Testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is an incredibly important step to maintain your sexual and reproductive health. But like many other healthcare services, sometimes it can feel like STD testing is too expensive for you to get regular screening tests. However, you shouldn’t have to skip regular STD testing in order to prioritize other expenses — and fortunately, you can find free STD tests in certain places, but how
Keep reading to find out where to get free STD testing.
Where to get free STD testing?
The price of STD tests can vary depending on whether you have insurance or not, and what type of insurance you have. While some insurance plans cover STD testing as part of their preventative health benefits, people without a good insurance plan can still find testing cost-prohibitive.
Free STD testing may sound like it’s too good to be true, but in reality, some centers do offer free tests — you just have to know where to go. Some of the most common STD tests that you could get for free include:
- Hepatitis B and C
Additionally, while some healthcare centers can’t afford to offer free STD testing, they may offer low-cost tests based on a sliding scale. That means that they’ll adjust the prices of your tests depending on your income to make this service more accessible to the community, while still covering their basic costs.
Let’s go over some of the options for free or low-cost STD testing.
It’s not uncommon for walk-in clinics to offer free or affordable STD tests. If you’re unsure about which clinics offer this service at your location, a simple Google search could help you find out. Once you find information about a clinic near you, you can simply write down their phone number and call them directly to confirm whether they offer free STD tests.
You can also get information regarding free STD tests, condoms, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) directly from the CDC.
University health centers
If you’re a university student, it’s very likely that your university’s health center or clinic offers free STD testing. In many cases, university health centers also offer free or low-cost condoms or other types of birth control, dental dams, lubricants, reproductive health consultations, and medical guidance.
Mobile testing centers
This isn’t always an option, but in some cases, you may be able to find mobile STD testing centers. These testing centers can be affiliated with different organizations, such as non-profit organizations, local government, or larger hospital networks. Mobile test centers allow healthcare providers to reach different communities and provide rapid testing to larger populations.
Reproductive health non-profits
Some non-gubernamental non-profit organizations that specialize in topics regarding reproductive health offer free STD testing. For example, some Planned Parenthood centers offer free or low-cost STD testing, depending on each person’s income.
An online search can guide you to local nonprofits, or you could also ask your healthcare provider for guidance. Most healthcare providers will be more than happy to help you find free or low-cost STD testing that fits your needs, since undiagnosed STDs represent a significant public health problem.
Is free STD testing accurate?
It’s normal to wonder whether free STD tests will be as accurate as paid tests. After all, no one wants to get unreliable STD screening results that may contain false positive or false negative results, which can cause distress, confusion, and long-term medical complications.
The good news is that, as long as you seek out a reputable testing provider — such as your local clinic, university health department, or a reputable non-profit — your free test results will probably be just as accurate as paid test results.
However, there are a few important considerations that you should keep in mind. If you’re showing signs of an STD and your test results come back negative, you may wish to repeat the test or make an appointment with your doctor. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the most common STD symptoms include:
- Sore or bumps on the genitals, rectum, or mouth
- Painful or burning sensation during urination
- Abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina
- Rectal bleeding or discharge
- Pain during intercourse
- Vaginal bleeding after intercourse or between periods
- Painful, swollen lymph nodes
- Lower abdominal pain
Other options for STD testing
If you can’t find free STD testing near you, or if you simply want to have more privacy when you get your STD tests, you’ll be happy to hear that there are other testing options available. The easiest way to ensure your privacy during STD screening is using at-home STD test kits.
These kits allow you to get tested for numerous STDs at once, and you can collect your samples from the privacy of your own home. After collecting the samples, you’ll simply have to mail them back to the provider for testing, and wait for your results. If your tests come back positive for any STD, the testing provider will offer treatment and guidance throughout the whole process. To learn more about STD testing options, visit STDWatch.com.
GetTested - gettested.cdc.gov
Does Planned Parenthood do STD testing for free? - plannedparenthood.org
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) - mayoclinic.org