Not many 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
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, ask 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 or infections I have?
- How, exactly, is it transmitted?
- Will it keep me from having children?
- 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 these 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 to expect from your doctor
Giving your doctor a complete report of your symptoms and sexual history will help your doctor determine how to best care for you. Here are some of the things you may be asked:
Aug. 19, 2014
- 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 STIs?
- 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?
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- Overview of sexually transmitted diseases. The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious_diseases/sexually_transmitted_diseases_std/overview_of_sexually_transmitted_diseases.html. Accessed June 23, 2014.
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs110/en/. Accessed June 23, 2014.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed June 21, 2014.
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- New guidelines for cervical cancer screening: Patient education fact sheet. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Womens-Health/Cervical-Cancer. Accessed June 21, 2014.
- Swygard H, et al. Screening for sexually transmitted infections. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 21, 2014.
- Hay WW, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics. 21st ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookid=497. Accessed June 21, 2014.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010. MMWR. 2010;59:1. http://www.cdc.gov/sTD/treatment/2010/default.htm. Accessed June 21, 2014.
- Partner services FAQs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/partners/faq-public.html. Accessed June 23, 2014.
- Preexposure prophylaxis for the prevention of HIV infection in the United States — 2014 clinical practice guideline. Atlanta, Ga. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/guidelines/PrEPguidelines2014.pdf?elq=0a349f52dfa74f48ae554056bc0e027e&elqCampaignId=8040. Accessed May 16, 2014.