All Children's Hospital Logo

Health Information Library

Teens > Q&A > Birth Control, Pregnancy & STDs > How Do Doctors Test for STDs?
How Do Doctors Test for STDs?

How does a doctor test to see if you have STDs?
- Perry*

There are different tests for different sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The kind of test someone gets depends on the type of STD, symptoms (like sores, discharge, or pain), and the person's medical and sexual history.

A doctor or nurse practitioner will start by asking about a person's medical and sexual history things like how many partners the person has had. AFter that, the doctor or nurse will examine the person's genitals. For girls, who have symptoms of STDs this may include a pelvic exam. Girls who do not have symptoms and are just getting screened for STDs as part of a routine checkup will most likely not need a pelvic exam.

Based on what's learned from the interview and exam, the doctor or NP may take one or more of these samples:

Sometimes, the sample can be tested right there in the health provider's office. Other times, the sample is sent to a lab and the results come later. It depends on the office and the type of infection doctors are testing for.

STDs can be sneaky. Often there are no signs that a person has one. That's not necessarily a good thing. These "hidden" STDs can still put people at risk for health problems. Anyone who is having sex (or has had sex in the past) should get tested.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: October 2013

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

Related Articles
T    5 Myths About STDs
T    About Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
T    HIV Testing Resources
T    How Can I Find Out If My Boyfriend Has an STD Before We Have Sex?
T    How Do I Find Out If a Guy I Had Sex With Has an STD?
T    How Do I Get Checked for STDs Without My Parents Knowing?
T    If Someone With Herpes Has No Sores, Can It Still Be Passed On?
T    Talking to Your Partner About Condoms
T    Talking to Your Partner About STDs
T    Telling Your Partner You Have an STD
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2014 KidsHealth® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com

Additional Info

Pocket Doc Mobile App
Maps and Locations (Mobile)
Programs & Services
Employment
For Health Professionals
For Patients & Families
Contact Us
Find a Doctor
News
CME

All Children's Hospital
501 6th Ave South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 898-7451
(800) 456-4543

Use Normal Template
© 2014 All Children's Hospital - All Rights Reserved