STD: Information for the General Public
How do I know what I might have?
Signs and symptoms
- I am feeling a burning sensation and/or a discharge when I go to the bathroom. Maybe you have chlamydia or gonorrhea.
- I have an unusual sore(s). If it's painless, maybe it's syphilis and if the sore(s) hurts, maybe it's chancroid or herpes.
- I have a weird rash. Maybe it's syphilis.
- I'm female and my abdomen really hurts. Maybe it's pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Places for STD testing and treatment in Wisconsin
The best way to know if something is wrong is to get a test for it. Many public clinics around the state can examine you for STDs and treat, as needed. Call the clinics before going to find out your options. Clinics in Wisconsin can:
- Offer expedited partner therapy (see below).
- Offer many free or low cost options to get tested and treated for STDs.
- Allow you and your sex partner to get tested together. This way you know you are alright before having sex with each other.
- Offer free condoms and some forms of birth control.
Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT)
If you had sex before you knew you had an STD, you may have given it to someone else. If you test positive for an STD, your partners should be treated as soon as possible. Treatment helps prevent you and others from infection or re-infection. The best way is for the sex partner to get tested and/or treated. There are places in Wisconsin that can help with this, such as the places on this list. The testing and treatment may be free or low cost depending on the location.
However, there are times when getting tested and treated are not possible. This is where EPT can help. Your doctor can give you an EPT prescription for medicine for your partner. This is the same or similar medicine which you took to get rid of your own STD. By getting this EPT for your partner, the partner can take the medicine and get rid of any potential STD they may have. If you think EPT can help you, contact the person who helped you with your own testing and treatment about getting an EPT prescription for your partner.
What are Partner Services?
Sometimes people get a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and are unsure how to go forward. Partner Services helps people with their questions about STDs. Partner Services also helps with how to notify a person’s sexual partners making sure everything is confidential and that it centers on what the person needs to move forward.
The Wisconsin STD Control Section coordinates Partner Services for the state. Many services are provided by local health departments. The law requires that certain STDs are reported to the local health department or to Division of Public Health (DPH). The law also requires DPH and local health departments to follow-up on STDs which are reportable. This means someone may contact you about your recent STD infection.
Who can receive Partner Services?
Anyone who tests positive for a state reportable STD can receive Partner Services at no cost to them.
What services are provided by Partner Services staff?
Health department staff contact people and request to either meet in person or talk on the phone. Everything talked about is, by law, CONFIDENTIAL. The Partner Services staff:
- Helps with the needs of a person who has tested positive for an STD including the need for more testing or treatment.
- Discusses what the STD is and how it affects them now and in the future.
- Comes up with a plan to contact partners. Note: when partners are contacted by the Partner Services staff, none of the information about the original person is discussed. It is as if the conversation never happened.
- Ensures that partners are also tested and/or treated correctly according to the latest guidelines.
- Talk with the person about risks and how they can possibly be reduced in the future.
How can I get more information about Partner Services?
If you have an STD, or have been contacted by someone and told that you may have an STD, you can contact a Partner Services provider on this Wisconsin STD Program staff list.
If you would like to have more information on sexually transmitted diseases, check out the following fact sheets from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (available in English and Spanish):