How do I know if I need to be tested?

The first step is to talk with a doctor or health care provider about your experiences, your complete sexual history. Not to worry this discussion is completely confidential, so be sure be truthful and thorough.

This discussion should include the kinds of sex you’ve had, the number and gender of partners, what kinds of protection you used and how frequently you used it, etc. remember you are not being judged it’s the only way for your provider to accurately assess your risks, and do the appropriate tests. Tests for STDs, including HIV/AIDS, are not usually included as part of a routine health exam, so you’ll probably have to ask for one.

Many people assume incorrectly that if testing doesn’t come up there is no problem. But many health care providers assume the same thing. This “don’t ask – don’t tell” approach can have negative consequences for your health. If they don’t bring it up, ask.

Remember STD testing is usually not part of a regular physical exam, so unless you talk to your provider about it, you can’t assume you’ve been tested. Pap smears do not test you for STDs. And you should know that your provider can’t test you for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, without your consent. There are now at home test kits for all common STDs too. If you want to know whether you should be tested, you need to ask.

Why get tested for STDs?

If you are sexually active, if you have had any kind of unprotected sexual contact, e.g. any exchange of blood, semen, or vaginal fluids you could have been exposed to an STD you should talk with a doctor or health care provider or visit an STD testing center to arrange testing for STDs.

The only way to know for sure if you or your partner has an STD is to get tested.