Dr. Marrazzo practices Infectious Disease Medicine and Internal Medicine in Seattle, WA and explains how a woman should advocate for herself if she thinks she has an STD in her doctor's office.
The best way to advocate for yourself in a doctor’s office is ideally to have some education in hand when you go to the doctor’s office. I have to say that doctors traditionally have not been really focussed on STDs. The medical education and traditional sort of curricula in schools is not great for STDs, and it relates to the fact that the traditional medical system is not exactly comfortable talking about sex, period. Even though HIV has changed that somewhat, it is still very hard, I think, to change attitudes that are squeamish about sex or even advocating sexual health as opposed to disease.
So the most important thing is: 1) For you to feel comfortable talking about your needs because you have recognize it is fine to talk about sex with your doctor, and it is fine to talk about your concerns about STDs about doctors, and that is actually a huge step. 2) If you can add on to that some knowledge about STDs so that you can actually ask questions that are informed, that really is an excellent sort of two-pronged approach that hopefully most doctors and most providers will respond positively to.
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