Can You Get an STD Test at an Urgent Care?

Can You Get an STD Test at an Urgent Care?

Before we dive in, the quick answer is, yes, you CAN get an STD test at urgent care.

Some benefits of going to urgent care:

  • You can get same-day, walk-in care
  • You can book an appointment online and save even more time
  • Urgent care centers can treat you discreetly

From the time you were in middle school health class, you’ve probably been aware — to some extent — about the importance of sexual health. You know that condoms are the only type of birth control that is effective at preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). But largely due to the stigma that surrounds sexual healthmany people don’t continue to talk about it into their late teens and early adulthood.

According to the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA), the statistics on STDs in the U.S. are staggering:

  • 1 in 2 sexually active people will contract an STD by age 25
  • Nearly 20 million new STDs occur every year
  • Half of the people who contract STDs are between the ages of 15 and 24
  • Only about 12% of people in that age range receive STD tests each year

What is Sexual Health?

As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), sexual health is “…a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.”

Obviously, there’s a lot more to sexual health than keeping yourself free from disease and infection. Still, not having an STD or STI — an infection caused by bacteria or a virus — is an important component of your overall sexual pleasure and wellbeing, as well as your physical and emotional health. In this article, we’ll be focusing on the physical aspect of sexual health.

Why is Sexual Health Important?

Anyone who is sexually active should be concerned about their sexual health. Left unchecked, STDs can wreak havoc on your reproductive system. This is true for both men and women.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that about 24 thousand women become infertile each year due to STDs. Typically, contracting an STD isn’t enough to cause infertility or other reproductive health issues. It’s when a sexually transmitted disease isn’t treated that the risk of reproductive damage becomes a problem. This points to just how important it is to get tested regularly, especially when you have a new sexual partner or have multiple sexual partners. Early detection is the best way to prevent an STD from impacting your future health.

What Are the Most Common STDs?

There are dozens of different STDs, some more common than others. They all fall into one of two categories: bacterial or viral. Here are some of the most common STDs, their symptoms, and possible treatments.


Chlamydia, a bacterial STD, is the number one cause of preventable infertility in the U.S. Left untreated, chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can permanently damage a woman’s reproductive organs. Many people who get chlamydia don’t have any symptoms, making it hard to diagnose without a test. This is another reason it’s smart to get tested regularly. For people who do have symptoms of chlamydia, they often include:

  • Painful urination
  • Fever
  • Unusual discharge from penis or vagina

Chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics (which you can get ay urgent care). If you get treated for chlamydia, your partner should, too. If not, you run the risk of contracting it again.


Gonorrhea is another type of bacterial STD that often occurs at the same time as chlamydia. Typically, if you’re being treated for one, you’ll also be treated for the other — just in case. Gonorrhea can also cause PID, so early treatment is important. Just like chlamydia, most people won’t have symptoms but, if they do, can include:

  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Discharge from the penis or vagina
  • Mouth, throat, and eye infections
  • Men may experience swollen testicles
  • Women may bleed between periods

Gonorrhea can cause infertility in men and women, as well as spread to the blood and joints. It can be treated with a single dose of antibiotics.

Genital Herpes

Herpes is a common STD that many people never even know they have. The only visible symptom is watery skin blisters around the genitals and not everyone gets them. It can be caused by two different strains of virus: HSV type 1 (HSV-1) or HSV type 2 (HSV-2).

Most cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-2 and, unfortunately, there is no cure. Medication can be used to control outbreaks and lessen the likelihood of it being passed on to a sexual partner.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV is the most common type of STD and at least 50% of sexually active people will get it at some point in their lives. Since there are over 40 types of HPV, it can be hard to pinpoint the symptoms of any one strain. Different types of HPV can cause:

  • Genital warts
  • Mouth and throat infections
  • Cancers of the cervix, vulva, penis, anus, and mouth

While HPV cannot be cured, it can be treated. Even better, there is a vaccine that can help prevent HPV, as well as the genital warts and cancers caused by the virus. You can get the HPV vaccine, as well as any other vaccinations you need, at most urgent care centers.


