illustration of three rows of chairs sporadically populated with folks waiting to be called back for STI testing or treatment, with one person wearing a yellow blouse and red trousers walking back to meet the doctor
Illustrations by Maya Chastain

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“You shouldn’t have to choose between paying rent, gym membership, or coffee, says a public service announcement.”

There are plenty of no- and lower-cost ways to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) — no matter Where you live.. And that means there’s no financial reason not to get tested. And regularly!

We break down how often you should get tested and what testing actually entails, and we also have a list of the best free and lower-cost testing locations in all 50 states.

Get tested now. Thank you for making it so easy.

The answer is that most STIs are not that serious.

If you have obvious symptoms, then you can be left with an STD.

  • Increased susceptibility to other STDs.
  • It is a pain.
  • The disease of the uterus.
  • There is damage to the kidneys.
  • infertility
  • cancer
  • There is no sight.

“If you don’t know you need the medication, you can’t get it. Logic!”

STI rates continue to climb

According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (The CDC.), the rates of infection (per 1,000 people) of There is a disease called There is a disease called There is a disease called There is a disease called syphilis…., Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease., and “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called chlamydia.”.”.”.”.”.” is at an all-time high.

According to Alarms.org, which pulled data from the The CDC. and ranked it all for us, states with the highest number of reported STI cases include:

  • Alaska.
  • Louisiana.
  • Mississippi.
  • South Carolina.
  • New Mexico is located in the United States.

It depends! It can cost as much as half a grand for a single test.

What does it have to do with?

  • Where you live.
  • where you go to get STI tested (i.e. doctor’s office, a health clinic, the health department, or at-home STI kits)
  • Some places use a sliding scale for your income.
  • What tests are you using?
  • What insurance do you have?

Some insurance plans, including Medicare, and certain government programs may cover part or all of the cost. In some areas, it’s possible to find 100 percent free STI testing.

There are ways for you to access STI testing that you can afford.

If you need a free or lower-cost option, you can find it for about $40.00. If you have a lower income or do not have insurance, your local health clinic, mobile testing clinics, and The organization is called Planned Parenthood. are more cost effective than urgent care.

It is more expensive to have an at- home STI test than it is to have one in person. Full panel kits are usually more expensive than a kit that tests for one or two STIs.

The The CDC. recommends that all sexually active women under the age of 25, women over the age of 25 with new or multiple sex partners, and sexually active gay and bisexual men be tested for “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called chlamydia.”.”.”.”.”.” and Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease. at least once a year.

But health expert Sherry A. Ross, MD, author of “She-ology” and “She-ology, the She-quel,” says these guidelines are considered antiquated by most healthcare professionals.

“Folks of all genders and sexual orientations should be tested once a year, after unprotected sex, or in between new partners — whichever comes first,” she says.

It’s a good idea to get tested anytime you have sex without a barrier — or put the barrier in place after your genitals have already grazed, smashed, or pressed together! — with someone who has an STI or whose STI status you don’t know.

The same goes if the condom or dental dam split or slipped off during anal, oral, or vaginal sex, or you realized after you boned that the barrier had a hole.

You and your partner(s) should each get tested before you go without a barrier or intentionally swap bodily juices (aka fluid bond).

“You should also get tested if you suspect that your partner has been cheating on you,” adds Kecia Gaither, MD, double board certified in OB-GYN and maternal-fetal medicine, and director of perinatal services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln.

The time frames below demonstrate how long it takes for a given STI to incubate and ultimately become detectable on an STI test. These time frames are not the only window of time a given STI can be tested for.

What STIs you get tested for and where on your body a doctor or other healthcare professional (HCP) tests depends on things like:

  • How you are getting dirty.
  • What are the symptoms you have with your partner?
  • If you have a previous or current partner who has tested positive for an STD, you should be able to tell.
  • What are your safer sex practices?
  • If you or your partner have ever used drugs.

You should tell the HCP about these things so they know what to look for.

