The Commonwealth of Kentucky has relatively low rates of common, reportable sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and primary/secondary syphilis. However, the rates of all these three STDs are on the rise lately. Still, as per 2018-19 statistics, Kentucky is among the least affected states in the USA as far as common STDs are concerned.
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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 Kentucky. Check them out to find out which option is suitable for you.
This is one of the most popular ways to get tested for STDs today. These tests combine the best of both worlds for convenience and accuracy. You will order the test online at home, but you can walk into a professional lab testing center to get tested.
Another option is to simply visit your regular clinic and talk to your doctor.
If you do not want to visit a testing center, then a great alternative is an at-home test kit. You don’t even need to leave your house to get tested for STDs this way, which makes it the most discreet option. Everything is done through email and snail mail.
One last option for STD testing is a trip to a free clinic. If you go to a public STD-testing clinic, then you may get a free or discounted test, depending on your financial situation.
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.
Kentucky STD Data
As per the year 2017-18 STD surveillance data, Kentucky ranked 40th among all US states in chlamydia rates, with 435 cases. This is way lower than the national chlamydia rate. But, it is worth noting that the number of chlamydia cases in the state has risen about 10% over the past five years. In 2012, Kentucky reported 394 cases, which increased to 389 in 2013, 400 in 2014, and 435 in 2017-18. Despite that, Kentucky has the 2nd lowest chlamydia rate among other Southern states.
Gonorrhea prevalence in the state is fairly low and puts the state in the middle nationally. After population adjustment, Kentucky’s gonorrhea rate was 167.2 per 100,000 people in 2017. But, reportedly, gonorrhea rates have increased over 70% across the state since 2012. In 2012, Kentucky reported 97 cases/100,000 people, which increased slightly to 98 in 2013, and 98.6 in 2014 but jumped to over 167 by 2017-18. Still, Kentucky ranked in the bottom quarter in the Southern region.
A similar trend is noted in syphilis cases. Its prevalence in the state varies widely, especially since the past six years. But, it is still among the 25 states with the lowest primary/secondary syphilis rates. Kentucky has the third-lowest rate overall in the country, with 5.9 cases reported in 2018. It is reported that the rate of syphilis infections in Kentucky has almost doubled compared to the rate in 2012. Syphilis rates reportedly increased by 62% from 2014 to 2017. The rates were highest in Jefferson County during 2017-2018 with 46 cases/100,000 people, twice more than the statewide average of 16 cases. Jefferson County also recorded the highest number of gonorrhea cases, with 361/100,000 people.
In Kentucky state, a disparity is noted in heterosexual black females compared to white females. Black females comprise nearly 47% of all new HIV diagnoses, while 44% were reported among white females. On the contrary, white males reportedly had the highest diagnosis rate with 64%, whereas new diagnosis rates among black males were 30% in 2018. Around 56% of HIV cases in Kentucky were diagnosed in MSM (men who have sex with men), 14% got infected via heterosexual intercourse, 10% contracted the virus via IDU (intravenous drug use), and 5% contracted it through both means between 2007 and 2017.
In 2018, around 7,337 people were living with HIV in the state, and the number of newly diagnosed cases was 372, AIDSVu reports. As per the statistics shared by the DPH for Public Health's HIV/AIDS Surveillance Program, by 2018, around 10,567 total HIV infections were detected among Kentuckians since 1982. This shows, there has been a considerable rise in the infection rate over the past five years.
The department also noted that out of these reported infections, 63% progressed to AIDS. Reportedly, among the 3,924 cases diagnosed since 007, nearly 1,530 or 39% progressed to AIDS by June 2018. The department published its HIV Surveillance Report, 2018, where it was reported that the annual HIV diagnosis rates remained steady between 2007 and 2016, with 7.1 to 9.0 cases per 100,000 people.
However, in Kentucky, injection drug use is a leading risk factor for HIV transmission. As per a cluster investigation carried out in January 2018 in Northern Kentucky, injection drug use was higher in those newly diagnosed with HIV, reported the Kentucky Department for Public Health. Moreover, as noted above, the rate of new HIV diagnoses in white, non-Hispanic Kentuckians is much higher than anywhere in the USA (52% and 26%, respectively). This could be partially attributed to the greater percentage of the White population across the state.
