ReproCo: Just the Tips – What to do if you think you may have an STD

By Cassie Dellas

Dear Syphilis in Schultz,

So the first thing I suggest doing is to not freak out! We are fortunate enough to live in a time with wondrous modern medicine, so if you do have a sexually transmitted disease or sexually transmitted infection it can potentially be cleared up within a few short days. So breathe, stay AWAY from WebMD, and follow these steps toward a clean bill of health.

First, access the situation. What makes you think you have an STI? Write down everything that you notice about your genitals. Are there splotchy red marks or painful bumps? Does it hurt to urinate? Is there a strong or unusual odor? Is there an excessive amount of itching happening? Try to be honest when you write everything down. If the itching is minimal and you have recently shaved then you might just need a few days and some healing lotion to make the symptoms go away. If you do feel that something is wrong or if there are multiple symptoms, then do not feel embarrassed about writing them down. It will be more beneficial to you to be truthful to yourself so you can receive the best medical care.

Second, make an appointment with the health center. This may feel a little weird, but I promise that it is not as bad as it seems. You can make the appointment in the privacy of your own room by calling Winslow at (814) 332-4355.

At your appointment, you will be asked about your sexual health history and why you are coming in to be tested. (This is where your list of symptoms will come in handy.) Again, don’t feel embarrassed about talking about your sexual health! It is important to be honest about what you are feeling so that the nurse practitioner can properly access what you may have. There are several tests you can take, depending on your symptoms. To test for gonorrhea or chlamydia you will just need to take a urine rest. If it is something more serious, like Human Immunodeficiency Virus, then you will go down to the clinic in town and have your blood drawn. Other tests will have you swab the inside of your urethra or vagina. You will receive your results within a few days of being tested. If it is positive, then the health center will work with you to help eliminate any STI you may have contracted.

In the future, try to always remember use a condom or dental dam no matter what kind of sexual activity you are engaging in and talk to your partner about your sexual health. Accidents do happen, but you will thank yourself in the long run for taking the proper precautions now. Keep a look out in the future for free testing and if you have any questions never hesitate to ask the nurse practitioners or a member of ReproCo!