Syphilis is another STD that can cause serious, long-term health complications if not treated. It is usually spread by contact with open sores during sex. The rates of syphilis in the U.S. have been increasing every year since 2014, making it a very real concern. The symptoms of syphilis include:

  • Small, painless sores in or around the vagina, penis, mouth, or anus
  • Rash on the body, especially the palms of the hand and soles of the feet

Less common symptoms include:

Syphilis, like most bacterial STDs, can be treated with antibiotics if caught early — usually an injection of penicillin. For people allergic to penicillin, the treatment can be 14 days of a different type of antibiotic. Even if left untreated for more than a year, antibiotics can cure syphilis, though it will take longer.

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis, or BV, is a common vaginal infection in women of reproductive age. It happens when the good to bad ratio of bacteria in the body is thrown out of balance. Women are more likely to get BV if they douche or have new or multiple sexual partners. Essentially, any activity that introduces new bacteria into the vagina can cause BV.

The symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include:

  • Thin, milky discharge
  • Discharge with a “fishy” odor
  • Painful urination
  • Vaginal itching or burning

Bacterial vaginosis can be treated with antibiotics — usually metronidazole or clindamycin. It’s very important to be treated for BV; having it can increase a woman’s risk of contracting other STDs, as well as cause preterm birth and/or low birth weight in pregnant women.


This STD affects women more than it affects men. Even when men do get trichomoniasis, most won’t ever display symptoms (though if they do have symptoms, they’re pretty obvious: painful urination and lesions on the penis). Women, however, commonly do get symptoms of trichomoniasis, such as:

  • Frothy yellowish or greenish vaginal discharge
  • Swelling of the vulva and labia
  • Painful urination

Antibiotics can treat and cure trichomoniasis though it’s very important that everyone who has had sex with an infected person gets treated. Reinfection is very common.

Viral Hepatitis (Hepatitis B)

Hepatitis A, B, and C are viruses that can be spread through sexual contact but Hepatitis B is the most common. Hep B is also the most common cause of liver cancer. Like other STDs, viral hepatitis often doesn’t cause symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they can be severe:

Vaccination can prevent this STD but, if it is contracted, most cases can be treated with antiviral medications.

It’s important to remember that pregnant women who contract an STD can pass it on to their child. If you’re pregnant and have an STD, you should head to an urgent care for a same-day appointment to get tested and treated.

What Increases my Risk of an STD?

Anyone who is sexually active has some risk of contracting an STD. However, there are some things that can make it more likely. If any of these apply to you, it’s a good idea to get tested every 3 to 6 months, or before you have a new sexual partner.

  • You have multiple sexual partners
  • You currently have or have had unprotected sex
  • You have not received an HPV or Hepatitis A or B vaccine
  • You’re a woman
  • You have a weak immune system

Can You Go to Urgent Care for STD Testing?

If you think you may have an STD or if you wanted to get an STD test as a precaution, you may be wondering, should I go to urgent care or my primary doctor? Many people choose to go to an urgent care clinic for an STD test if they feel uncomfortable or embarrassed to go to their normal doctor. There’s no reason to feel embarrassed about getting an STD test but there are some benefits of going to urgent care:

  • You can get same-day, walk-in care
  • You can book an appointment online and save even more time
  • Urgent care centers can treat you discreetly

Your urgent care doctor will give you a physical exam and evaluate any visible symptoms. To get an official diagnosis, you’ll be asked to give a blood or urine sample which will be sent to a lab for testing. You’ll usually have the results within a few days and be given a prescription for antibiotics to treat a bacterial STD or an antiviral medication to treat a viral STD.

The only time that you may be unable to be treated for an STD at urgent care is if it has progressed beyond what can be treated with a prescription. If this is the case, your urgent care doctor will advise you to follow up with your primary physician.

Is STD Testing Covered by Insurance?

Depending on the type of insurance you have, STD testing may be fully or partially covered. The only way to know for sure is to contact your health insurance company and ask what is covered. If your insurance does cover STD testing and you’ve already met your deductible, you’ll only owe your copay amount.

If you haven’t met your deductible or if your insurance doesn’t cover it, you may be responsible for paying the full amount for STD testing at urgent care. The good news is that getting an STD test at urgent care is still less expensive than a visit to the ER or your primary care doctor.

Sexually transmitted diseases are not a fun party topic and bringing it up with your sexual partner can be pretty uncomfortable. Still, if you’re having sex, both you and your partner should be proactive about keeping yourselves healthy. A lack of precaution could have serious long-term health risks. If you need to get an STD test, you can use Solv to book a same-day appointment at urgent care. It’s easy!

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