STD Toolkit

Guidelines for Routine Evaluations

A patient's guide:
What to expect

MALE SEXUAL EXAM

"What to Expect"

  1. Your health care provider (doctor or nurse) will ask you some questions about your body, like if you've noticed any changes, and if you have sex. Remember, it's important to tell the truth - the provider will not tell anyone unless you give the OK.
  2. You will undress and may put on a robe or drape. You will probably be left alone in the room to change clothes.
  3. Your provider will perform an exam by looking and gently touching your private areas. He or she is looking for anything that feels or looks unusual. Your provider will probably teach you how to give yourself a testicular self-examination.*
  4. The provider will ask you to "turn your head and cough." The provider will hold their fingers against your groin as you cough to check for movement that is not normal.
  5. The provider might perform a rectal exam by looking at and putting or swab a finger into your rectum. This is usually done for older men or men who have sex with men.
  6. The provider may do tests for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) if you have sex. These tests might be done by taking blood, or asking you to pee in a cup or by inserting a very small cotton swab into the small hole at the tip of your penis.
  7. The provider will usually leave the room so you can change. If the results of the tests are normal you may not hear anything. If the results of the test are not normal, someone from your provider's office should contact you within a week.

*How to perform a testicular self-examination

FEMALE (PELVIC) EXAM

"What to Expect"

  1. The provider (doctor or nurse) will ask you questions about your period, sex, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). It's important to tell the truth when you answer - your provider will not share that information unless you give the OK.
  2. You will undress and put a robe or sheet on. You will probably be left alone in the room to change your clothes.
  3. You will lie on a table and your health care provider will feel your breasts for any lumps or things that are not regular. Your provider may also teach you how to do a breast self-exam at home.*
  4. You will put your feet in some straps that will help keep your legs apart, and your provider will perform an exam. There are usually 3 parts of the exam.

    • External Exam: The provider looks at the outside of your vagina for bumps or things that are not normal.

    • Speculum Exam: The provider uses a metal or plastic tool called a speculum to open your vagina to see your vagina and cervix (the opening to your uterus) and takes samples from inside your body. The Pap smear test checks for changes in the cervix. Samples of liquid from your vagina may be taken to check for illness and STDs.

    • Bimanual Exam: The provider will put one or two gloved fingers inside you and lightly push with the other hand from the outside on your lower belly. This is to check the size and position of your sex body parts inside of you. Sometimes the provider will also perform a rectal exam where they put a finger into your bottom.

  5. The provider will let you ask any questions and then leave the room so you can change. Most young women have normal Pap smears. If the results of the test are normal you may not hear anything. If the results of the tests are not normal, someone from your provider's office should contact you within a week.

*How to perform breast self-examination