- Urgent care offers STD testing for various infections, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV.
- Benefits include convenience, quick results, confidentiality, and accessible treatment options if needed.
- Regular STD testing is essential for maintaining sexual health and preventing transmission.
Getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is very important for your health and the health of your partners. While many people choose to visit their primary care physician for STD testing, urgent care centers can be a convenient option.
Can You Get Tested for STDs at Urgent Care?
Many urgent care clinics offer a variety of STD testing options—including tests for:
- Genital herpes
- Public lice (“crabs”)
What is Urgent Care?
An urgent care clinic is a medical facility that offers walk-in care for many non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Urgent care clinics are staffed by licensed medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and physician assistants. They are designed to provide quick and convenient care without the need for an appointment and are usually more cost-efficient than an emergency room visit, according to Urgentcare.org
Types of STD Tests That May be Available at Urgent Care
Most urgent care locations offer a variety of STD testing options, including:
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- Swab tests
- Physical exams
The specific tests offered may vary depending on the clinic. Some clinics may also offer rapid STD screenings, which can sometimes provide results on the same day.
Benefits of Getting STD Testing at Urgent Care
There are several benefits to getting tested for STDs at an urgent care clinic, notes urgentcare.org:
- Convenience: Urgent care clinics offer walk-in care, so you don't need an appointment to get tested.
- Quick results: Some urgent care clinics offer rapid STD tests or tests that test for multiple STDs at once.
- Confidentiality: Urgent care clinics are required to maintain patient confidentiality, so you can feel confident that your test results will remain private.
- Treatment options: If you test positive for an STD, urgent care can provide treatment options or refer you to a specialist for further care.
Does Insurance Cover STD Testing at Urgent Care?
Many insurance plans do cover STD testing, but the amount of coverage can vary depending on your specific plan. Some plans may cover the full cost of testing, while others may require you to pay a copay or deductible. It's important to check with your insurance provider to see what your plan covers.
How to Check If Your Insurance Covers STD Testing
To find out if your insurance covers STD testing, you can:
- Call your insurance provider: The customer service number is usually located on the back of your insurance card and can provide information on your coverage.
- Check your plan documents: Your plan documents may have information on what services are covered and what your out-of-pocket costs will be.
- Ask the urgent care clinic: The clinic may be able to tell you if they accept your insurance and what your out-of-pocket costs will be.
Keep in mind that even if your insurance covers STD testing, there may be additional costs for treatment or follow-up care. It's important to discuss any concerns or questions with your insurance company or your healthcare provider.
How Long Does STD Testing Take at Urgent Care?
When you go to an urgent care clinic for STD testing, the length of time it takes to get your results can vary depending on several factors. Here's what you need to know about the testing process, including some factors that may affect testing time, and the average testing times for different types of STD tests.
The STD Testing Process
STD testing at urgent care clinics usually involves a physical exam, talking about your symptoms and sexual activity, and taking a sample of your blood, urine, or secretions. The sample is then used for a rapid test or sent to a lab for testing, notes the NIH. The result time will vary depending on the type of test that is used. Some STDs are readily apparent during a physical exam and typically do not require a diagnostic test.
Some clinics offer rapid testing for certain STDs, which can usually provide same-day results. However, rapid testing is not available for all types of STDs, and it may not be as accurate as traditional lab testing, according to the NIH.
Factors That Affect STD Testing
There are a few factors that can affect how long it takes to get your STD test results, including:
- The type of test you're getting
- The lab's workload
- Whether you need to schedule a follow-up appointment
Additionally, if you're getting multiple tests done, it may take longer to get your results.
For send-out tests, the average amount of time it takes to get STD testing results is between five and ten days, according to Planned Parenthood. Keep in mind that this is just an average, and your results may come back sooner or later, depending on your specific circumstances.
It's important to talk to your healthcare provider about what to expect and any concerns you may have.
Getting STD Treatment at Urgent Care
If you suspect that you have an STD, or may have been exposed to an STD, it is important to get tested and treated as soon as possible, recommends the CDC. Additionally, the CDC recommends getting certain STD tests done once a year if you are sexually active. A great option for getting fast testing and treatment is by visiting an urgent care clinic near you.
The STD Treatment Process
When you visit an urgent care clinic for STD testing or treatment, the process may begin with a physical exam and a discussion about your symptoms and sexual history. The urgent care provider may then recommend testing for one or more STDs, depending on your symptoms and history. If you test positive for an STD, the urgent care provider can also discuss your treatment options with you.
Treatment for STDs typically involves medication, such as antibiotics or antivirals, notes the CDC. Some STDs, such as herpes and HIV, may require ongoing treatment. Your urgent care provider will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs, and give you referrals to specialists if necessary.
Types of STDs That Can be Treated at Urgent Care Clinics
Urgent care clinics can typically treat a variety of STDs, including:
The Benefits of Getting Your STD Treated at an Urgent Care Clinic
There are several benefits to getting tested and treated for STDs at an urgent care clinic, notes the NIH.
- Convenience: Urgent care clinics are often open evenings and weekends, making it easier to get tested and treated around your schedule.
- Efficiency: Urgent care clinics provide fast, often same-day treatment for many conditions, including STDs.
- Confidentiality: Urgent care clinics are required to maintain patient confidentiality, which can be important for individuals who are concerned about privacy.
- Accessibility: Many urgent care clinics are located in convenient locations, and many accept a range of insurance plans.
- Cost: Urgent care clinics may be less expensive than visiting a traditional doctor's office or emergency room for STD testing and treatment.
Can You Go to Urgent Care for Genital Warts, Herpes, and HIV Testing?
If you suspect you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI or STD), it's important to get tested and treated as soon as possible. This is because an untreated infection can become more severe over time—as well as spread to more people. While there are many options for testing and treatment, urgent care clinics are a convenient and accessible choice for many people. Urgent care clinics can also diagnose and treat other conditions related to your reproductive and sexual health, including genital warts, herpes, and HIV.
- Genital Warts: Genital warts are small, flesh-colored bumps that can appear on the genitals or anus. This condition is commonly caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), according to the Mayo Clinic. There are some treatment options available to help remove or lessen the appearance of genital warts.
- Herpes: Herpes is a viral infection that causes painful blisters on or around the genitals or mouth, according to the CDC. There is no cure for herpes, however, there are medications that can help lessen symptoms and avoid transmission.
- HIV: HIV is a viral infection that attacks the immune system. It can be transmitted through sexual contact, sharing drug injection tools, or from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. There are antiviral medications that can help manage symptoms, according to the CDC.
The Importance of Getting Tested for STDs
Untreated STDs can have serious health consequences, according to Mayo Clinic and the CDC. Since many people with STDs do not have symptoms, it is important to get tested on a regular basis if you are sexually active.
Urgent care clinics offer a convenient, cost-effective, and fast way to get tested and start treatment for many STDs.
Remember, getting tested for STDs is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a responsible and important step in maintaining your sexual health. You can use Solv to find urgent care clinics near you.
Solv has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
- Point-of-Care Testing For STIs (May 22, 2023) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7606737/
- STD Testing & Treatment. (May 22, 2023) https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-st-louis-region-southwest-missouri/patients/our-services/std-testing
- STDs. (May 22, 2023) https://www.cdc.gov/std/prevention/screeningreccs.htm
- Bacterial Vaginosis. (May 22, 2023) https://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/stdfact-bacterial-vaginosis.htm
- Genital Herpes. (May 22, 2023) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/genital-herpes/symptoms-causes/syc-20356161
- Herpes. (May 22, 2023) https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes.htm
- HIV. (May 22, 2023) https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/whatishiv.htm