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Public service announcement: You don’t have to choose between your sexual health and paying your rent, your gym membership, or, heck, even your morning coffee.
How Long Should You Wait To Get Tested For Stds
There are many cheap and easy ways to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – no matter where you live. And that means there is no financial reason not to get tested. And routine!
Access Your Test Results
Below, we break down how often you should be tested and what the test entails, plus some of the best free and low-cost testing locations in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Although all STIs can be treated or treated with drugs, you can’t get the drugs if you don’t know you need them. Logic!
STI rates continue to rise According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infection rates (per 1,000 people) of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia are at an all-time high. According to Alarms.org, which pulls data from the CDC and ranks them all for us, states with the highest number of reported STI cases include:AlaskaLouisianaMississippiSouth CarolinaNew Mexico
Some insurance plans, including Medicare, and certain government programs may cover some or all of the cost. In some areas, you can find 100 percent free STI testing.
Sti Testing Information
The good news: Whether you’re rolling in dough or broke AF, there’s a way for you to access STI testing you can afford. *Sigh.*
If you need a free or cheaper test option, you can find tests for around $40.00. As a general rule, for people with low incomes or no insurance, your local Planned Parenthood, health clinic, and mobile testing clinic will be cheaper than OB-GYN or urgent care.
At-home STI testing, while convenient and more accessible for people without access to transportation, is generally more expensive. While you can usually find kits that test one or two STIs for under $80.00, a full panel kit will run you at least $150.00.
That all sexually active women under the age of 25, women over 25 years old with new or multiple sex partners, and sexually active bisexual men are tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea at least once a year.
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But health expert Sherry A. Ross, MD, author of “She-ology” and “She-ology, the She-quel,” says these guidelines are considered outdated by most healthcare professionals.
“Folks of all genders and sexual orientation should be tested once a year, after unprotected sex, or between new partners – whichever comes first,” he said.
This is a good idea to test whenever you have sex without a barrier – or put a barrier in place after your genitals have been grazed, smashed, or pressed together! — and someone who has an STI or whose STI status you don’t know.
The same applies if a condom or dental dam split or slipped off during anal, oral, or vaginal sex, or you realize after you boned that the barrier has a hole.
Test And Protect
You and your partner should each be tested before going without a hitch or accidentally shifting body juices (aka fluid bonds).
“You should also get tested if you think your partner is cheating on you,” adds Kecia Gaither, MD, double board certified in OB-GYN and maternal-fetal medicine, and director of perinatal services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln.
And eventually become detectable in the STI test. This time frame is not the only time window a given STI can be tested on.
What STIs you get tested for and where in your body your doctor or other healthcare professional (HCP) tests depends on things like:
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Remember: Your doctor is here to help you live your healthiest life, not to judge you. (If they do, it’s time to drop them and get a new one.)
A doctor or other HCP can test for these by taking a blood sample from your finger or arm:
You must sign a consent form to be tested for HIV. And to be tested for herpes you have to ask explicitly. Most HCPs will not test for it otherwise. Urine test
Doctors or other HCPs may swab the penis, vulva, urethra, cervix, and vagina to remove or sample cells for testing:
Covid 19 Testing
If you have a vagina, this process usually involves placing a speculum inside your vagina (with the help of lube!) and inserting a long Q-tip inside. It takes about 60 seconds, tops.
It is possible to have an STI infection from the throat, mouth, lips, and tongue. Doctors or other HCPs may swab these areas to test:
A doctor or other HCP may perform these tests by inserting a long Q-tip into your anus to collect a sample of cells:
If you have pain, boils, lumps, or lesions anywhere on your body, your doctor or other HCP may swab the area and test for:
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Generally, the doctor will wait until they receive the results of all the STI tests that have been done to call you.
If you still haven’t heard back after a week, don’t assume the test(s) are negative. Give them a ring to learn your results.
Congratulations! You have made the decision to take control of your health and learn your current STI status. But where the heck should you go to get tested if you’re on a budget or don’t have health insurance?
Thanks to federal and state funding, most city and county health departments are able to offer free or low-cost STI testing.
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Want to know which STI they test for before you go? Find your local health department here
The best part? Planned Parenthood clinics receive some government funding and base their fees on a sliding scale, meaning what you pay depends on your personal income, demographic factors, and availability of assistance.
Find the Planned Parenthood closest to you by entering your ZIP code, city, or state in the search bar at this link.
Have you ever seen posters and signs for your local LGBTQIA+ or religious organizations and programs around town? Well, guess what – many of these non-profit organizations run local health clinics that provide STI testing.
Covid 19 Rapid Testing
What STI tests are available vary from city to city and clinic to clinic, but most will test (at a minimum) for:
Oh, and because these clinics usually get money from federal grants, donations, and fundraisers, the tests are completely free, or available at a lower cost.
To find one near you, try Googling “sexual health clinic near me” or “[insert your city here] STI testing clinic.”
Mobile clinics are souped-up vans that travel through rural and urban areas to offer high-quality healthcare at a lower cost. STI testing and treatment is one of the (many!) services they usually offer.
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Traveling across the United States at any time. To find one near you, search the Mobile Health Map.
Occurs in young people aged 15 to 24, most universities and colleges provide free or low-cost STI tests to their students. (In case you were wondering: The
To find your local LGBTQIA+ center, check out this CenterLink LGBT Community Center Member Directory. Enter your location, find your nearest community center, and call them for information about STI testing.
Not in a big city? Gaither recommends finding an LGBTQIA+ friendly testing center through one of the following methods:
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This is a great option for people who want to get tested NOW. STI testing may be a major bottleneck at your local walk-in clinic, but they almost always offer it.
There are several direct-to-consumer companies — such as LetsGetChecked, STD Check, and Nurx — that offer STI tests that you can take from the privacy of your own home.
While this kit is usually more expensive than the other testing options on the list, it’s a great option for people who don’t have access to (or won’t go, for whatever reason) an IRL provider.
Learn more about the different types of equipment available, including how much they cost, how samples are collected, and how treatments are administered.
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Avoid crisis pregnancy centers When looking for a place to get tested, you’ll want to avoid crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs). This non-profit organization ignores existing medical standards in sexual and reproductive health and aims to protect individuals who may become pregnant from access to abortion. While some CPCs do tests for STIs, very, very few actually offer treatment for a positive diagnosis. Make sure that the clinic you go to for testing is not a CPC by entering the location into the Crisis Pregnancy Center Map.
There are many online STI clinic finders that you can use to find low-cost or free testing locations near you.
Or scroll down for our roundup, where we’ve identified an STI testing location in the top, middle, and bottom regions of each state.
That means you can get negative results across the board. Or you may test positive for one (or more) STIs.
Covid 19 Testing Information
Untreated gonorrhea and chlamydia, for example, can increase your chances of contracting HIV if you have them
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