The transmission of HIV disease via injection drug use is a cause of concern for the state's department of health and public health officials. The number of cases reported in Northern Kentucky only increased from 2 in 2014 to 29 in 2018, whereas statewide, HIV cases via injection drug usage rose from 22 in 2014 to 67 in 2018.
In Kentucky, STDs are regarded as a public health crisis, and the rates are inclining when the state is dealing with the opioid epidemic. In the past five years, the rate of STDs has included by 30%, while funding has declined significantly as the state’s attention is diverted towards the opioid issue.
“We are seeing an increasing number of syphilis and other STD outbreaks associated with the opioid crisis. As rates go up, funding has gone down. So while STDs have increased by 30 percent in the last five years to reach an all-time high, the amount of federal money for prevention and education has consistently gone down since 2003, [which is] critical for states like Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio,” said the spokesperson for the National Coalition of STD Directors, Matt Prior.
Despite the decrease in funding, Kentucky state has launched several initiatives to deal with the STD crisis. the Kentucky Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention and Control Program’s primary goal is to prevent the spread and complexities associated with STDs. This initiative is designed to extend care provision and testing/treatment facilities across the state for common STDs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, genital herpes, trichomoniasis, and bacterial vaginosis (BV).
In Kentucky, local health departments are required to offer the testing facility for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis and provide treatment to people diagnosed with, exposed to, or at risk of getting an STD. Patients with other STDs/STIs will receive counseling about their condition and be referred to a healthcare provider to treat the disease. A service fee is charged, but the diagnosis is kept confidential.
However, if patients cannot pay, they won’t be denied testing or treatment opportunities, as per the state law. Moreover, according to state law, those who tested positive for an STD will mandatorily receive help from local health departments, and the care providers will follow up with them. The only condition patients need to abide by is getting tested regularly.
In Jefferson County, the state’s most badly affected area in STD rates, health officials are mandated to offer testing at local STD clinics. They may also visit local correctional facilities to serve those at-risk people who cannot access health care. Unlike other states where expedited partner therapy is allowed (according to which doctors can offer prescriptions to both partners even if one of them visits them), Kentucky prohibits this practice.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health HIV/AIDS Section is responsible for assessing the current and future rates/impact of HIV in the state. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Department for Public Health (DPH) has implemented a new program in collaboration with the University of Kentucky called the Kentucky Income Reinvestment Program (KIRP).
This initiative aims to improve health care delivery across the state via disease prevention, education, treatment, and professional services for people living with HIV. This program is launched alongside the existing Ryan White HIV/AIDS funded programs already implemented in Kentucky and harm reduction programs at the statewide operating local health departments.
According to DPH commissioner Jeff Howard, "this collaborative partnership will strengthen our capabilities to combat the spread of HIV in the region. This program is a first step in creating a more innovative approach to reaching at-risk populations, strengthening our public health approaches to disease prevention and providing improved care."
This initiative will entail pilot programs to fund innovative HIV prevention projects across the state and address barriers in access to care and supportive services for high-risk populations and those living with HIV.
Apart from preventing new HIV cases, this program will also attempt to educate existing health care providers/under-training health professions' students to address mental health issues and substance use disorders hindering effective HIV and medical care.
To deal with HIV outbreaks, the state's law allows all county health departments to offer a syringe exchange program to reduce the spread of infection and reduce drug usage.
important initiative is Data
to Care public
health strategy, in which HIV surveillance data is used to identify people
living with HIV who aren't in care and link them to health care services. This
program is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also
supports them along the HIV care continuum.
According to the 2013 Kentucky Minority Health Status Report, the rates of STDs vary by disease, ethnicity, and race in the state. National statistics reflect that racial/ethnic minorities make up the largest share of STDs. In contrast, in Kentucky, the rates of chlamydia and syphilis are higher among whites, whereas gonorrhea cases are highest among the black population. On the other hand, Hispanics reported the lowest rates of all three common STDs between 2009 and 2013.
Similarly, teen pregnancy rates are constantly declining in whites, blacks, and Hispanics in Kentucky. Overall, teen pregnancy rates are higher among blacks and Hispanics compared to whites.
