Alabama is among the leading states in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and the number of cases continues to rise. The situation is particularly concerning in Jefferson County, as it recorded the highest number of cases in 2016-2017. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have become the 6th greatest health concern in Alabama.
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Which Method of STD Testing is Suitable for Me?
Every sexually active individual must protect their sexual health. Regular STD testing is the only way to care for your sexual health. However, sometimes it becomes confusing to select the right testing method as there are so many options available. For your convenience, we have gathered information about all available STD testing methods in Alabama. Check them out to find out which option is suitable for you.
|Testing Method||Waiting Times||Speed of Results||Positive Consultation|
Private Testing (Walk-In Clinic)
10-20 Minutes with No Wait
Free With Positive Result
At-Home STD Testing
Free With Positive Result
Call for Appointment
Call for Appointment
Out-of-Pocket Cost Required
Limited Hours and Long Lines
Learn more in our ultimate guide to STD testing.
It can be, but it does not necessarily have to be. What many people need to understand is that laboratory tests would most often than not be relatively pricey due to the technology that is being utilized behind these diagnostic techniques. However, opting for specific laboratories that offer more convenient testing procedures and discounted prices for diagnostic tests would help ensure that the price will not be much of an issue in providing you with the conclusive diagnosis of your condition. It might take some independent scanning to find the right testing center for you in the most acceptable price range, but it is not as impossible as many people make it out to be.
Considering that a wide variety of testing kits and laboratory procedures can be performed to determine conclusively whether you have a particular STD or not, the time that it will take for your results to return will also be subject to the same inconsistency. Although there are specific laboratories that could produce your results even by the end of the day (albeit, it is extremely rare for institutions to do so unless necessary), most would often take a few days to a week before the results are either delivered or posted online through your secure personal profile (in the case of online transactions). In addition to that, the capability of the laboratory performing the test may also contribute to the overall timeframe of result delivery – causing delays in cases where there are several requests or understaffed to provide expedited results.
For more information, skip to the FAQs section on this page.
The rates of most common STDs, including syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea, are at an all-time high in the USA, as per a 2019 report from the CDC. Between 2017 and 2018, nearly 2.5 million cases were reported for the three abovementioned STDs. The report suggests that over 1.7 million chlamydia, 115,045 syphilis, and 583,405 gonorrhea cases were reported during this period.
In Alabama, two urban areas, Birmingham and Montgomery, were ranked among the top 20 cities in the USA that reported the highest STDs rates. This includes HIV and the three common STDs. In contrast, Huntsville and Mobile have listed among the top 100 worst US cities in STDs prevalence. It must be noted that Alabama has the 4th highest gonorrhea infection rate in the USA.
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The inclining number of congenital syphilis cases in Alabama a concerning issue for the state’s Department of Public Health as it had grown from 2 in 2013 to 20 in 2020. Reportedly, Alabama had 14 cases of congenital syphilis in 2019 and 20 cases in 2020, recording an increment rate of 35.5 cases/100,000 live births.
From 2019 to 2020, congenital syphilis cases in Alabama, marking a 143% increase. That’s quite a serious issue considering that congenital syphilis is preventable easily if early detection and treatment are ensured. Pregnant women must get themselves tested at least once every trimester and 30 days prior to delivery to make sure the unborn child doesn’t get infected with congenital syphilis.
The Alabama Department of Public Health encourages healthcare providers to screen all pregnant women vulnerable to syphilis infection, assess all pregnant females for symptoms, signs, or history of syphilis, and test them for syphilis at their first prenatal visit, then at 28 weeks, again at 32 weeks and before delivery.
It is one of the most pressing issues in Alabama because untreated syphilis during pregnancy may cause miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth, death soon after birth, neurological/physical defects in the newborn, and low birth weight. Infants born with congenital syphilis can have severe anemia, deformed bones, and enlarged spleen and liver. They may also be born with jaundice and brain/nerves-related health issues like deafness, blindness, and skin issues like rashes and meningitis.
