to you or on to others. If you're not sure what to say, ask your doctor or nurse.