If you suspect that you have a sexually transmitted disease (STD), it’s normal to feel concerned, and you’re not alone in these feelings. The Centers for Disease Control reported that 2.53 million STDs were reported in the most recent study in 2021 一 that’s a 7% increase from 2019!
The good news is that because STDs are common, there’s a tried-and-true path for what you need to do next. Drs. Ines Munoz De Laborde and Svetlana Burkhead created this guide to help you identify your next steps after you spot the signs of an STD. From STD testing to treatment, we have everything you need under one roof here in San Jose, California.
Here’s what you should do if you think you have an STD.
The first step is to remain calm. Understand that many STDs are treatable, and early detection is key to getting symptom relief and stopping the spread of the infection. Take the time to educate yourself about the specific symptoms associated with the suspected STD, as well as how it’s transmitted.
Remember: just because you have concerning symptoms, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have an STD. Symptoms of other conditions, such as yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis (BV), can mimic the symptoms of an STD. The only way to know for sure which condition you have is with testing.
Schedule your STD test
The Physicians Medical Urgent Care team offers confidential testing services. Depending on what symptoms you have and what STD is suspected, you may need:
- Urine or blood testing
- A swab of your vagina, penis, cervix, anus, urethra, or mouth
- A swab of existing sores
When you arrive for your appointment, bring a list of any concerning symptoms you have. In some cases, you may not have any symptoms. Rather, you may have just learned that your partner has an STD. Even if you were exposed, many STDs are asymptomatic, meaning you may not exhibit noticeable symptoms. This makes regular testing an important part of sexual health maintenance.
Communicate openly and honestly with your current partner(s)
If you have reason to believe you may have an STD, open and honest communication with your sexual partner(s) is essential. Encourage them to get tested as well, and practice safe sex in the meantime to prevent potential transmission. Remember, having an STD doesn't imply blame; it's an opportunity for both partners to prioritize their health.
Notify past partners
In the event of a positive diagnosis, you need to notify recent sexual partners so that they can seek testing and treatment as needed. This responsible action contributes to breaking the chain of transmission and promotes overall community health.
Follow advice from the Physicians Medical Urgent Care team
If your test results confirm an STD, follow any treatment plans you are given. Some STDs can be cured with antibiotics, while others may be managed with ongoing medical care. It's important not to self-diagnose or self-treat, as this can lead to complications.
Practice safe sex going forward
Proper use of condoms and regular testing can significantly reduce the risk of infection. Discuss safe sex practices with your partner(s) and continue to prioritize your sexual health.
Get tested regularly
Even after you’ve treated your current STD, you may benefit from routine testing going forward. Your testing schedule depends on several factors, including your age, how many partners you have, if you’re pregnant, or if you’re in a new relationship. Drs. Ines Munoz De Laborde and Svetlana Burkhead adhere to the recommended schedule provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and can recommend the right timing for you.
To schedule your STD test, call our San Jose, California, office at 408-207-4637. You can also click here to schedule your next appointment.