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May 10, 2011 2:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm a minor. I have red flat spots on my testicles that I'd like to get checked. Do I get doctor-patient confidentiality in Florida?

On Saturday I noticed red flat spots on my testicles. They go away for a while when I take a shower. They don't itch or hurt. Our house has been home to a few bugs recently, and after I washed my sheets with hot water and started wearing tighter underwear to bed, the spots have started to fade (I'm hoping that's the source of the problem). Regardless, I'd still like to get this checked out by my family doctor, or any other if available.

What I'm afraid of is that my parents will find out I'm 'sexually active'. They are extremely conservative, and definitely would not be understanding in such a matter. I've only had two partners; one was more than a year ago, and my current one and I haven't had any sexual contact in over a month -- I'm also her first. I highly doubt this is the source of my problem but I'm unsure if the doctor will ask about it. If he does, I would like to answer honestly but I would also like to make sure this doesn't reach my parents.

I'm fifteen years old living in the state of Florida (UCF-Valencia Community College area, if there are any resources I can take advantage of). Will I have doctor-patient confidentiality? My partner is the same age as I am, if that makes a difference. Any insight into what my problem might be would be nice too, though I know you are not a professional, nor did I really actually give too much detail (partly on purpose and partly because there isn't much to give).
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Your local Planned Parenthood has a Men's Health service. Here are the details. Services there will be confidential and will not involve the potentially complicating factor of an insurance claim. Fees are on a sliding scale.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:26 PM on May 10, 2011 [16 favorites]

IANAL, but unless the doctor suspects abuse, I think you're OK on the confidentiality side. However, your parents will probably have access to their insurance claims.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:27 PM on May 10, 2011

If you're anywhere remotely near a city in Florida, go to Planned Parenthood. Unless you're getting an abortion (unlikely for you), your parents do not have to be notified of anything. Bring cash and don't charge insurance if you're feeling especially paranoid.

They take confidentiality very, very seriously.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 2:29 PM on May 10, 2011 [10 favorites]

It sounds like it might be jock itch. You could treat for that for a week or so and see if it goes away before making any special trip.
posted by procrastination at 2:41 PM on May 10, 2011

Thirding Planned Parenthood, which understands very well the wide range of negative consequences some people would face if family members/spouses/others learned what they were seeking medical care for, or that they were seeking medical care at all. Planned Parenthood is never going to rat you out to anyone.
posted by Ashley801 at 2:43 PM on May 10, 2011 [7 favorites]

there's a pretty decent chance they're not an STD, so try not to worry too hard before getting it checked out. it could just be angiokeratoma of fordyce.
posted by patricking at 2:45 PM on May 10, 2011

I'll fourth or fifth Planned Parenthood. There's one on University, between Rouse and Alafaya.
posted by ThatSomething at 3:35 PM on May 10, 2011 [3 favorites]

Yep, Planned Parenthood is what I popped in here to say; they helped me and my high school sweetie a hundred years ago, the only place we knew of who'd help with birth control for a couple of kids. No questions asked, really -- they wanted to help. A great organization.
posted by dancestoblue at 4:03 PM on May 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

also came in here to recommend Planned Parenthood. It might not be the first place one thinks about when it comes to these matters for men, but they're good and will keep things confidential. And I've found they are staffed by some of the most caring people in the healthcare field.
posted by cmgonzalez at 4:12 PM on May 10, 2011 [3 favorites]

nthing planned parenthood, for men too. They are stone-faced about patient confidentiality. I carry my niece there and if I can't go and I want to pay (like over the phone), she has to initiate the call to me so they can collect my credit card #. Like if I were to call there and say, "Hi I want to pay for little Susie Jean's visit," they'd say "Who's little Susie Jean?" just before hanging up on me, with her standing right there in front of them.
posted by toodleydoodley at 5:09 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you want to go to a doctor because you think you may have an STD, you do not need parental consent to get treated in any state if you are a minor (the age varies from state to state from allowing this, but you are over 14, so you are good in FL as far as that is concerned). But if you do have an STD, your partner will have to come in and get tested.

confidentiality of your medical records as far as keeping your parents from seeing them is not a given. Seems like it can fall under a provision where the provider can tell them if he/she feels it is in the patient's best interests, which is a murky distinction at best.

So I'd agree that Planned Parenthood is your best bet.

And, for what it is worth, your symptoms don't seem to indicate an STD to me, either.
posted by misha at 5:23 PM on May 10, 2011

From the OP:
"Exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much guys.