In Alabama, STD/HIV home testing kits are also available by mail, particularly for men who have sex with men, transgender people, and people on PrEP therapy. People can request one test after every 3 months.
Across the state, it is possible to get tested for STDs for people of all ages due to the widespread network of screening facilities. The problem is that given its stigmatic nature, people refrain from getting tested and end up increasing the risk proportion for the entire community. Therefore, it is essential to get tested for STDs if you are sexually active.
According to the Alabama State Public Health Department, chlamydia is a commonly prevalent STI in Alabama and the USA. It is caused by the chlamydia trachomatis bacterium. It is the most commonly reported STI in both Alabama and the United States.
Gonorrhea is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium and is the 2nd most common STI in Alabama. The state reported the country’s 2nd highest rate for new infections trailed only Louisiana. Syphilis is caused by Treponema pallidum bacterium, and it is another commonly reported STI in Alabama. However, the state reportedly has a low rate of new primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis cases compared to the national statistics. These are the most infectious and life-threatening stages of syphilis.
Innerbody, an online medical and wellness testing platform, used CDC’s 2018 STD surveillance report to determine the overall STD rates across the USA. The assessment factored in HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. The study indicated that the two largest cities in Alabama, Montgomery, and Birmingham had the fifth and 20th highest STDs rates in the country in 2018. Montgomery metro reportedly had 2,400 STD cases/100,000 people. Five other Alabama cities made to the list, including Huntsville, which ranked 79th with 1,400 cases/100,000, and Mobile ranked 49 with 1,300 cases/100,000 people. Tuscaloosa ranked 57 with over 12,00 cases Decatur ranked 69 with less than 1,200 cases/100,000 people.
As per the STD surveillance report for January to March 2021, Black people reported the highest number of chlamydia cases compared to other races/ethnicities in Alabama. In 2018, there were 12,157 reported chlamydia cases among blacks, while so far, in 2021, the number is 2,264. Compared to 41% of all cases in the state back in 2018, there are already 32.4% cases reported in Alabama among blacks. It is worth noting that the data is for the first three months of 2021.
In contrast, whites reported 3,997 (13.6%) in 2018, and in 2021, the total new diagnoses so far are 781 (11.2%). Hispanics reported 556 chlamydia infections in 2019 with 1.9% of all cases, and in 2021, the total diagnoses are 133 with 1.9% of all cases. Gender-wise, in 2018, the reported chlamydia diagnoses among males was 9,013, and in 2021 it is 2,113. Conversely, females reported 20,285 cases in 2018, and in 2021, there have been 4,829 chlamydia diagnoses.
Gonorrhea infections among blacks are also on the rise compared to other races. In 2018, the number of gonorrhea infections was 6,222, with 48% of all cases in the state, while until March 2021, there have been 1.489 cases so far, which is 40% of all cases.
Whites reportedly accounted for 1,820 cases or 14.0% of all diagnoses in 2018, whereas in 2021, they have 429 or 11.7% diagnoses so far. Hispanics had 133 or 1% of all cases in 2018, and in 2021 there have been 27 gonorrhea diagnoses. In 2018, males reported 6,655 or 51% of all gonorrhea diagnoses, while in 2021, their rate is 50%, with 1,864 cases overall. Comparatively, females reported 48% of all infections in the state with 6,262 cases in 2018, and in 2021 they account for 48% of total gonorrheal infections with 1,798 cases.
Regarding P&S syphilis, black Alabamians reported 322 or 70% of all cases in 2018. In 2021 there have been 64 or 67% cases so far. In whites, the number of P&S syphilis diagnoses was 120 or 26% in 2018 while this year, they have reported 20 cases or 21% of all cases by March. Hispanics reported 4 cases in 2018, and 3 cases are reported by March 2021, marking 1.3% and 3.2% of all cases, respectively. Males reportedly had a higher proportion of P&S syphilis cases in 2018, with 81% of all cases compared to 71% among females. The situation is not too different. Currently, males have reported 74% cases, whereas females have 25% cases of syphilis.
