Is My Privacy Protected When Testing for STDs?
Private STD Testing
There’s no way around it – one of the most critical points of concern, especially when it comes to STDs, is privacy. Perhaps more so than other medical conditions, STD and STI testing that isn’t handled responsibly could reveal private information about us that we don’t want to share, as it could have unforeseen consequences.
Don’t Let Privacy Concerns Stop You from Getting Tested
There are too many cases in which a person has decided to skip STD testing out of privacy concerns, even when suspecting exposure. As our 10 most common STDs article will reveal, there are plenty of very good reasons to make sure you’re being responsible for yourself as well as your sexual partners. The good news is that you have nothing to worry about in terms of privacy. You have full control over the information you share, if you’re doing it the right way.
Good News for Privacy
Private STD testing services are aware of this concern and have gone to great lengths to make sure privacy is not an issue. For example, you’ll notice that these services employ highly capable safeguards on their website, including industry-standard encryption protocols. Many companies will also allow you use an entirely unidentifiable digital code that you can use instead of your name.
Get to Know HIPAA
Reputable and reliable STD testing services are fully compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability ACT (HIPAA). This act ensures that your private information is protected from any unsolicited access and gives you the right to decide who can access your private health data. We recommend opting for a reliable service that’s fully committed to HIPAA to ensure that your private information is protected and handled with care.
Report to Insurance? It’s Entirely Up to You
One of the biggest concerns many people face is the possibility of their insurance provider getting their STD testing results. This can have unforeseen consequences, as even the frequency of STD or STI testing can sometimes be used as a pretext to raise your monthly premiums. We don’t advocate withholding information from your insurance provider if you are ill, and they will become a highly valuable ally in case one of your tests returns positive, besides this, at the end the decision will be always yours.
Some services will give you the option of paying through HSA of HFA coverage when the test is authorized by a physician, but this is entirely up to you, giving you the ability to decide if you want to take advantage of your insurance’s coverage or maintain your privacy. While STD testing that involves a blood-sample will cost a bit more, it still isn’t as expensive as most other health services. In fact, most STD and STI testing service we recommend offer affordable options in a variety of combinations, allowing you give yourself the full-battery of tests, for the most common and harmful STDs at far-lower rate than most insurance payments. Testing for one specific STD can be as affordable as $20-30, depending on the service.
STD Testing and Privacy: The Final Verdict
The important thing to remember is that when it comes to your privacy, STD testing services, labs and facilities will go to great lengths to make sure your information remains protected. They will comply with legislation such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which really is one of the most notable legislative protections for patients’ rights in the United States. Reliable STD testing services will employ state-of-the-art technologies, including high-level encryption across their data network to ensure that your data isn’t accessed by any unauthorized people or organizations. However, if you do want to use your insurance to pay with HSA/HFA coverage, you can do it (be sure to check if the testing services you selected supports it), but keep in mind that the results will likely be shared with your insurance provider.
Written by Tommy Gonzales on March 28, 2020
- Summary of the HIPAA Privacy Rule - hhs.gov