When I walk in, what should I expect? What should I say? How much should I expect to pay without insurance?"
posted by jessamyn at 5:31 PM on May 10, 2011

Expect it to be a doctors office, expect them to treat you professionally, expect to fill out a ton of forms (standard expectation is to arrive 15 minutes early so you can fill forms), expect there to be more females than men. You may be the only male in the room, but this is not a reason to feel embarassed. It just means females are more aware of their services than males. Whether your doctor is male or female, you can tell and show these people *anything*. They have heard & seen it all & will treat you right.

As with all doctors offices, bring a book & be prepared to hang around a before they get around to calling you. YOU need to be punctual; doctors are always ridiculously late, so leave your post-visit schedule open by a couple of hours. As for payment, it is entirely reasonable to ask about pricing over the phone when you are making your appointment. They should be able to give you baseline information about how much different services cost, although mileage will vary depending on what they end up checking.
posted by Ys at 6:02 PM on May 10, 2011 [4 favorites]

As for what to say, my last conversation with my local PP, about two weeks ago, started with "do you see men?" (Granted I was not asking for me). About all the detail I gave the receptionist was "something's not right down there." She may ask for more, but mine didn't. They're going to want your age as a matter of course, and your insurance situation is best described as "I'm paying for myself," aka "self-pay".
posted by Ys at 6:23 PM on May 10, 2011

I've generally paid around $30 there for a routine gynecologist visit, YMMV.
posted by Ashley801 at 9:40 PM on May 10, 2011

Not all Planned Parenthood clinics are sliding scale, so if that's important to you be sure to ask if this one is when you make your appointment, and double check with them what pieces of paper you should bring to prove your income. If you say you're fifteen, they may be completely willing to trust your self-reported income, or lack thereof.
posted by soviet sleepover at 9:49 PM on May 10, 2011

I would call and book an appointment ahead of time. They may have open clinic hours but they are more likely to work on an appointment basis. They will ask what you want to book in for and you can say that you have a rash - that should be sufficient. When you call, get the appointment and then ask what the fee is and if there is a sliding scale. $30 sounds right to me.

While it is entirely possible that yes, this is jock itch, I would urge you not to just treat it with over-the-counter meds and hope it goes away. I cannot tell you how heartily I applaud the fact that you are taking responsibility for and looking after your sexual health. That is a strong, strong signal that someone has the maturity to manage their own sexual choices. You should absolutely make and follow through with this appointment because if you are sexually active, you need information, screening and healthcare for all that goes with it. For millions of teens and adults, the place that happens is PP.

Some more resources for you: the Sexual Readiness Checklist; STI Risk Assessment. The fact that one or both of you had never had intercourse before does not mean you do not have an STI risk. Like other sexually active people, you need to make sure you have the right resources for the choices you make, and that means (in part) good sexual healthcare.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:24 AM on May 11, 2011

It looks like this branch of Planned Parenthood may be closest to you, but you can search their site if you believe there may be one nearer. They do walk-in and scheduled appointments. They take cash, checks, and credit/debit cards. They are open until 6 during the week and have Saturday hours as well.

Here are the walk-in appointment hours (scheduled appointments have a greater range of hours):

Monday, Thursday and Friday
8:30am-1:00pm and 2:00pm-5:30pm



This page relates to men's health services at the Westside Clinic.
posted by amicamentis at 5:33 AM on May 11, 2011

(the link to men's health services is in the list to the right).

As to what to say when you get there, there is likely to be a receptionist. If you are a walk-in, tell them that you are a walk-in and would like to have a check-up. If you have an appointment, tell them that you have an appointment for X time. Either way, you will probably be given a clipboard with a ton of questions to fill out about your physical/sexual health.

They take confidentiality very seriously.
posted by amicamentis at 5:36 AM on May 11, 2011

In the UK we have Brook Advisory Services, a walk-in clinic that's designed just for this purpose - so that under-25s, and particularly under-16s, can get confidential advice and treatment. They have a strong confidentiality policy. If Planned Parenthood is a similar organization, then you have no need to worry.
posted by mippy at 6:36 AM on May 11, 2011

On the chance that you've got jock itch, and it proves difficult to get rid of, feel free to email me. I had an extreme case when I was 17, and managed to find my own effective treatment where the doctors were all full of fail.
posted by Goofyy at 3:51 AM on May 13, 2011

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