Preparing for your Appointment

Few people feel comfortable sharing the details of their sexual experiences, but the doctor’s office is one place where such information is essential to appropriate care.

What you can do to best prepare for your appointment:

  • Ask about any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, see if there’s anything you need to do in advance.
  • Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins, or supplements you’re taking.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What’s the medical name of the infection(s) I have?
  • How, exactly, is it transmitted?
  • Will it keep me from having children?
  • For women: if I get pregnant, could I give it to my baby?
  • Is it possible to catch this again?
  • Could I have caught this from someone I had sex with only once?
  • Could I give this to someone by having sex with that person just once?
  • How long have I had it?
  • I have “xyz” other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Should I abstain from sexual activity while being treated?
  • Does my partner have to go to a doctor to be treated?

What you can expect from your doctor.

Giving your doctor a complete report of your symptoms and sexual history will help him/her determine how to best care for you. Here are some of the things you may be asked:

  • What symptoms prompted you to come in? How long have you had these symptoms?
  • Are you sexually active with men, women, or both?
  • Do you currently have one sex partner or more than one?
  • How long have you been with your current partner or partners?
  • Have you ever injected yourself with drugs?
  • Have you ever had sex with someone who has injected drugs?
  • What do you do to protect yourself from STD’s?
  • What do you do to prevent pregnancy?
  • Has a doctor or nurse ever told you that you have chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, or HIV?
  • Have you ever been treated for a genital discharge, genital sores, painful urination, or an infection of your sex organs?
  • How many sex partners have you had in the past year?
  • How many people have you had sex with in the past two months?
  • When was your most recent sexual encounter?

In the meantime, if you suspect you have an STD, it’s best to abstain from sexual activity until you’ve talked with your doctor. If you do engage in sexual activity before seeing your doctor, be sure to follow safe sex practices, such as using a condom.

(Made possible by the Mayo Clinic)

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