ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DOCTORS
(and a bit more you might be curious about)
Regardless of what kind of doctor you are seeing it is important to be prepared for your appointment and to have questions ready that you want to talk to your doctor about. To get an idea of what questions you might ask your doctor click here: http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/questions-doctor.html?WT.ac=t-ra
You can talk to your doctor about anything, and it is especially important to talk to your primary care doctor or a gynecologist if you have any of the following questions about your sexual health:
- What is the best birth control method for me?
- Are there side effects?
- Which methods are most private?
- How long does the birth control last?
- How do I protect myself from STDs?
- Can I get tested for STDs?
- How much will it cost?
- Is the birth control effective immediately?
Teens often have a lot of questions and concerns about seeing a doctor like: “Will my parents know what we talked about?” or “How do I talk to my doctor about sex?” For answers to these questions and other common concerns click here (https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/teen/Pages/Information-for-Teens-What-You-Need-to-Know-About-Privacy.aspx)
There are several clinics and doctors in the St. Louis area that work to provide teen-friendly health services. To find these and other medical resources click the search the directory button to find a doctor near you.
FINDING AND SEEING A DOCTOR
As a teenager your body is going through lots of changes, you are making big decisions about your health and your sexual health and you might have medical questions or concerns. It is important to talk to your doctor about your health and your body to get accurate information that is relevant to you. When talking to your doctor it is important to be completely honest with them so they can help you in the best way possible and get you the referrals and resources you need.
You can see a doctor for pretty much anything, and often the best place to start is a primary care doctor. This type of doctor will see patients with a variety of new problems when the patient is not sure what is going on. A primary care doctor will do an initial evaluation, help you if they can or they will make a referral to another doctor, often a specialist, who can help with the specific problem, health concern, or question that you have.
Here are two examples of types of doctors that teens might see:
- A psychologist or psychiatrist: a primary care doctor might refer to these doctors for mental health concerns.
- A gynecologist: this is a doctor who specializes in women’s health. They often provide well-woman exams which are a yearly screening to make sure your body is healthy. Most gynecologists will also do STD testing, and will talk to you about pregnancy prevention options that work with your needs. Right now there is no equivalent for males so teenage boys and young men should talk to their primary care doctor about sexual health topics including condom use and STD testing.
Why? Because we are at the center of the epidemic, and half of all new HIV infections happen to folks under the age of 25. I decided that if I could shed some light on getting tested and encourage other young people to do the same, then I would help create safer sexual experiences.
Here’s how I made a date with an HIV test.