Where Can I Get Tested for STDs?

Female doctor writing in file while talking with patient in clinic
Hero Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Question: Where should I go to get tested for STDs?

Sometimes people know that they should go get an STD test but have no idea how to get tested for STDs. Other times, someone will go to their doctor to request a straightforward STD test, only to be told that the test they want doesn't exist.

Arranging for an STD test isn't always easy. That's why it's a good idea to know your STD testing options. If you want to get screened for STDs, here are a few good ways to find the tests you need.

Answer:

  1. Go to your doctor and ask to be screened for STDs. This is probably the easiest option. It's also the STD testing option most likely to be paid for by any health insurance you may have . However, some companies will not cover routine STD testing. Fortunately, those companies are becoming much less common. 
     
  2. Call your local health department, or go to their website, and ask for the location of the nearest STD clinic. STD clinics are set up for STD testing. Even better, they often offer std testing either for free or at very low charge.
     
  3. Make an appointment at Planned Parenthood. It doesn't matter if you are a man or a woman. Planned Parenthood will be able to test you for STDs. In addition, their fees are set on a sliding scale depending on your income. To qualify for the sliding scale you will need to bring proof of income. Therefore, if you're looking to save some money on testing, be sure to ask what information they need when you call to make the appointment.
     
  1. Visit the CDC's HIVTest.org website. It's a simple way to find a testing site anywhere in the United States. Don't let the name fool you. Many of the sites listed can also do general STD testing - not simply test for HIV. However, you should definitely get tested for HIV while you're there. 
     
  2. Consider calling your local Gay and Lesbian Health Center. If you live near a city that has one, GLBT health centers often offer streamlined STD testing days. Those tests are generally available for people of all sexualities. You don't have to be gay or lesbian to get tested. You just have to be willing to access services at a GLBT center. 
     
  1. Check out one of the online testing companies. These companies allow you to pay for testing online and then mail in samples. Others send you to a  local lab to have the STD tests done. These sites are not universally reliable - as was revealed by a research study published online in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections - but they may be a good option for those who are unwilling or unable to get tested in any other way.
     

With just a little legwork, it should be easy to figure out where to get STD testing. The important thing is to make certain you go. That's true whether you need testing  because of a known exposure or simply because you want to be prepared.

Sources
Owens et al. (2009) "Utilizing The Internet To Test For Sexually Transmitted Infections: Results of a Survey and Accuracy Testing." Sexually Transmitted Infections Online First. Accessed Online 2/15/10

Continue Reading