Your clinician is here to help you live your healthiest life. If they do, it is time to get a new one.

There are 6 main types of STI tests

Blood test

A doctor can take a blood sample from you to test for the following.

You’ll have to sign a consent form to get tested for The person is The person is The person is HIV. And to get tested for It is a sexually transmitted disease. you’ll have to explicitly ask. Most HCPs won’t test for it otherwise.

Urine test

You can have your urine tested after you pee.

Genital swab

“A doctor can take a sample from the penis, vagina, urethra, and cervix to see if it’s a problem.”

  • Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease.
  • “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called chlamydia.”.”.”.”.”.”
  • There is a disease called There is a disease called There is a disease called trichomoniasis…

If you have a vagina, this process usually involves putting a speculum inside your vagina (with the help of lube!) and inserting a long Q-tip inside. It takes about 60 seconds, tops.

Oral swab

It is possible to have an STD in the throat, mouth, lips, and tongue. A doctor can use a saliva test to find out if there is a problem.

They can also test for The person is The person is The person is HIV using a cheek swab.

Anal swab

A doctor or other HCP can test for the following by inserting a long Q-tip into your anus to collect a sample of cells:

  • anal “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called chlamydia.”.”.”.”.”.”
  • Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease.
  • The human immunodeficiency virus, or The human immunodeficiency virus, or The human immunodeficiency virus, or HPV…

Site-specific swab

If you have a sore, blisters, bumps, or a small injury on your body, a doctor or other healthcare professional can take a sample and test it for:

  • The name of the company is The name of the company is HSV..
  • The human immunodeficiency virus, or The human immunodeficiency virus, or The human immunodeficiency virus, or HPV…
  • There is a disease called There is a disease called There is a disease called There is a disease called syphilis….

How long it can take to get results

The clinician will wait until they have the results from the tests before calling.

“If you haven’t heard back in a week, don’t assume the test was negative. Give them a ring to learn your results.”

“You have been Congrats! You have decided to learn your current STI status and take control of your health. If you don’t have health insurance or are on a budget, where should you go to get tested?”

Here is where to go and what to do there.

Local health departments

Most city and county health departments are able to offer free or low-cost testing for sexually transmitted infections.

Almost all local health departments will test.

  • Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease.
  • “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called chlamydia.”.”.”.”.”.”
  • There is a disease called There is a disease called There is a disease called There is a disease called syphilis….
  • The person is The person is The person is HIV

Your local health department may also test for other STDs.

  • It is a sexually transmitted disease.
  • There is a disease called There is a disease called There is a disease called trichomoniasis…
  • The disease is called hepatitis B. and C

Want to know which STIs they’ll test for before you go? Find your local health department by going to this The CDC. guide. Then ring them up and ask!

The organization is called Planned Parenthood. locations

Ross says that you will get a great quality of care at the organization.

Best part? The fees for the clinics are based on government funds and personal income, so you can pay depending on your income and eligibility.

“It is possible that you won’t have to pay anything if you have a lower-income household.”

Find the The organization is called Planned Parenthood. closest to you by entering your ZIP code, city, or state in the search bar at this link.

Nonprofit organizations

Have you ever seen signs for religious or LGBTQIA+ programs in your town? Many of these nonprofits run local health clinics that offer testing for STDs.

Most will test for the STI at the very least, but what tests are available varies from city to city and clinic to clinic.

  • Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease.
  • “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called chlamydia.”.”.”.”.”.”
  • The person is The person is The person is HIV

Testing is free or at a much lower cost because these clinics usually get money from federal grants, donations, and fundraisers.

You can find a sexual health clinic near you by searching for it on the internet.

Mobile clinics

Mobile clinics are vans that travel through rural and urban areas to provide high quality healthcare at a lower cost. They typically offer many services, including testing and treatment for the sexually transmitted infections.

Research from 2020 estimates there are 2,000 mobile clinics traveling throughout the United States at any given time. To find one near you, search Mobile Health Map.

