How to Get Anonymous STD Testing: A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide

How to Get Anonymous STD Testing: A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide

STDs pose a significant health risk and can even be life threatening. Taking steps to protect yourself from contracting an STD is an important part of protecting your health.

However, no form of protection is 100% foolproof when it comes to STDs, so periodic testing to ensure that you have not contracted an STD is advisable for those who engage in sexual activity with multiple sexual partners, and it is necessary if you develop symptoms that may suggest you have contracted an STD.

Unfortunately, except for HIV testing, there are no anonymous STD tests in the United States.

The Difference Between Private and Anonymous STD Testing

There are many testing centers that advertise “private STD testing.” However, all STD testing is private, meaning that the laboratory does not give out your personal information to other people—unless required by law. In the United States, this means that the results—whether positive or negative—become part of your medical record, and if possible, the laboratory is required by law to notify the health department of your positive status. The lab does not need your permission to notify the health department that you have an STD, nor does it even need to inform you that it is sharing this information. This can result in the health department visiting your home unannounced to get the names and addresses of all your sexual partners, thereby leaving your privacy in shreds.

In most cases, the health department will then contact anyone with whom you have had sexual relations, so they can also be tested. They will sometimes give your name to these people, thereby further intruding on your privacy by sharing this sensitive information. They do this to protect the public from the spread of STDs, which—while good for the public—is not necessarily good for you. Keep in mind that the health department’s main goal is stop the spread of a contagious and communicable disease, and they are less concerned with desecrating your reputation by not protecting your privacy or anonymity.

Often, this lack of anonymity results in a reluctance to be tested, thereby jeopardizing individual and public health and putting others at risk for contracting STDs.

However, there is a way to get anonymous STD testing if you are willing to put in a little bit of effort and engage in a little deception. If you think you may have an STD but are reluctant to get tested due to the lack of anonymity, then read further to find out how to get an anonymous STD test.

How to Get an Anonymous STD Test

You can get an anonymous STD test simply by using your computer and creating a new identity for testing purposes.

Here are the steps you need to take:

1. Use private browsing sessions to get the information you need

Your computer is normally set so that others can see the sites you browse. However, every browser offers you the choice of a private browsing session. Ensure that you select either “private browsing” or “incognito” before setting up your new identity to get an anonymous STD test. If you want to be extra careful, then you may want to choose to use a computer other than your home computer.

2. Create a new name and birthdate

The first thing you need to do is to select a new name and birthdate to use for the STD test. You need to pick a name that sounds realistic, not the name of an actor, or one that sounds false. You will also need to pick a birthdate that you can easily remember.

3. Get a new email account

You will also need to sign up for a new email account using your new name and birthdate. It is best to choose a different email provider than you normally use. For example, if your email provider is AOL, then you may want to choose Yahoo! or Gmail for the new account so that there is no way the new email account can be linked to your regular email provider.

4. Get a temporary phone number

To sign up for an email account, you will need to have a phone number for verification purposes. Additionally, the lab will need to call you with your STD results. Your current phone number can be traced back to you, so you must get a temporary phone number to use until after you get your test results back. There are apps (e.g., Hushed) that will give you a disposable number that is good for five days. You will need an email address to get the temporary number, but you can use the email you are creating to get the temporary number, and then use the temporary number to finish filling out the email form.

5. Search for STD labs near you

Once you have your new identity, email, and phone number set up, then you must find an STD lab near you to get tested. You can also decide to do a home test, but home tests only test for four major STDs, whereas labs can check for up to 10.

6. Decide which STDs you want to get tested for

Once you have found a lab near you, then you must decide which STDs you want to be tested for. You can choose to be tested for a single STD, or for the entire panel if you want to ensure that you are completely STD-free.

7. Calculate the cost

Once you have decided which STDs you want to get tested for, then you must calculate how much these tests will cost. Don't order the tests yet; just find out the cost, and then close your browsing session.

8. Get a gift card to cover your test costs

Once you have calculated the test costs, you must have a way to pay for the tests. You can't use your credit card, as that gives your real name, so you will either need to get a gift card—which is anonymous—or pay cash for your tests. A gift card is best because you can order the lab tests online and use the gift card to pay for the tests in advance.

9. Order the tests and get tested

When you order the tests online, a form will be sent to your email account, which you must fill out using your new identity. When you go in to take the test, the laboratory will either call you by your assumed name or by a case number. Leave all information on your real identity in your car before entering the lab. The laboratory that will be taking the sample for your STD tests will conduct a variety of different tests for several different STDs. Labs normally don't ask why you are there, but if they do, then merely tell them that you are there for a diagnostic test. Give the lab your sample and leave. Get rid of your copy of the test form as soon as possible.

You should get your test results via email within the next few days.

Negative Test Results

If your test results are negative, and you don't have any symptoms, then you can breathe easily and go on with your life. If you were having symptoms before the STD test, then you may want to seek the advice of your regular doctor, under your real name, since there may be other medical issues that need your attention.

Positive Test Results

If the test results are positive, then call the laboratory and ask to speak to a doctor on staff to ensure that you understand the test results and to discuss treatment options. Many types of STDs require antibiotics. If antibiotics are needed, then the doctor on staff will either write you a prescription or call one into a pharmacy for you. If they call in the prescription, then they will use your assumed name, so you must tell them to call the prescription into a pharmacy that doesn't know you.

You can’t use your credit or debit card when paying for the prescription, so ensure that you have enough cash to pay for the prescription.

Removing All Traces of the Test

Once you have your test results and have taken steps to get treatment, if necessary, then you must remove all traces of the test to ensure that your test remains anonymous. You must shred the gift card that you used to pay for the test and throw out your copy of the test form from the lab.

Now, you must go onto your computer and remove the email account that you used to fill out the test form. Don't print out any results from your test or keep any copies that may be found by others.

Your Responsibility to Notify Your Sexual Partners

Keep in mind that while anonymous STD testing ensures that you keep your medical conditions private, it is still your responsibility to notify your sexual partners if you tested positive for any type of STD.

There are several reasons you should notify your sexual partners of your positive results, including:

  • Not everyone with an STD shows symptoms immediately. Your partner could have an STD without knowing it, thereby putting them and their other sexual partners at risk.
  • You don't want to be responsible for the health or possible death of another person because you failed to notify them that they were at risk.
  • Notifying your sexual partners is the only way to stop the further spread of STDs—and even prevent an epidemic in the area where you live.

You must also keep in mind that if your sexual partners decide to get tested, and they test positive, then they may then name you as one of their partners, and the health department will let you know that you should get tested. However, if you were treated with antibiotics immediately after your anonymous test, then any further test results will typically be negative, so there will be no way that the STD can be traced back to you.

If you are typically a sexually active person, then it is important to protect both your health and anonymity. By making a little effort and following a few simple steps, you can rest assured that you can maintain good sexual health—as well as complete privacy—by getting the tests and treatment that you need.

So, why hesitate? Get an anonymous STD test done immediately and protect yourself and your future—as well as your sexual partners—by ensuring that you are treated. Your sexual health is your responsibility, so don't put your health at risk for fear that your results will not remain anonymous.

Mark Riegel, MD

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