Q: What is a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD)?

A: A Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) is a serious, sometimes painful, disease, which can cause extensive damage to your body. Some STDs infect only your sexual and reproductive organs. Others (HIV, hepatitis B, syphilis) cause general body infections.

Q: How are STDs spread?

A: STDs are spread through sexual activity, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. Some STDs (HIV and hepatitis B) are also spread by contact with infected blood.

Q: Are there signs or symptoms of a STD?

A: Sometimes you can have a STD with no signs or symptoms. Other times, the symptoms go away on their own. Either way, you will still have the STD until you get treated.

Q: As a woman, what are some symptoms I can watch for?

A:

  • An unusual discharge or smell from your vagina.
  • Pain in your pelvic area (the area between your belly button and sex organs).
  • Burning or itching around your vagina.
  • Bleeding from your vagina that is not your regular period.
  • Pain deep inside your vagina when you have sex.
  • Sores, bumps, or blisters near your sex organs, rectum or mouth.
  • Burning and pain when you urinate (pee) or have a bowel movement.
  • Need to urinate (pee) often.
  • Itching around your sex organs.
  • A swelling or redness in your throat.
  • Flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills and aches.
  • Swelling in your groin (the area around your sex organs).

Q: As a man, what are some symptoms I can watch for?

A:

  • A drip or discharge from your penis.
  • Sores, bumps, or blisters near your sex organs, rectum or mouth.
  • Burning and pain when you urinate (pee) or have a bowel movement.
  • Need to urinate (pee) often.
  • Itching around your sex organs.
  • A swelling or redness in your throat.
  • Flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills and aches.
  • Swelling in your groin (the area around your sex organs).

Q: What should I do if I think I have an STD?

A: If you think you might have an STD, get checked out. Don't just hope the STD will go away. It won't!

Q: If I have symptoms of a STD, what should I do?

A: Stop having sex. Go to a STD clinic or your own health care provider. Whatever you do, DON'T PUT IT OFF - get checked out now!

Q: If I have a STD, do I have to get treatment?

A: Yes! The only way to get well is through treatment, even if it's a hard thing for you to do.

Q: Are STDs curable?

A: Most STDs can be cured if you get treated, although there are a few STDs that cannot be cured.

Q: Does the Health Department offer STD Clinics?

A: Yes! STD Clinics are held Wednesdays from 3:30 PM -5:30 PM and Fridays from 12:30 PM -3:00 PM.

Q: How much does it cost to be tested for a STD at the Health Department?

A: All services are provided on a sliding fee scale of $15 to $180 based on income. No one will be refused service due to inability to pay.

Q: When I'm tested for a STD, will everyone in the waiting room hear my name be called?

A: NO! The clinician will call you by your assigned number, not your name.

Q: Will anyone outside of the clinic staff know that I've been tested for a STD?

A: Absolutely not. When you come to a STD Clinic at the Health Department, you will fill out a "patient information form", which will be used to make up your medical record. Everything contained in your medical record is CONFIDENTIAL.

Q: Do I have to tell anyone that I have a STD?

A: You must tell your sexual partner(s). If they aren't treated, they can get sick. They can spread the STD and they may even give it to you again!

Q: What are some ways in the future to protect myself from getting a STD?

A:

  • Don't have sex - it's the best way to protect yourself from STDs.
  • If you choose to have sex, be sure it's with one uninfected partner ONLY, who has sex with you only.
  • Talk to your partner about past sex partners and about needle drug use.
  • Don't have sex with anyone you may think has a STD.
  • Before you have sex, look closely at your partner for any signs of STDs - a rash, a sore, or discharge. If you see anything suspicious, don't have sex!
  • Use a latex condom (rubber) for vaginal, anal and oral sex. Condoms will protect you from STDs much of the time. Both men and women should carry condoms.
  • If you are allergic to latex, use plastic (polyurethane) condoms. They come in both male and female styles.
  • Get checked for STDs regularly. Ask your health care provider to help you decide how often and which tests you should have.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of a STD. If you have a symptom that worries you, get checked out!
  • If you have a STD, your partner(s) must get tested and treated too.
  • If you have a STD, don't have sex until your treatment is complete.