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What should I do if I think I might have an STD?

Answer

If you have any of the symptoms described above, or you suspect you could have been exposed to an STD, it�s important to get medical help.

People who think they might have an STD often feel scared or embarrassed. It is normal to feel this way, but it is important to keep your feelings from getting in the way of seeking medical help. Untreated STDs usually get worse, making you even more scared and embarrassed. Some STDs can make you very sick or even kill you. If you have an untreated STD, you can infect anyone else you have sex with.

If you are worried people might find out you are getting tested or treated for an STD, many clinics and hospitals provide anonymous testing, and even free treatment if you have an STD.

If you think or know you have an STD, it is important to consider changing your sexual behavior. Because some STDs, like herpes and HPV, cannot always be prevented with condoms, you may consider abstinence (not having sex) as an option. You may also wish to take precautions with your sexual partner(s). This means talking to them about your sexual history and any infections you have, encouraging them to seek diagnosis and treatment if it is possible they have an STD, encouraging faithfulness to one another, and using a condom.

If you find out you have an STD, it is important to:

  • avoid sex while being treated;
  • follow the full treatment regimen prescribed by your doctor; and
  • tell recent sexual partners, so they can seek treatment themselves if they are infected, and avoid infecting others.

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