Interestingly, in this state, Hispanic and black populations are younger than whites and are more likely not to own homes, earn less, and lack health insurance. But, in terms of high school graduation, Asians, blacks, whites all have similar standing.
Kentucky health officials claim that opioid and meth abuse has contributed significantly to rising STD rates statewide, but it broke all previous records in 2017. Opioid users are at a higher risk of contracting infectious diseases because they are more prone to engaging in unsafe sexual behavior, such as having unprotected sex.
According to the HIV Surveillance Report 2018, since the earliest reported cases of HIV back in 1982, most of the diagnoses of HIV among Kentucky residents have been reported in males with 83% (8,739 cases overall). In terms of age at the time of diagnosis, males aged 30-39 comprised 34% of all HIV cases, which is higher than any other age group among males. The same age group accounted for the highest number of cases among White males.
On the other hand, among Black males, 35% of all reported cases in 2018 were diagnosed in people aged 20-29 years, whereas 29% of cases were diagnosed in the 30-39 age group. Around 40% of HIV diagnoses among Hispanic males were identified in the 20-29 age group, and the 40-49 age group reported the lowest number of cases in this ethnicity.
White males between the 40-49 age group accounted for 23% of all reported HIV cases in 2018, while 20% of black males were diagnosed with the virus. Only 6% of blacks diagnosed with HIV were in their teens at the time of diagnosis, and 2% of white and Hispanic males were in their teens, comparatively.
A similar pattern is noted among HIV-infected females. The highest number of HIV cases (32%) were diagnosed in females aged 30-39. The rate was almost similar for Black and White females, whereas Hispanic females aged between 20 and 29 reported the highest number of cases (46%).
highest number of cumulative HIV cases in 2018 determined the men having sex
with men (MSM) as the primary exposure route as 67% of all cases among males
had this cause of infection. Around 49% of adult females were exposed to the
virus via heterosexual contact with an HIV-infected or high-risk individual,
such as those who injected drugs.
Select a city below to see more local STD testing options
|Carlisle, KY||Sherman, KY|
|Sycamore, KY||Rockport, KY|
|Millville, KY||Nepton, KY|
|Freetown, KY||Kings Creek, KY|
|Saxton, KY||Bethlehem, KY|
|Rosspoint, KY||Sandy Gap, KY|
|Cave Spring, KY||Kiserton, KY|
|Bailey Creek, KY||Gilreath, KY|
|Capito, KY||Big Rock, KY|
|Sewellton, KY||Zion Hill, KY|
|Etna, KY||Cedar Grove, KY|
|Red Ash, KY||Crawford, KY|
|Caldwell, KY||Chappell, KY|
|Pinehurst, KY||Olympia Springs, KY|
|Glomawr, KY||Hunnewell, KY|
|Gus, KY||McCoy, KY|
|Pruden, KY||Welcome, KY|
|Yeaman, KY||Black Mountain, KY|
|Fannin, KY||Lakeside Park, KY|
|Fentress McMahan, KY||Falls of Rough, KY|
|Macon, KY||Minnie, KY|
|Aurora, KY||Morgan, KY|
|Estesburg, KY||Shopville, KY|
|Hopson, KY||Magee Springs, KY|
|Isom, KY||Huntersville, KY|
Although NAATs are well-known for their accuracy and sensitivity in detecting most STDs, it is also subject to certain inconsistencies, especially in the case of herpes infections. In Herpes, outbreaks often result in a relative increase in the patient’s viral load – leading to a timeline that usually has specific peaks at certain intervals instead of a consistent rise in viral load throughout. As such, sensitive tests such as NAATs are still unable to accurately diagnose herpes conditions, especially in cases where the patient has recently become asymptomatic and is currently between outbreaks. Other tests such as culture testing and type-specific virologic tests are often employed instead as a confirmatory diagnosis for the patient’s condition.
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 does vary on a case-to-case basis. Insurance policies are often particular with the instances that they would be covering with their program. Some may cover severe accidents, some may even consider “orphan disease,” and yes, some may also cover the expenses for performing STD diagnostic tests. However, considering that your insurance provider will have to verify the person's identity availing of the program, STD testing laboratories that employ a minimal collection of patient information may not accept insurance policies to prioritize privacy over affordability.
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.
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.
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.