What is an STD Test, and Who Needs It?
An STD test is one of several types of tests done to determine whether or not you have an infection or a sexually transmitted disease. Different STDs require different forms of testing. Some require a blood test, others a saliva swab, urine sample, or a genital swab.
It is recommended that anybody who is sexually active, particularly if you have multiple partners, get tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Getting yourself tested is one of the most important things that you can do to maintain your health and help prevent the dissemination of serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases.
That’s the general advice from healthcare professionals across the world. There are specific guidelines about STD testing for particular STDs, though. Here are some important rules you should take into consideration if you are sexually active:
For chlamydia and gonorrhea, get tested annually if:
You’re a female who is 25 years or younger
If you are 25+ and have multiple sexual partners
You’re a male having sexual intercourse with men
You currently have HIV
You have been forced into sexual activity without consent
It is recommended that everyone from the age of 13 to 64 be tested for HIV at least once. Hepatitis C should be tested for anyone born between the years 1945-1965 since these are high-risk carriers.
Additionally, anyone who has multiple sexual partners, uses intravenous drugs, is pregnant, or is planning to become pregnant, bisexual, or gay men who are sexually active, or have been forced to perform sexual activities should have an STD test performed.
Where Can You Test for an STD?
STDs are spreading at a rapid pace. Fortunately, STD testing is available in several forms today, including:
A clinic is one of the fastest ways to get results. You visit one of the STD testing clinics, give in your sample, and wait for your results. Many people are not comfortable with this or don’t have a center near them.
Alternatively, you can ask your doctor for an STD test. This is more convenient because it’s your regular doctor. But most people feel even more uncomfortable talking to their regular doctor about STDs than a generic lab technician. So, this can put many people off.
The most convenient and comfortable option is at-home STD testing. You take the sample in the comfort of your own home, mail in the sample, and receive the results online. So, it's a lot more private. No one, not even your roommates, need to know about it.
What STD Test Kit Should You Get?
Which STD test kit is the right one for you depends on the type of sexually transmitted infection you are testing for. Some kits are available for individual diseases. If you're interested in testing for multiple infections, you should look for an STD test kit service that offers packages. This will be more convenient and affordable.
Make sure the STD test kit you order actually covers the disease(s) you are looking for. Also, look for a kit that has an online customer portal. This will let you access your test results online through a private channel. Only you have the password for it, so only you can see the results. This is a faster and more confidential way of getting your results.
How Long Do STD Tests Take?
Taking an STD test is fast and painless. If you’re taking one at home, it’s a matter of seconds. Either take the swab, blood, or urine sample, and you’re done. If you’re taking it in an office or clinic, you’ll need to factor in the drive and wait time until you’re seen and dealt with by one of the technicians. Depending on how busy the center is, this can be quite a while.
Getting the results also varies depending on where you take the STD test. In-office tests have to be processed, and the doctor will probably call you with the results or call you when the results are in and have you come down to the office to discuss them. Clinics will generally send you the results in the mail. Meanwhile, online results are much faster. You can receive your results within 2-5 days, depending on the STD test kit service you're using.
How Much Does STD Testing Cost?
STD testing costs vary based on a few factors, including your location, what type of testing you’re doing, where you’re doing the tests, and of course, whether or not your health care insurance covers it. Individual tests can run you approximately $99, while you can get packages that test for multiple STDs for roughly $119-$275 depending on how many tests the package includes. Basically, if you’re planning on having more than one STD test done, it is worthwhile to order a multi-pack because it’ll be significantly cheaper than testing each one individually.