Too embarrassed to talk to your doctor about STDs?
Written by: Editors
You’ve had unprotected sex, or the condom came off during sex, and you think you might have an STD. Or you’ve found out that someone you slept with has an STD. Of course, you need to see a doctor and get professional advice. The only problem is, you’re afraid to go to your doctor. Perhaps you feel uncomfortable showing your private parts to a doctor who then has to examine them. Or maybe you’re worried about the test results, or don’t want your parents to find out. How will they react?
Testing for STDs
It’s very important to get tested if you suspect you have an STD. You can make an appointment for an STD test through your GP. There are also ways to get tested for STDs without revealing your identity. For instance, through anonymous STD screening, or at home with a self-test.
Don’t wait too long to treat an STD
The point is you shouldn’t leave an STD untreated: the longer you leave an STD untreated, the more damage it can do. If you are concerned you may have an STD, the first thing to do is get tested. This is the only way to know for sure if you have an STD, and if so, what STD you’ve contracted.
Why is it so important to treat STDs?
The most common STDs are chlamydia, genital warts, herpes and gonorrhoea. Fortunately, most STDs are curable with the right medication. Often an ointment or antibiotic will do the trick. However, there are a small number of STDs that are incurable and, once contracted, will never go away completely. But there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms.
Serious health consequences
It’s a totally different story if an STD is undetected or left untreated. This can lead to a multitude of health issues which may become serious, and in some cases, fatal. You may start experiencing painful sex. Some STDs can lead to infertility or cause severe health problems if left untreated. If you have HIV and don’t get treatment this contagious virus may become AIDS, which can be life-threatening. Also, one of the biggest problems of having an untreated STD is unknowingly spreading it.
In short, there are plenty of reasons to get tested for STDs and get treatment if you are indeed infected.
Did you know that millions of people get tested for STDs every year? Don’t worry, the test results will not be shared with your parents. Or with anybody. Doctors have a duty of confidentiality to their patients. This means that what you talk about with your doctor is private and confidential.
Duty of confidentiality
If you suspect you have an STD, you can make an appointment with your GP to get tested. If you’re afraid that the doctor will tell your parents, don’ be. Doctors have a duty of confidentiality to their patients. This means that they cannot share information about their patients with third parties without the consent of the patient. And because in most countries the age of medical majority is 16, you even have the right to consent to your own medical treatments and procedures.
If you feel awkward or uncomfortable about visiting your GP, there are STD self-tests that you can order discreetly online. An STD self-test lets you test yourself for STDs. One of the main advantages of using these test kits is that you have the flexibility to test yourself from the comfort of your home, whenever it suits you. So you don't have to make an appointment, sit in front of your doctor and talk about this awkward topic. With these kits, you take a blood sample at home which you post to a laboratory for testing, and you can check the results online and, if necessary, order a treatment. Some self-tests even give results within a few minutes. They are a great option for people who want to check their STD status without visiting a doctor’s office.
There are tests that screen for specific STDs, such as the chlamydia self-test and syphilis self-test.
Don’t wait any longer. Take action now! If you test positive, it is important that you get treated immediately. Ask a doctor what treatment you need. To prevent further infection transmission, it’s important to notify your sexual partners so they can be treated, too.