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While it can be an intimidating experience, we have some pointers to help put your nerves at ease.

If you’re sexually active, then you may have already made a trip or two to the doctors to get tested for sexually transmitted infections. If you’re new to sex, or you’ve put off this essential medical checkup out of fear or anxiety, then it’s time to plan your first visit. While it can be an intimidating experience, we have some pointers to help put your nerves at ease.

First, you’ll have to find a doctor you’re comfortable with, in Australia we are lucky that we can access STI tests through our local general practitioner doctor (GP) which are covered by Medicare. A lot of the world don’t have this luxury, so you should utilize it. There are several government resources that can help you find the information and narrow down your questions to ask your GP. Lastly, if you have friends who get tested for sexual infections, ask them about their experiences.

Having a companion on your first trip to the doctor can make the process a lot easier. If you have a regular sex partner, make a date of it – knowing that you are both clean and healthy can sometimes bring you closer. Additionally, since you’ll both be there getting results, it will be easy to share any sexual health information you learn while at the clinic. If you don’t have a regular sex partner or this doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, ask a close friend or family member to go with you.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to be calm and relaxed. Hopefully you’ll walk out of the office with the good news that you are clean. If you do have an STD, doctors will be on hand to give you advice and help guide to you treatment. Once everything is said and done, you can rest easy knowing that you won’t be infecting any of your partners – as long as you continue to practice safe sex.

Finally, when you are finished with your check up, be sure to ask your doctor for certified information about your visit. This will come in handy if you pick up any new sexual partners down the road who want to know about your sexual history.