Getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is essential for staying healthy and reducing the spread of infections that could also affect your partner. STD testing is a service offered by many urgent care centers and walk-in clinics. If you need an STD test, Solv can help you locate the nearest top-rated STD testing providers so you can book an appointment right away.
Types of STD Testing
Who should get an STD test?
You should consider getting an STD test if you think you have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or you are experiencing symptoms of an STD. You may also need an STD test if you are at high risk for having an infection, reports the National Library of Medicine (NLM).
People at high risk for STIs, according to the NLM, are:
- Women under the age of 25 who are sexually active. Women in this age group should be tested every year for gonorrhea and chlamydia.
- Women aged 25 years and older who have new or multiple sex partners.
- Women aged 25 years and older who have a partner who has been diagnosed with an STI.
- Women 21 years and older. Women in this age group should get regular Pap smears to check for cell abnormalities in the cervix.
- Women who are pregnant. During pregnancy, women should be tested for HIV, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis B, gonorrhea, and hepatitis C.
- Men and women who are sexually active and who have unprotected sex with people with whom they are not in a monogamous relationship.
- People who have sex without using barrier methods of protection, such as condoms.
- Men who have sex with men. Men in this group should be tested every year for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.
- People who have HIV. The NLM recommends that people with HIV undergo regular STI testing for syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, and chlamydia.
- People who use injectable drugs with shared or unsterile needles. This group should be tested regularly for HIV, suggests the NLM.
How to get an STD test
STD testing is a service offered by many healthcare clinics. According to Planned Parenthood, you can get an STD test at your doctor’s office, a community health clinic, or your city or county health department. STI testing is also available without an appointment at many walk-in clinics, urgent care centers, and walk-in labs. Planned Parenthood adds that STD testing may be free or covered by your health insurance and that these tests usually cost anywhere between $0 and $250 out of pocket.
Contact your healthcare provider directly to find out if you need an appointment or if it welcomes walk-ins. You can also use Solv to book a same-day or next-day appointment directly from its website with no telephone call necessary.
What happens during an STD test?
During an STD test, your doctor will collect a sample of your blood, urine, or fluids from the infection site, says the NLM. Your doctor may also perform a physical examination to check for signs of STDs such as warts, rashes, sores, and irritation.
Blood tests can check for the presence of STIs, including HIV, syphilis, and herpes. During a blood test, your doctor will use a tiny needle to draw a small sample of blood from your arm. Your blood is collected into a test tube and sent to the lab for analysis.
A urine test can check whether you have trichomoniasis or gonorrhea. During a urine test, you will be asked to urinate into a small cup, which is then analyzed by the STI testing provider.
Swab tests can be used to diagnose chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV). During a swab test, your doctor will use a swab to collect a sample of cells or fluids from the site of the infection, such as the penis, vagina, or cervix.
How to prepare for an STD test
In most cases, STD testing does not require any special preparation. Women are usually advised to avoid using douche products and vaginal creams for 24 hours before getting a urine or swab test. Your doctor will also tell you whether you need to do anything to prepare for your STD test.
Risks of STD testing
According to the NLM, the risks associated with STD testing are very minor. For example, the NLM notes that the main risk of having a blood test is experiencing slight pain or bruising at the site where the needle was inserted. The NLM notes that urine and swab tests do not come with any risks.
Find STD Testing near you
STD Testing FAQs
Can I do an STD test at home?
At-home STI testing is available for STDs including hepatitis C, gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. According to the NLM, these tests are available as urine, blood, and swab tests. Your doctor can talk to you in greater detail about the pros and cons of at-home STD testing.
Is there an STI test that checks for all STDs?
There is not a single test available that can screen you for all STDs, reports Planned Parenthood. It adds that each STD has its own test. Your doctor can help you determine which STI tests you need based on your symptoms and on the reasons you think you need testing.
What are the most accurate types of STI tests?
Getting an STD test from a quality lab services provider can help ensure your results are accurate. For instance, the CDC reports that 99% of STD test results for chlamydia and gonorrhea are accurate. Your doctor can talk to you more about the accuracy of the types of STD tests.
How soon should I get an STD test if I think I might have an STD?
If you think you might have gotten an STD from a new partner, Planned Parenthood recommends getting tested ten days after having sex with that person. It adds that it can take up to 10 days for an STD test to detect an infection following transmission.
How long does it take to get back STD test results?
It usually takes anywhere between five and ten days for STD test results to come back, reports Planned Parenthood. However, some walk-in labs and clinics may offer a faster turnaround. Contact your doctor to find out when you can expect to receive your results.
Is it okay to get an STD test if I am on my period?
According to Planned Parenthood, you can get an STD test if you are on your period. If you feel unsure about STD testing while on your period, contact your doctor. Your doctor may suggest waiting until after your period ends to get tested if it makes you feel more comfortable.
What are the symptoms that indicate I should get an STD test?
Symptoms of STDs vary depending on the type of infection you have. According to the NLM, common symptoms of STDs include pain during sex, painful urination, sores or bumps near the genitals, and unusual discharge from the vagina or penis.
What happens if I have an STD and don’t get tested?
If you have an STD and don’t get tested, you could miss out on having it treated right away. When not treated, STDs can lead to serious complications, including blindness and death, reports the NLM. Contact your doctor to get an STD test if you think you have an STD.
What should I do if my STD test comes back positive?
Make an appointment with your doctor right away if you test positive for an STD. The NLM recommends taking medicine as prescribed by your doctor, and talking to your partner so they can also be tested and treated for the STD.
How can I find an STD testing provider near me?
The best way to help find an STD testing provider near you is to use Solv. Solv can help you narrow your options to only the top-rated STI test providers in your area and book a same-day appointment directly from its website.
Solv has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
- STD Tests (September 21, 2021)
- Where can I get tested for STDs?
- How does STD testing work?
- What happens during a lumbar puncture (spinal tap)? (May 23, 2016)
- Recommendations for the Laboratory-Based Detection of Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae — 2014 (March 14, 2014)
- Frequently Asked Questions about STI Testing (August 16, 2018)
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