Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are pretty common in Montana, as over 75 new infections are reported in the state every week. State health officials agree that STDs have been showing an upward trend in Montana lately and reached record highs in all three common, reportable STDs, namely gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia.
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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 Montana. 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.
Montana STD Data
According to the STDs surveillance report 2018 released by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), a significant increase in STDs is noted statewide. In 2018, the state reported 4,950 new chlamydia cases, at least 383 cases more than the number reported in 2017.
However, the state is more impacted by gonorrhea as cases consistently rise every year. The state recorded a whopping 51% increase compared to 2017, with 1,183 new cases in Montana. The rate of gonorrhea cases had previously declined in the state, but 2018 numbers indicate a record increment in gonorrheal infections in the past 30 years.
As per 2019 statistics, gonorrhea rates continued to increase, touching new heights compared to the past seven years with 1,500 cases. DPHHS's STD/HIV program manager Dana Fejes stated that considering these numbers, it is safe to assume that gonorrhea cases haven't been this high in the past four decades.
In 2018, over 45 syphilis cases were reported, along with 24 newly diagnosed HIV cases. Around 66% of new syphilis cases were reported among men who have sex with men, and 65% of those who tested positive for syphilis claimed they used online dating sites to find new partners.
"Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are, generally speaking, on the rise even in the nation, so in Montana, we're not immune to that," said Fejas, M.P.H.
Cascade and Yellowstone are identified as the most affected counties regarding the spread of gonorrhea and syphilis in 2019. In addition, Gallatin county has reported a sharp rise in chlamydia cases with a total of 545 cases in 2018, up from 349 cases in 2014. This county reported 25 gonorrhea cases in 2018 and 49 cases in 2019.
This is a concerning issue since people with an STD are more at risk of contracting HIV because similar behaviors and circumstances make people vulnerable to getting STDs and HIV. Such as unprotected sex, multiple and/or anonymous partners, and blood transfusion.
The land of the shining mountains, one of the popular names of Montana, is given to it because of its natural beauty. Montana is the fourth largest state of the country in terms of area and the seventh least populated state having a total population of roughly about a million. However, the state has been dealing with the HIV pandemic since long and the rates are currently touching their record highs.
Considering the data from CDC, during 2015, a total of 39,393 people were newly diagnosed with HIV and most of them were adolescents newly diagnosed with HIV. Hence, Montana was declared the 48th most impacted of the 50 U.S states as far as the number of HIV diagnoses is concerned.
There has been a slight increase in the number of newly diagnosed cases of HV in Montana. According to a report by AIDSVu, in 2018, the total number of newly diagnosed cases in Montana climbed to 23. The same report indicates that the total number of HIV-positive people living in the state was 644.
Despite the health authorities' efforts in Montana, HIV cases are on a slow rise. A news source from 2020 indicated that approximately 728 people were living with HIV/AIDS in Montana. Although HIV cases are more prevalent in metropolitan areas, small cities could be equally affected. Recent statistics suggest that Yellow Stone, Missoula, Gallatin, Flathead, and Ravalli counties were most affected by HIV.
Chlamydia, caused by Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium, is one of Montana's most commonly reported infectious diseases. According to the DPHHS STDs surveillance report 2018-2019, since 2012, chlamydia rates in Montana have increased substantially, particularly in females, as in 2018, 3,229 or about 65% of all reported cases were diagnosed in females. The greater proportion of diagnosis could be attributed to testing recommendations as it results in more females seeking medical care than males and being tested more often.
Furthermore, the highest number of chlamydia cases, almost 35%, was diagnosed among people aged 20–24 years compared to any other age group. The white population was the most vulnerable group as 69% of chlamydia infections were diagnosed in 2018, followed by American-Indians with 23%. It is worth noting that American-Indians are disproportionally affected by chlamydia despite that this group makes up just over 6% of Montana's total population.
Gonorrhea, caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium, is the second most commonly reported STD in Montana. In 2018, the state reported 1,176 cases, which is higher compared to the past ten years. Until 2012, gonorrhea incidence was under control in Montana, but the rate has increased steadily since, from 10.7 in 2012 to 81.9 per 100,000 in 2015.
Between 2015 and 2017, the number of gonorrhea cases leveled off slightly but again increased by a staggering 50% in 2018 with 111.9 cases per 100,000 people. Most gonorrhea cases were reported in 20-24 and 25-29 age groups as these collectively account for over 50% of all reported cases. Among these groups, 55% or 427 cases were reported in females, and 211 cases were diagnosed in the 20-24 age group, out of which 108 or 51% occurred among females.
As is the case with chlamydia, Montana's American Indians are disproportionately impacted by gonorrhea. This population group makes up 40% of all infections despite comprising just over 6% of the state population. Still, the white population accounted for the highest prevalence of gonorrheal infections, with 49% of all diagnoses in 2018.
The rates of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis increased slightly in Montana in 2015 and reached a record high in 2017 with 48 cases per 100,000 population. In 2018, 45 cases were reported to DPHHS, most of whom were males (72%). P&S syphilis rates were higher in men who have sex with men (64%) than women, and the white population had a higher number of cases with 33%.
