How to ask a doctor for an STD test

Published March 1 2024 inSexual Health
stopwatch4 minutes read

Even today, where so much knowledge is available to anyone with an internet connection, many people have a hard time talking about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). And when it’s hard to talk about something, it can be even more difficult to address the problem.

If you’re having trouble asking your doctor for STD testing, Better2Know can help. Keep reading to find out more about this topic.

Address any negative feelings around STDs

Stigma around getting and having STDs still affects many people. For a variety of social and cultural reasons, those who are sexually active and want to get tested still worry that confirmation of their sexual status will lead to largely negative social outcomes. This stigma can keep people from getting tested and treated, making negative health outcomes more likely. Not getting tested will also increase the likelihood of spreading the infections they have.

It can be difficult to overcome this fear. But research shows that it is always better to know your sexual status so that you can take action if needed.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re struggling with these feelings:

  • Having an STD doesn’t mean you’re a bad person: All sorts of people can get STDs. No matter your sexual history, the only thing that matters is doing what’s best for your health and the health of your sexual partners
  • STDs are incredibly common: Tens of thousands of people get STDs every year in Australia. The Australian government estimates that 16% of people will encounter an STD at some point in their lives. Even if you have a single or multiple sexual partners, it’s possible to get an STD.
  • Most STDs can be cured: The vast majority of infections that are contracted in Australia can be cured with medication, sometimes with a single dose of antibiotics. Even STDs that do not have a cure can be managed with the right medication and care so you can lead a long and healthy life.
  • Untreated STDs can harm your long-term health: STDs can cause a range of serious health conditions, such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, fertility problems, issues carrying and delivering a pregnancy, damage to several organ systems, and more. That’s why it’s important to get tested if you think you may have an STD.

Find a doctor you trust

Whenever you’re dealing with your health, it’s important to find healthcare providers that you trust. If you do not feel comfortable with a certain doctor, it’s perfectly fine to try to find someone else.

Discuss any potential risk factors or symptoms

Once you’ve found a doctor you trust and have arrived for your sexual health check up, you can start discussing any symptoms you may have.

Symptoms of STDs can vary depending on the infection in question. If you have an STD, you may have:

  • Itching or burning sensations in the genitals or the groin area
  • Any unusual discharge from the penis or vagina
  • Pain or burning sensations during urination
  • Pain during normal sexual intercourse
  • New and unusual skin blemishes such as warts, sores, blisters, chancres, or rashes in or around the genitals, anus, or mouth
  • Lasting pain in the lower abdomen
  • Symptoms that may be mistaken for the flu or other infections, such as fever, body aches, or fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding between periods

However, you don’t need any symptoms to go to the doctor about STDs. Most people who have an STD don’t experience any symptoms. This is particularly true in the early days of an infection.

Understand the different types of STDs

Sometimes, when you’re concerned about sexually transmissible infections, it can help to have a bit more information about individual infections. Knowing how an infection will behave can arm you with useful information when deciding how to take the appropriate action for your health.

You can find lots of information on the Better2Know website on the most common sexually transmitted infections:

Ask about treatment options if a positive result is received

If you test positive for an STD, the most important thing is not to panic. If you have a bacterial infection like Chlamydia or Gonorrhoea, you will likely be prescribed a small amount of antibiotics. Treatment for these infections can be completed in a few days.

If you test positive for infections like HIV or Hepatitis B, your doctor will refer you to a specialist for further effective treatment.

You don't need a doctor to get an STD test

If you’re still struggling with the idea of going to the doctor, the good news is that you don’t need to see a doctor to get tested for an STD.

With Better2Know, you can get tested for a range of infections without needing to make a doctor’s appointment. Click “Clinics” at the top of this page and choose a sexual health clinic near you based on your town or post code. You can then choose an STD test or screen that will meet your needs. From there, simply show up at your chosen clinic for your scheduled appointment. A nurse will guide you through the testing process.

Final thoughts

Shame and stigma should never keep anyone from getting the healthcare they need. But if you’re struggling to see a doctor about STDs, Better2Know can help you with a sexual health service that puts your confidentiality first. Get reliable STI testing at one of our many Australia sexual health clinics and book your appointment today.

Want more information? Call the number at the top of this page to speak to one of Better2Know’s trained Sexual Health Advisors. They can discuss your situation with you and help you determine a course of action that will help you secure your sexual health for today and into the future.


Mike has been delivering world class Sexually Transmitted Infections testing services to Better2Know patients around the world for over ten years. He has written extensively on the subject, including numerous blogs for Better2Know which are designed to demystify the complex intricacies of sexual health testing. Mike wants to help his readers understand the risks they take in their daily sexual lives and provide the information they need when choosing an STI or STD test in a clear, concise and understandable way. Mike is particularly interested in writing about viral STIs like HIV and Hepatitis, as these infections can have a devastating impact on people’s lives if they are not diagnosed quickly. Only through being well informed can you best care for your health, and Mike is passionate about sharing his knowledge and experience to help you and all his readers lead a happier, healthier life.