Mar 19, 2010
So as we recommend in our forums, you should be seen if you have any symptoms, not just post on the board. If you suspect you have genital herpes, the sooner you are seen , the better chance you have of getting a proper diagnosis and accurate lesion culture for herpes. So what sort of doctor should you see?
Your regular provider is the best place to start. A general practitioner or internal medicine provider typically are the easiest to get in to see. It certainly doesn't take a specialist to look at your genital area and swab a lesion! They should be doing a full exam on you and if you are female, testing your vaginal secretions for yeast and bacterial infections too while you are there. Also regardless of gender, discuss the need for further std testing and make arrangements for it all to be done at the appropriate time ( chlamydia and gonorrhea 1 week post encounter, syphilis 6 weeks, hiv and herpes 3 months post encounter ). A gyn is also acceptable for a female as long as you can get in to be seen in a timely manner. also for both genders, if you are having symptoms while urinating, testing your urine while there is also needed.
If you don't have a regular doctor or you are embarrassed to go to them for these sorts of issues, look in the phone book for your local health department std clinic ( if you are in the US - gum clinic if in the UK ), planned parenthood or private std clinic. Let them know that you suspect herpes and need seen within 48 hours. There are also many "doc in a box" type clinics around - acute care walk in clinics in malls and super markets that are relatively low cost and should be able to do your initial work up for you.
What about the ER? well I RARELY recommend being seen in the ER for anything std related or genital. First off ER's are for emergencies - broken arms, heart attacks, strokes etc. They aren't meant for routine medical care. Unless you are having problems passing your urine due to herpes, you really can wait until the next day to be seen elsewhere. Depending on the type of ER nearest you, it could be a trauma surgeon or orthopedic surgeon seeing you and trust me, they might've learned about the genitals and std's in med school but you don't want them in charge of your reproductive system! do yourself a favor and get a proper work up done at a clinic where they deal with std's more often.
what about a dermatologist or an infectious disease specialist? Not the first specialties to be consulted for herpes by no means. If you've had negative lesion cultures and negative blood tests and still have symptoms in the genital area, then a dermatologist is a good consult. unless you have hiv too, the infectious disease specialist is not worth your time and money either.
Can a PA or NP do your work up? Of course they can! Both are trained well and are terrific at doing initial work ups. typically they have more time to spend with you than the MD or DO to boot :)