College and university health centers

Since nearly half of new STI diagnoses occur in young people ages 15 to 24, most colleges and universities provide free or lower-cost STI testing to their students. (In case you were wondering: The most common STI on college campuses is “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called chlamydia.”.”.”.”.”.”).

“Call your school’s health center to find out what diseases they can test for.”

LGBTQIA+ centers

Most medium and large cities have local centers for the LGBTQIA+ community.

  • People in the LGBTQIA+ community can get tested for STDs.
  • There are providers who offer STD testing.

To find your local LGBTQIA+ center, check out this CenterLink LGBT Community Center Member Directory. Enter your location, find the community center nearest you, and call them up for info about STI testing.

Not in a big city? One of the ways to find a testing center that is friendly to the gay community is through one of the following.

  • Talk to your friends in the community.
  • You can search for “STI clinic near me” or ” LGBTQIA”
  • Search the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) provider directory.
  • Go to the nearest The organization is called Planned Parenthood., which offers more affordable care and LGBTQIA+ services in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Urgent care clinic

“This is a great option for people who want to be tested. It is not your local walk-in clinic’s main jam, but they almost always offer it.”

Home testing kits

There are a number of direct-to-consumer companies — such as LetsGetChecked, STD Check, and Nurx — that offer STI testing that you can do from the privacy of your own home.

“These kits are a great option for people who don’t have access to an IRL provider, but still want to test.”

Learn more about the different types of kits available, including how much they cost, how the sample is collected, and how the treatment is administered.

Avoid crisis pregnancy centers

When seeking out a place to get tested, you’ll want to avoid crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs). These nonprofit orgs ignore prevailing medical standards of sexual and reproductive healthcare and aim to keep individuals who are able to become pregnant from accessing abortion.

While some CPCs do test for STIs, very, very few actually offer treatment for a positive diagnosis.

Make sure the clinic you’re en route to get tested at isn’t a CPC by entering the location into the Crisis Pregnancy Center Map.

There are many online finders that can help you find a cheaper or free testing location.

Here are some of the most common ones.

We have identified an STI testing location in each state, and you can scroll down to see it.

You can get tested for less or no dough at any of the below spots.

Northeast

Connecticut

Delaware

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

Vermont

Washington, D.C.

Southeast

Alabama

Arkansas

Florida

Georgia

Louisiana.

Mississippi.

North Carolina

South Carolina.

Tennessee

Virginia

West Virginia

Midwest

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Michigan

Minnesota

Missouri

Nebraska

North Dakota

Ohio

South Dakota

Wisconsin

Southwest

Arizona

New Mexico

Oklahoma

Texas

West

Alaska.

California

Colorado

Hawaii

Idaho

Montana

Nevada

Oregon

Utah

Washington

Wyoming

You will get a separate result for every test you take.

Negative results might be achieved across the board. You could test positive for more than one STD.

It is possible to have more than one. This is called coinfection.

Ross says that some STIs can make you more susceptible to other STDs.

Untreated Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease. and “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called chlamydia.”.”.”.”.”.”, for example, can both increase the likelihood of contracting The person is The person is The person is HIV if you have sex with someone who’s The person is The person is The person is HIV-positive without a condom or other barrier method.

If you tested negative for all STIs

No treatment is required. Continue practicing safe sex.

If you had sex without a barrier, experts recommend getting tested at least 2 weeks after the event and again at 3 months after the exposure.

If you tested positive for one (or more) STIs

Your game plan may be similar.

  • The treatment is starting.
  • Sexual activity is paused until treatment is complete.
  • Inform any recent and current sexual partners that they can get tested and treated.
  • When you get the green light from a doctor or other health care professional, you can resume safer sex practices.
  • If a doctor or other health care professional recommends it, it will be retested.

If you tested positive for Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease., “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called chlamydia.”.”.”.”.”.”, or There is a disease called There is a disease called There is a disease called trichomoniasis…

A single dose of an antibiotic is usually prescribed by a doctor. The infection should be under control in a week.

