Uh Oh: What to Do If You Think You've Been Exposed to STI?

Let's face it- sometimes, even the most careful plans go awry. Maybe you had unprotected sex with a new partner. If the thought of a potential STI has you breaking into a sweat, don't panic. Let's find out.

Johanitha Moraes
New Update

Photo taken from Canva Stock Images

Let's face it- sometimes, even the most careful plans go awry. Maybe you had unprotected sex with a new partner, or perhaps you're worried about sharing a drink with someone who has a cold sore. If the thought of a potential STI has you breaking into a sweat, don't panic! Here's a guide on what to do next, so you can navigate this situation calmly and take control of your health.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms

First things first, let's talk symptoms. STIs can manifest differently in everyone, but some common signs to watch out for include:

  • Unusual discharge: Changes in vaginal discharge (color, consistency, odor) or unusual discharge from the penis can be a red flag.
  • Painful urination: Burning or stinging during urination is a potential indicator of an STI.
  • Genital sores: The appearance of bumps, blisters, or ulcers in the genital area is a cause for concern.
  • Pelvic pain: Lower abdominal pain can be a symptom of some STIs, especially in women.

Don't Wait and Wonder- Seeking Medical Attention

If you experience any of these symptoms, or simply have concerns about a potential exposure, don't delay! Here's why getting tested is crucial:

  • Early detection and treatment: Catching an STI early can prevent complications and the spread to others.
  • Peace of mind: Knowing your status can alleviate anxiety and allow you to make informed decisions about your health.

Where to Go and What to Expect:

There are multiple options for getting tested for STIs:

  • Your doctor: A visit to your primary care physician or gynecologist can provide testing and treatment.
  • Planned Parenthood or local health clinic: These clinics offer confidential and often free or low-cost testing.
  • At-home testing kits: While convenient, these kits may not test for all STIs and may require confirmation with a healthcare provider.
Photo taken from Canva Stock Images


Preparing for Your Appointment:

Here's how to ensure a smooth and informative visit:

  • Be honest with your doctor: Open communication is key. Discuss your concerns and any potential risk factors. Consult our Gytree experts if you suspect any STI exposure. 
  • Ask questions: Don't hesitate to ask questions about testing, treatment options, and prevention.
  • Consider your partner(s): If you test positive, informing your partner(s) is crucial for their health and to prevent further transmission.

Remember: Getting tested for STIs is not a judgment, it's a responsible way to take charge of your health. Most STIs are treatable, and early detection is key to preventing complications.


Here are some essential tips for preventing future STI exposure:

  • Practice safe sex: Always use condoms and dental dams during sexual activity.
  • Get vaccinated: Vaccinations are available for certain STIs like HPV and Hepatitis B.
  • Communication is key: Talk openly with your partner(s) about sexual health and STI testing.

By following these steps and prioritizing open communication, you can minimize your risk of STIs and maintain a healthy sex life. So, take a deep breath, get informed, and remember – you've got this!

STD exposure STD STI