STIs can be transmitted via sexual contact with an infected person. In Alabama, the Division of STI Prevention and Control of the ADPH is responsible for carrying out disease investigations and partner notifications for gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, HIV, and trichomoniasis. This division’s long-term goals include reducing STI incidence and their sequela to improve STI services integration into clinical care across the state’s healthcare system. Furthermore, the division aims to increase STI services’ access for most at-risk population segments and reduce the threat of antibiotic-resistant emerging STIs, congenital syphilis, and gonorrhea.
Moreover, the Alabama Department of Public health, with its 67 health departments, operates free and secretive/confidential STD clinics across the state. The department offers free testing and treatment facility for HIV, chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea.
The Alabama Department of Public Health Division of Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention and Control collaborated with Binx Health to implement home delivery STD/HIV test kits via mail. This initiative aims to promote STD/HIV testing among individuals at home to strengthen the STD/HIV control and prevention program in the state. There are particular criteria residents in Alabama have to meet to receive the testing kits. This facility is available to people who identify themselves as transgender people, men who have sex with men, and people on PrEP therapy.
The US government has been trying to consolidate efforts into making America an HIV-free country for quite some time now. According to the Center for Disease and Control (CDC) report Alabama had 16,200 cases in the year 2018. The annual HIV new diagnosis recorded in the same year was 508.
Considering the Census data, 2019 by the United States Bureau of Census, the total population of Alabama was 4.9 million. CDC indicates that the state of Alabama had a total of 16,200 active HIV cases, with 508 newly diagnosed cases in the year 2018. 17% of the population was not initially aware of their HIV-positive status, while 83% of the population was aware of their HIV status.
According to the HIV/AIDS report from AIDSvu the rate of people living with HIV in the state of Alabama per 100,000 population was 330. The rate of newly diagnosed cases per 100,000 population in 2018 was 15. There has been a steady increase in the number of newly diagnosed cases in Alabama. The numbers slowly increased from 481 newly diagnosed cases in the year 2015 to 508 in 2018. The increase in these numbers has been a cause of concern for the state authorities and programs regarding HIV awareness and treatments initiated to curb the spread of the virus.
As a part of the greater mission of the HIV-free Unites States, the government of Alabama initiated a few programs to prevent the spread of the virus and provide treatment options to the HIV patients in the state. In collaboration with various community partners, Alabama Public Health has a specialized program designed for HIV prevention and care in the state. This program works towards monitoring the spread of the virus, providing public awareness regarding HIV, preventing and reducing the behaviors that are responsible for the spread of HIV, and strengthening the current system to provide effective and efficient treatment services to the patients.
AIDS Alabama is yet another organization that provides several services related to HIV care and prevention. The vision of AIDS Alabama is to end the epidemic in the state and reduce the stigma related to the infection. This organization has friendly and culturally sensitive services for the LGBTQ and the black communities who are being most affected by HIV. AIDS Alabama provides housing, health services, awareness programs, insurance premiums to the low-income groups, and HIV testing and treatment options. This organization has prevention programs that educate the general public regarding HIV prevention, STI testing, counseling, and outreach services to the communities at risk of the virus.
Thrive Alabama is one of the programs actively contributing to HIV care and treatment in Alabama. Thrive Alabama provides a comprehensive package of HIV testing and diagnosis, treatment, and prevention programs. It also provides support group services as well as counseling to HIV patients. Services like chronic disease management, nutrition counseling, and mental health services are all available for the patients.
AIDSvu’s HIV/AIDS statistics from 2018 indicate that 72.8% males while 27.2% of the females were living with HIV in Alabama. Despite being 26 % of the total population in Alabama, the Black Americans were most affected by the virus. The total percentage of Black Americans living with HIV was 63.2%, 27% were White Americans, and 3.5% Hispanic or Latino. The rate of Black American males living with the virus was 5.3 times higher than White males. At the same time, the prevalence of HIV was 10.4 times higher in Black females than their white counterparts.
