Know Before You Go

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Going to a healthcare provider can be confusing and overwhelming. Learn about your rights and how to have the best experience possible. The following provides you with information about your rights to access healthcare, how to prepare, and what to expect after your appointment.


Your Rights

What is a minor?
Generally, a minor is any person under the age of 18 years old.

Do minors need a parent or guardian’s consent to be tested and treated for STIs?

  • In Missouri, parental consent for any surgical, medical, or other treatment or procedure related to pregnancy, STIs, and drug/alcohol abuse.
  • In Missouri, parental consent is not needed for:
  • Family Planning and Contraceptives (Birth Control)
  • Emergency Contraception (Plan B)
  • Pregnancy Testing, Pregnancy Related Care, Prenatal Care, and Childbirth
  • STI Testing and Treatment
  • HIV Testing and Treatment
  • Forensic Medical Examination (in the case of sexual abuse, sexual assault, forcible rape, or incest).

When do minors require parent or guardian’s consent?
In Missouri, most minors require parent or guardian’s consent for:

  • Abortion Services
  • Routine Medical Care

When are there exceptions to parent or guardian’s consent?
In Missouri, some minors can consent to any medical treatment if they:

  • Are or have ever been married
  • Are parents (for both their own care and their children’s care)
  • Are members of the armed forces
  • Are homeless, 16 years or older, and living without the physical or financial support of a parent or guardian
  • Are victims of domestic violence, 16 years or older, and living without the physical or financial support of a parent or guardian.

Before Your Appointment

Why should I get tested?

  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are very common. Every year there are more than 19 million new cases of STIs in the U.S. By age 25, about half of all sexually active young people will get an STI.
  • Many STIs often show no symptoms. The only way to know if you or anyone else has an STI is to get tested. Individuals often pass STIs to partners because they were unaware.
  • If left untreated, some STIs can
  • Increase your risk of not being able to have children,
  • Increase your risk of getting cancer, and
  • Increase your risk of getting HIV and other STIs

Where can I get tested?

  • Testing can be offered at your primary care provider or clinic.
  • Getting an appointment with a primary care provider or clinic can be a task, so specialty clinics, health centers, and community based testing sites exist. Find one closest to you at our Testing and Treatment Centers app.

What do I need to do once I find a testing site?

  • Ask if they accept walk-ins or require an appointment.
  • Ask if there is any specific documentation needed.
  • Ask about any associated cost. Costs can vary from health center to health center. Some may even be FREE.
  • Ask if insurance is required. It often is not, but, if you have insurance, you can choose to use it or not.
  • Ask about testing procedures:
    • Full exam by a provider or/and risk counseling and sample collection.
    • Urine vs. swab collection for penile and urethral (“pee hole”) testing.
    • Availability of Triple Screening (oral, anal, urethral) for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia.
    • Availability of rapid tests for HIV and pregnancy and how long it takes for results to come back.

What should I expect from medical providers?
Medical providers will ask questions regarding:

  • Reason for visit
  • Any medications
  • Any allergies
  • Any symptoms
  • Sexual history, including number of partners, history of pregnancy, HIV/STI, sexual orientation, and age of first sexual encounter

How does the medical provider know what to test for?

  • Medical providers know what to test for based largely on what you report. So it’s really important to be open and honest about your sexual history. The medical provider is there to help you make important decisions about the test(s) you may need.
  • Based on this sexual history, you may have one or any combination of the following:
    • Physical exam: Medical provider examines your body for signs of infection.
    • Urine sample: You may have to pee in a cup at the clinic or testing site.
    • Discharge, tissue, or cell sample from the throat, rectum, vagina, or penis: Medical provider will use a swab to collect  a sample to look at it under a microscope or send off to an outside laboratory.
    • Blood sample: Medical provider may take a blood sample with a needle or by pricking the skin to draw blood drops.

How will my medical information be kept confidential?

  • Ask to see the HIPPA Privacy Statement
  • Remember that if you are under 18, consent from parent or guardian is not required and your medical information cannot be released without expressed consent.
  • Insurance companies will be aware of any tests conducted if insurance is used.

After Your Appointment

How long before I get my results?
Waiting for results can be stressful! You may get some results right away while other results may need to be sent to a lab for testing. Be prepared to wait a couple days for results if necessary.

What if I don’t hear back from my provider; does that mean everything is negative?
Don’t assume that your tests were negative because you haven’t heard back yet. Make sure you follow-up with your medical provider if you have to wait on results.

What if the result is positive, what next?
If you test positive for an STI, get treatment right away! Remember, all STIs are treatable and many are curable.

  • There are different treatments for different STIs. Talk with your medical provider about the best treatment options for you.
  • It is important that you follow the treatment recommended by your medical provider completely. Always continue your medication until it is finished, even if your symptoms have gone away.
  • Be sure to talk to your partner about getting tested and treatment before resuming sexual activity. For tips on how to tell your partner, see the Get Empowered section of the website.
  • When a person is diagnosed with certain STIs, your medical provider must inform the health department. Health departments are there to help you and other people achieve the highest quality of health possible. A representative may contact you to see if any additional support is needed.

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