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See the doctor

Jun 25, 2002

Does a person have to wait a certain amount of time before they can go to the doctor to be checked if they have a std??? Can you ever go to the doc too soon after the unprotected sex that they won't be able to pick it up??

Response from Mr. Kull

Sexually transmitted infections are complicated, and the fact that they are all grouped into one category, STIs or STDs, can be deceiving. Each infection is caused by a different microorganism, some that are similar and some that are quite distinct. Some produce symptoms, some don't; some can be screened for, some can't. So to answer a question like yours would take a lot of space.

If you don't have symptoms of an STI, then you are off to a good start. If you ever have symptoms that you suspect are related to sexual activity, see a doctor when you are experiencing them. That can greatly assist in diagnosis.

If you are not experiencing symptoms, the need for screening is debatable. Decisions about this need to be based on your risk for STIs. That aside, its not possible, and not always useful, to screen for asymptomatic STIs.

If you have sexual contact with someone who has been diagnosed with an STI that could pose a risk to you, see a doctor regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms.

If you are a sexually active woman, get regular gynecological check ups. Pap smears can detect cellular changes that may be indicative of HPV. Women should also be screened for chlamydia as they are more likely than men to be asymptomatic.

If you are a man who has sex with men, you might be at increased risk for certain STIs. Talk to your doctor about screening options.

Read through Sexually Transmitted Disease Basics for more detailed information.


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