Of the newly diagnosed cases, 80.4 were males, and 19.6 were females. 71.7% of the total newly diagnosed cases were Black Americans, 21.9% were White Americans, and 2.6% were Hispanic. The age group of 25-34 years was most affected by the virus (33.9%), followed by adolescents and young adults, 13 to 24 years (30.6%). Of the new diagnosis, 15.2% were aged 35 to 44, 12.7% were aged between 45 to 54, while 7.6% of the total diagnoses were 55 years and above.
HIV-related mortalities in Alabama during 2018 were 127, while the rate of deaths per 100,000 population was 3. Of the total HIV-related mortalities, 73.2% were males, while 26.8% were females. In males, the modes of transmission of HIV were mainly due to male-to-male sexual contact (77.1%). Heterosexual contact in the affected males accounted for 10.8% of the spread, while 5.4% was spread due to injection use. In females, the maximum number of cases were reported due to heterosexual contact (83.9%), while 14.4% of the cases were due to injection & drug use.
Yes. Certain companies offer at-home testing kits wherein you are the one that will collect the specimens necessary for the test at the comfort of your own home. Sure, it might sometimes be subject to errors due to the potential contamination of the sample from collection to transportation, but it does offer a great deal of privacy and convenience for patients who would prefer to have their identities hidden in fear that their community will judge them.
Similar to how other testing procedures behave, false-positive results are still evident even in STD testing. False-positive and even false-negative results are standard instances that showcase the imperfection of the test’s design – a factor that is present everywhere. However, despite certain inconsistencies in laboratory tests as such, physicians commonly use confirmatory tests that would often take another path entirely to arrive at the same conclusion – solidifying the initial test’s diagnosis while still ensuring that the second test is not following the inconsistencies of the first.
It would vary depending on the condition that is being tested. STDs behave differently due to the varying pathogenicity of each STD’s causative organism. In some instances, you can get accurately tested as early as two weeks following exposure, while some are intermittently inaccurate due to its recurrence (much like in the case of herpes infections). To avoid this, be sure to discuss the intricacies of the test with your physician to understand whether a particular test could provide you with a conclusive diagnosis or if it still needs another confirmatory test to establish its premise.
A nucleic acid amplification test is a laboratory procedure that professionals often perform to make detecting a particular nucleic acid or gene being targeted easier and more convenient while still ensuring that the sample being collected is relatively minimal. Nucleic acid amplification tests, or NAATs, are usually the mainstay diagnostic test for most STDs due to their ability to detect the presence of pathogenic nucleic acids and genes in the patient sample with utmost accuracy and speed. NAATs depends on their ability to replicate the target RNA and DNA to create numerous copies – resulting in an increased convenience in the detection of the desired molecules instead of trying to either blindly look for one strand in a minuscule sample or collecting a large sample that could make the patient uncomfortable throughout the process. Although NAATs are often preferred for a more conclusive diagnosis of STDs, certain exceptions such as the availability of resources and instances of intermittent viral shedding could make NAATs less desirable than other tests. Fret not, however, as your physician is knowledgeable regarding these instances and would often request the best diagnostic procedure for your instances.
Similar to what was previously mentioned, herpes infections are known for their recurring tendencies – causing outbreaks now and then and thus causing an intermittent spike in the patient’s viral load for specific instances. In addition to that, other STDs also take time to proliferate and produce a sufficient viral load that could warrant a positive and, more importantly, accurate diagnosis and detection from the tests being administered. As such, detecting an STD a few days following exposure is often complex and unpredictable – leading physicians to follow a certain timeframe instead for testing STDs instead of blindly testing immediately following exposure. Physical exams, however, may supplement inaccurate laboratory diagnoses, especially in cases where the test is prone to false results.
How Does it Work?
Most people experience feelings of hesitation when going to get tested for STD, despite knowing they might have contracted one. EasySTD was created to change that.
Visit your nearest lab or clinic, order your home testing kit online, and follow the given instructions from an STD testing provider.
After ordering your STD test, visit the testing center to get tested or take a self sample including urine, cotton swab, or finger prick with the home testing kit and mail it back.
Receive the lab-certified results of your STD test from your test provider via mail or phone within 2 to 3 days. If the test comes positive, consult your doctor immediately.