According to data from AIDSVu, there were a total of 644 people living with HIV in Montana in 2018. The rate of people living with HIV in the state per 100,000 population was 72. Among the diagnosed individuals, 84.5% were males, while 15.5% were females. The same report indicates that most of the diagnosed cases came from the age group 55 years and above (35.9%), 28.6% of the diagnosis was made in the age group 45 to 54 years, 20.7% in 35 to 44 years, followed by 12.9% and 2.0% in 25-34 years and 13 to 24 years consecutively.
Research conducted by the Department of Public Health and Human Services and published in HIV surveillance report, 2018, the total number of newly diagnosed HIV cases in the state was 24. Out of 24, six of the patients were diagnosed with the virus at the same time. The same report revealed that around 74% of the reported cases were of individuals from Non-Hispanic (White) backgrounds, followed by 8% American Indians, 3% Black/African Americans, 8% Hispanic, and 6% non-Hispanic individuals.
As per AIDSVu, the number of HIV-related mortalities during 2018 was 11. The rate of HIV-related mortalities per 100,000 population was 1. 90.9% were males while 9.1% were females. The same report indicates that the most common modes of transmission of HIV in males were male to male sexual contact (66.4%), heterosexual contact accounted for 5.0% of the total number of diagnoses, and 8.6% of the cases were reported due to the use of contaminated injections. In females, the most common mode of transmission of HIV was heterosexual contact 61.0%, and 38 % of the cases were reported due to contaminated injection use.
Montana State has declared transmission of STDs by an infected individual to an uninfected individual as a misdemeanor. Though the state law doesn't provide a comprehensive outline of prohibited activities, exposure to STDs through sexual contact especially unprotected contact, and sharing needles will result in up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.
In Montana, Planned Parenthood clinics operate extensively to offer rapid testing and screening services for infectious diseases. The clinics receive government funding, and their fees are determined on a sliding scale. This means your fees are calculated according to your income, assistance eligibility, and demographic factors. Planned Parenthood offers testing, diagnosis, and treatment services for STDs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital warts, bacterial vaginosis, herpes, syphilis, and HIV. The clinics offer STD prevention guidance, safer sex education, and vaccinations services as well. Rapid testing results can be obtained within just 20 to 30 minutes.
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, STD/HIV/Hep C Programs utilizes CDC recommendations for STD/HIV prevention among adolescents and adults and offers guidance to high-risk population groups regarding prevention efforts. The department has initiated a Get Checked Montana initiative. Under this program, the state offers facilities like behavioral risk counseling services and MpowerMT groups and engages with users via social marketing to promote STD/HIV screening. The DPHHS also funds organizations to encourage statewide testing, outreach, and prevention activities.
Furthermore, the Montana health department is currently working on a brand-new statewide media campaign to raise awareness about the increasing rate of STDs and inform residents about how they prevent infections. The campaign will target dating apps and social media users and will post awareness messages on these platforms. Since STDs impact a large number of American-Indians, therefore, the state offers low-cost testing facilities at tribal clinics and Indian Health Services.
Montana, as a state, has so much to offer to people who are diagnosed with HIV. Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services provides a comprehensive patient care package for HIV patients. It helps the low-income and the under or uninsured optimal care and treatment. The program receives funding from the federal initiative, Ryan White Part B, to provide medications, support services, housing, treatment, and financial assistance to HIV patients.
The AIDS Drug Assistance Program, ADAP, assists the HIV patients of Montana by providing FDA-approved medications for the virus. The recipient of the assistance must be a citizen of Montana and belong to a low-income group.
Open Aid Alliance is an initiative that provides housing facilities to people living with HIV in Montana. The initiative also aims to provide counseling and support group services to the patients with the housing.
Select a city below to see more local STD testing options
|Geraldine, MT||Rochester, MT|
|Billings, MT||Warren, MT|
|West Glendive, MT||Hamen, MT|
|Hamilton, MT||Danielsville, MT|
|Zero, MT||Willard, MT|
|Winifred, MT||Skyline, MT|
|Sangrey, MT||Lindsay, MT|
|Garrison, MT||Lingshire, MT|
|Gearing, MT||Ohio Camp, MT|
|Busby, MT||Crow Rock, MT|
|Wilborn, MT||Eagle Creek Colony, MT|
|Power, MT||Blackwood, MT|
|Trego, MT||Elkhorn Hot Springs, MT|
|Lennep, MT||Clearwater, MT|
|Borax, MT||Hillside Colony, MT|
|Eureka, MT||Trident, MT|
|Jens, MT||Post Creek, MT|
|Amazon, MT||Pondera Colony, MT|
|Catron, MT||Raynesford, MT|
|Elton, MT||Agency, MT|
|Herron, MT||Louisville, MT|
|Jackson, MT||Thompson Falls, MT|
|Ramsay, MT||Sula, MT|
|Apgar, MT||Heart Butte, MT|
|North Browning, MT||South Glastonbury, MT|
It is recommended to get tested for STDs if you have had unprotected sexual contact, multiple sexual partners, or if you are experiencing symptoms associated with STDs. Additionally, regular testing is recommended as part of routine sexual health care, even in the absence of symptoms, especially for individuals who are sexually active.
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.
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.
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.
Depending on the test being performed and the testing physician's targeted diseases, various types of samples can be requested from you. In some instances, a minuscule blood sample of a few milliliters will be collected, some might ask for a urine sample, and others may opt for a genital swab. Again, the sample being collected will depend on the test being conducted and the outcome that is being targeted for this particular procedure.
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.