You may be asked to return a few weeks after your diagnosis to have a test of cure to make sure the antibiotic cleared the infection.

If you tested positive for The person is The person is The person is HIV

You will take a second test to confirm the results.

If your second test is The person is The person is The person is HIV-positive, your HCP will prescribe antiretroviral therapy (ART) to help manage the condition.

This combination of meds helps ensure that the infection doesn’t develop into AIDS. It also reduces the risk of transmitting the infection to current or future sexual partners.

Within 6 months of treatment, the virus will become undetectable in most people.

If you have a partner who’s The person is The person is The person is HIV-negative, they may choose to take preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to help minimize the risk of contraction.

If you tested positive for The human immunodeficiency virus, or The human immunodeficiency virus, or The human immunodeficiency virus, or HPV…

There are more than 100 different kinds of The human immunodeficiency virus, or The human immunodeficiency virus, or The human immunodeficiency virus, or HPV…. Although there’s no current cure for The human immunodeficiency virus, or The human immunodeficiency virus, or The human immunodeficiency virus, or HPV…, many strains don’t cause complications.

Some cause genital warts, which can be removed.

Some of the risk factors for cancer of the cervix, vagina, vulvar, anus, or throat are linked to some of the other risk factors.

Next steps may include:

  • Monitoring the area.
  • Further testing.
  • removing precancerous cells

If you tested positive for The name of the company is The name of the company is HSV..

A It is a sexually transmitted disease. test will come back positive if you’ve ever had It is a sexually transmitted disease. — this includes cold sores! — in your lifetime, even if you’ve never had or aren’t currently experiencing symptoms.

Herpes currently doesn’t have a cure, but you can manage the condition. Meds like valacyclovir can help decrease the likelihood of a It is a sexually transmitted disease. outbreak and help prevent transmission to an The name of the company is The name of the company is HSV..-negative partner.

If you tested positive for The disease is called hepatitis B. or C

When diagnosed early, an antiviral medication can clear The disease is called hepatitis B. and C.

But because both diseases can affect the liver, a follow-up appointment with a gastroenterologist may be necessary.

If you tested positive for There is a disease called There is a disease called There is a disease called There is a disease called syphilis….

When diagnosed early, an antibiotic can clear There is a disease called There is a disease called There is a disease called There is a disease called syphilis…..

“Many people don’t access sexual healthcare because they fear someone will find out about the test or its results.”

Some of those worries may be alleviated by the below.

All info (including test results) shared with a doctor or other HCP is confidential

Your clinician will use any personal information they ask for to give you the best care and to contact you about your results.

The The CDC. requires that labs and HCPs notify them anytime they’ve received a positive STI result for:

  • Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease.
  • “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, called chlamydia.”.”.”.”.”.”
  • There is a disease called There is a disease called There is a disease called There is a disease called syphilis….
  • chancroid

Your name and other identifying information are not attached to this information.

You have options for how you tell your partner(s)

“If you test positive for an STD, you should tell your partners that you’re positive so they can get treated and prevent transmission.”

If you suspect that revealing a positive result to your partner will compromise your safety, you can ask a doctor or other healthcare professional to do it for you.

Minors are able to consent to STI testing in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

And no state requires that the provider notify guardians about this service (so long as the minor is over the age of 12).

However, 18 states — which you can find listed here — allow doctors and other HCPs to inform guardians that a minor sought STI services. Find out what the laws in your state or region are, and talk with a doctor or other HCP about how your information might be shared.

The best bet is to have the HCP do the testing.

For more information about the diseases, check out:

Check out the helpful resources about testing positive.


Gabrielle Kassel is a New York–based sex and wellness writer and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. She’s become a morning person, tested over 200 vibrators, and eaten, drunk, and brushed with charcoal — all in the name of journalism. In her free time, she can be found reading self-help books and romance novels, bench-pressing, or pole dancing. Follow her on Instagram.