Talking with your health care provider about your current or planned sex life as it relates to your health is an important part of keeping healthy.
Find a health care provider who respects you, who you feel comfortable talking with, who listens to you, and who encourages you to ask questions!
Your appointment is a two-sided conversation! Your health care provider may ask you questions about your sexual history to better understand how to help you, and YOU may ask questions and talk about any concerns you have at your appointment. If you feel awkward talking with your health care provider at first, don't worry, it will get easier with practice!
Remember: if you are under 18 years old, you can agree to be checked and treated for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You can receive other sexual health care, including birth control and STI prevention medication and vaccinations. If you are on your parent's insurance, you can also contact your health care plan and request a different address be used when they mail out an explanation of benefits (for more information: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/std/docs/faq_billing_consent.pdf).
Take the Lead: be confident and tell them everything. Discussing your "sexual history" may include talking about:
- Your sexual partner(s) (male, female, transgender, etc.)
- What types of sex you're having (vaginal, oral, anal)
- If you had any type of sex with a partner and when
- Testing for STIs such as gonorrhea or syphilis
- What kinds of prevention methods you're using or not using
- Drugs/alcohol use
Tell your health care provider about any changes or concerns you have. These include things such as: aches, pains, sores, rashes, bumps, discharge, odors, tiredness, sex without condoms, and new relationships, etc.
It is a great time to ask questions such as:
- Am I at risk for getting HIV?
- How do you test for chlamydia?
- Should my sex partner(s) get tested?
- What are my options if my results are positive?
- What are my options for confidentiality?
- How do I protect myself from STIs and HIV?
Ask for information about: HIV, STIs, testing, insurance, and referral services
Talking openly and honestly with your health care provider is the best way to decide together:
- Which prevention methods are best for you
- What tests you may need
- What kind of treatments you may need, if any
- Other ways to be sexually healthy
DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK! Any question is a good question.