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Where Can I Get an STD Test?

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Updated June 09, 2014

Female doctor writing in file while talking with patient in clinic
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Question: Where Can I Get an STD Test?
Sometimes people know that they should go get an STD test but have no idea where to turn. 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, which is 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 and the one most likely to be paid for by any health insurance you may have - although some companies will not cover routine STD testing.
     
  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, and they often offer it 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, and 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, so be sure to ask what information they need when you call to make the appointment.
     
  4. Visit the CDC's HIVTest.org website to find a testing site near you. Many of the sites listed can also do general STD testing - not simply test for HIV.
     
  5. 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 - for people of all sexualities.
     
  6. Check out one of the online testing companies that allow you to pay for testing online and then mail in samples or go to a local lab to have the 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 find a place to go for STD testing - whether you need it 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

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