Reviewed By: Dr. Kurt Kloss, MD
Last Reviewed Date: Aug 26, 2019
Last Modified Date: Aug 26, 2019
Published Date: Aug 25, 2019
Guide: What You Need To Know About STD / STI Testing and Treatment
When it comes to managing your sexual health, the big mistake you can make is not getting tested. Once you make the decision, choices can be confusing, even overwhelming, especially when you want quick answers. It is also natural to want to know what happens during an STD testing visit. Here we will answer common questions regarding the STD testing experience and explore the advantages and disadvantages of your testing options.
If you have insurance or not, there are a number of ways to get a sexual health screening.
1. Visit your physician - Many health insurance companies offer plans that cover the STD testing, often with a deductible.
2. Visit a free clinic - Public health departments and community health organizations offer free STD testing services.
3. Order confidential lab testing from a private company - You pay a discounted cash price for the latest generation STD testing offered conveniently through leading nationwide laboratory locations or a testing kit delivered to you.
What is the Difference Between and STI and STD?
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are bacterial or viral infections transferred through sexual contact (anal, vaginal or oral). You can have some STI infections for years and have no symptoms. When an infection begins to manifest symptoms it is considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Therefore, the term STD can be applied to both STIs and STDs.
Free vs. Private Pay STD Testing
Following is a comparison of private STD testing services, such as testing available from Health Testing Centers, versus free STD testing:
|Health Testing Centers||Free Clinic|
|• No discussing sexual behavior, history or symptoms; just provide sample.||• Meeting with a doctor and/or counselor, an uncomfortable discussion regarding your sexual history.|
|• Simple, quick lab visit. Appointments available but are not needed.||• Limited hours, often significant wait times.|
|• Results in 1-2 days.||• Results in 1-2 weeks|
|• 3,500 locations across the nation.||• Limited locations.|
|• Most locations open Monday through Saturday; from 7:30 a.m. - 4 or 5 p.m.||• Limited hours of operations, varies by facility.|
|• Doctor consultation included via phone for positive results.||• In-office Doctor consultation.|
|• Simple, quick blood or urine sample.||• More invasive swabbing may be required.|
|• Private test results via secure online account.||• Results delivered via a phone call.|
|• Labs provide all types of tests, so no one will know why you are there.||• Clinics typically test only for STDs.|
|• Inclusive affordable prices for individual tests and packages.||• Testing may only be available based on income and welfare eligibility. Prices may vary based on your eligibility.|
What You Need to Know About Free STD Testing Services?
Standard free sexual health testing is limited to HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and hepatitis. Genital herpes and trichomoniasis are typically only tested if you display symptoms. HPV, human papillomavirus, is not screened for. HPV is typically tested for women during a pap smear, a screening procedure for cervical cancer. HPV has been found to be associated with nearly every case of cervical cancer.
Where to Get Free STD Testing?
1. Medicare and Medicaid - If you have Medicare Part B you qualify for free periodic STD testing every twelve months or during pregnancy. Medicare will also pay for counseling appointments if you are referred by a doctor and qualify as an at-risk sexually active adult or adolescent. Medicaid coverage of STD testing varies by state.
2. Planned Parenthood - Planned Parenthood has locations across the country that offers STD testing. Fees are dependent upon your personal income, demographic factors and assistance eligibility.
3. Local Health Department or Public Clinic - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides an online database of free and private testing facilities accross the country.
What to Expect During a Free STD Test Appointment?
- Detailed questions about your exposure risk and sexual history
- Sexual behavior and sexual health education
- Results typically available in 1 to 2 weeks
- Information regarding potential treatment options