What to expect during your first STD testing appointment
Not all sexually transmitted diseases have symptoms. STD testing can help you know for sure if you’re infected. Learn more about STD test appointments here.
STD testing, especially the first time, is overwhelming for everyone. You answer uncomfortable questions, share intimate details with healthcare providers, and you have to provide urine or blood samples. But with sexually transmitted infections at a record high, STD tests may just save your life.
With the right doctor and a suitable facility, you can get tested and treated for STDs comfortably. You can rest assured that all your questions and concerns are not new to them. Knowing what to expect during your first STD test appointment will help make it quick, painless, and informative.
How to get tested for STDs?
To get STD tests, you need to notify your doctor about your concerns. You should make an appointment at least once a year for a routine check-up. These appointments are crucial for preventative care. They can reveal irregularities in your reproductive health and catch any possible infection early.
General health evaluations don’t always include STD testing. Many STIs involve a urine sample and specialized tubes for collecting and freezing blood samples. If your doctor draws blood during a general examination, they won’t test for STIs unless you ask for it.
Should I make an appointment or go to a walk-in STD testing clinic near me?
You should make an appointment rather than walk into an STD clinic near you if you’re looking for comprehensive answers about your sexual health. Doing so will give you time to prepare before your appointment and write down your questions. You’ll leave the doctor’s clinic feeling great about your sexual health.
What does a full STD test include?
A full STD test includes testing for :
- HIV type 1 and 2
- Herpes 1 and 2
- Hepatitis A, B, and C
Unlike home STD testing kits, urgent care centers perform high-quality tests and send specimen samples to nationally certified labs for accurate results.
When you notice risk factors or symptoms associated with a specific STD, you can request tests for those. If a previous partner has an STD, you can simply ask for testing for that one.
What happens in STD screenings?
An STD screening should be quick, relatively easy, and painless. Depending on which STI tests you request, you may have to complete a few different exams to get specimens, such as urine tests, blood tests, and throat, vaginal, cervical, or rectal swabs.
During your STD test, your doctor might ask you for a blood sample and a urine sample which they’ll send to the laboratory for testing.
Your doctor may perform a physical exam where they will look at your genitals and anus for any soreness, rash, discharge, or other signs of irritation. Other tests include a saliva sample or a discharge sample. During a discharge test, your doctor will swab your private areas to test for STIs.
Waiting for STD results
STD results usually take a day or more. All results should be confidential. Typically, your doctor won’t share test results over the phone without verifying the caller’s identity.
Many states have confidentiality rules around HIV test results, so you may have to go and pick up the results in person. Some urgent care centers have online patient portals that allow you to view and download your STD test results through the website.
Most doctors will encourage you to share the information with your partner. In some states, the laboratory must report such data to the state to monitor the number of cases and to research and study effective treatments. Whether the tests come back positive or negative, open communication with sex partners can help ensure that everyone stays healthy.
If you get a positive STD result, your doctor should present you with treatment plans. Your doctor will prescribe a medication that’ll treat your infection. If you have a more serious STD, like genital herpes or HIV, there are ways to help relieve the painful and irritating symptoms. Your doctor might also suggest counseling to help you navigate the news, should you find the results hard to accept.
If your STD test shows that you’re negative for infections, it’s still important to talk to your partner. Remember that one negative STD test doesn’t guarantee that you’ll always be STD-free. Regular testing is necessary for sexually active individuals.
How much is an STD test?
STD testing costs depend on the type of tests you take. Urgent care accepts most major insurances, but you should call your insurance provider before booking an appointment to be sure. Most insurance plans cover STI screening tests. The type of insurance you have will determine the copay you’re responsible for on the day of your STD testing.
If you determine that regular STD testing is out of your price range, you can go to the nearest Planned Parenthood clinic or public health care clinics run by the Department of Health in New York City. You can also do a sliding scale payment plan with the laboratory.
It’s best not to delay getting tested for STDs and STIs. You and your partner’s sexual health is on the line. Schedule an STD testing appointment today.