You can obtain an STD test at your physician’s office, a health clinic, your local Planned Parenthood, or online from companies like Nurx™. Depending on where you go, your insurance may cover your STD testing, though standard copays and deductible rates may apply. Even if you don’t have health insurance, you may be able to acquire free or low-cost testing through government programs or at a local health care clinic that offers low-cost services for those with lower income.
If obtaining a test from a health care professional, you will typically need to schedule an appointment, though some clinics may offer walk-in testing. The health care professional will discuss your health history before obtaining testing samples. They may ask questions such as:
- What symptoms are you having?
- Have you or your partner had an STD previously?
- How many sexual partners have you had?
- What forms of STD or pregnancy protection do you use?
These questions will help your health care provider determine what STDs to test for. It’s always best to be completely honest about your sexual history and concerns so you can get the services that you need.
Your local health care provider will test you for STDs by taking one or more of the following:
- A blood sample
- A mouth swab
- A urine sample
- A swab of the genitals, discharge, or sores
Tests will be analyzed, either in the office or at a lab. If your tests are sent to a lab, you may have to wait several days for the results. Your health care provider will typically contact you by phone to discuss the results.
You can test for many STDs right from the privacy of your own home through online health care services such as Nurx. Nurx offers three home test kits that cover different STDs. Your options include:
- Full Control Kit: This tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea in the throat, rectum, and urine, as well as syphilis, hepatitis C, and HIV.
- Basics Covered Kit: This kit tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea in the urine only, as well as syphilis and HIV.
- Healthy Women’s Kit: This tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea in the throat and urine, as well as syphilis, HIV, and trichomoniasis.
Home tests are often covered for a low-cost by insurance or for a reasonable flat fee if you don’t have health care coverage. The cost includes the testing kit, lab results, and the cost to ship your specimen to them.
At-home testing with Nurx is simple. You just need to:
- Answer a few questions about your health history online or via the Nurx app.
- Select your home test kit from the options detailed above.
- Receive your test kit in the mail.
- Follow the detailed instructions in your test kit to prepare your samples. This only takes about 15 minutes.
- Place your samples in the prepaid envelope provided and send them back.
- Receive your results within seven days.
When your testing is complete, it will be followed up with a medical consultation with your Nurx provider. If your tests are negative, you shouldn’t need further testing for three to 12 months.
What to Do With Your Test Results
If you have your STD testing performed in person, your health care provider can give you necessary medications should you test positive for an STD.
If you use at-home testing with Nurx, you’ll receive counseling from your provider about the next steps. If you tested positive for any of the STDs in your test kit, our providers may be able to prescribe medications for you. In some cases, you may need to contact your local health care provider for treatment.
If you test negative with either an at-home or in-person test but continue to have symptoms, you should speak to your local health care provider. Though unlikely, you may have received a false negative and require further testing. You may also have a condition that mimics an STD, such as a yeast infection, that requires treatment.
When to Get an STD Test
Anyone who is sexually active should consider routine STD testing. If you’ve had unprotected sex with someone and you’re not sure about their STD status, you may want to get an STD test soon. Otherwise, it’s generally recommended that you get tested once a year.
Some STDs have few or no symptoms. However, there are also some indicators that you may have contracted an STD. Common STD symptoms include:
- Bumps or sores around the genital area
- Unusual discharge from the penis or vagina
- Pain or itching in the genital area
- A burning sensation when you urinate
- Flu-like symptoms such as fever, swollen glands, and body aches
These symptoms may also be related to a yeast infection, UTI, or other condition. However, the only way to know for sure is to visit your local health care provider or take an at-home test to rule out STDs.
STD Testing Resources
If you’re looking for local STD testing resources, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains an easy search page that will help you find providers in your area. You can also search for free or low-cost condoms in your area using this site to help you better protect yourself against STDs.
Understanding and utilizing STD testing will help you protect your health as effectively as possible. If you’re interested in testing yourself for common STDs, you can get started quickly by requesting a test kit from Nurx.