North Carolina is among those U.S. states where cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia, and syphilis, are on the rise. Where some states criminalize the transmission of STDs, North Carolina, by law, doesn't. Instead, the state's law requires that anyone with HIV must comply with specific regulations to control the disease's spread. However, if an HIV infected person exposes another person to the virus, they could be charged with assault.
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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 North Carolina. 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.
It is a fact that in North Carolina, fewer young people are indulging in early sex and teen pregnancy rates in the state are at historic lows. However, people in general and teens, in particular, are still contracting STDs in North Carolina. In fact, the state has been observing some of the highest gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis rates, according to the 2018-19 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It is important to note that any sexually active person can get an STD, as per CDC, so regular screening becomes so important. Moreover, STDs can be prevented by adopting the necessary preventive measures and early diagnosis through testing to help treat the disease timely. Women can be infected with syphilis when they are pregnant, and if it is not detected during the first trimester, the disease could be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of their unborn child.
CDC's STD Prevention Division director Gail Bolan stated that each baby born with syphilis indicates the failure of the whole system. Screening is the only way to detect STDs at the right time and prevent further damage.
Avoiding STDs is the responsibility of every individual living in a high-risk region, such as North Carolina. However, even using condoms to avoid them isn't a 100% effective prevention strategy, and you may still get the infection. Hence, every couple should get tested for STDs even if they do not feel any symptoms.
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North Carolina is one of the worst hit states as far as the rates of STDs are concerned. Innerbody.com identified in a study using CDC data from the year 2018 to rank states with the highest/lowest STD rates in the USA. North Carolina's rank was six among the ten high-risk states with the greatest number of cases. North Carolina had reported around 91 376 cases of STDs, which is an alarming situation for a state with roughly 10.3 million residents. This means the state has recorded 889 cases per 100,000 residents.
In North Carolina, the report claims there were over 66,500 cases of chlamydia, over 23,700 cases of gonorrhea, and around 1,100 syphilis cases recorded between 2017 and 2018,
As per the North Carolina 2019 annual STDs statistics, the number of chlamydia cases diagnosed in the state was 71,295, which means the disease impacts 679 people per 100,000. That's a considerable increment from the year 2018 number of cases. If we compare it with the 2015 data, there is a 20% increase in chlamydial infections as the total diagnoses were 39,798 in 2015. Among males, the diagnoses increase by 61%, primarily because men were screened more than women.
In 2019, the total reported gonorrhea cases were 26,643, which means the disease affected 254 people per 100,000 residents. This rate was 23,700 in 2018. In North Carolina, gonorrhea cases have been steadily inclining for the past few years. In 2015, the total number of reported gonorrhea cases was 17,051, at 170 per 100,000 people.
Gonorrhea cases increase more in females as the rate of diagnoses increased by 47% in 2019. The total number of cases in females was 8,570 in 2015, whereas in 2019, the figure jumped to 12,617. Among males, there was a 66% increase in gonorrhea diagnoses. In 2015, around 8,475 males were diagnosed with gonorrhea in North Carolina, and in 2019 nearly 14,026 men were diagnosed with the disease. In terms of the total number of people diagnosed with gonorrhea during the 2018-2019 period, men reported a higher percentage. Compared to 49% in 2015, male diagnoses increased to 53%.
There are three stages of syphilis, primary, secondary, and early non-primary/non-secondary. In North Carolina, the number of early-stage syphilis cases in 2019 was 2,115, which is approximately 20 cases per 100,000 people. The rate of syphilis transmission has slightly increased in North Carolina, compared to the year 2017-18 statistics. In 2017 a total of 1,911 cases were diagnosed, and in 2018 around 1,910 cases were reported, with 18.6 and 18.4 people diagnosed per 100,000 population. Moreover, in 2019, 27 infants were born with congenital syphilis, a startling increment compared to the 19 probable cases of infant congenital syphilis in 2018.
The Guttmacher Institute reported that in the U.S., on average, young people, which includes those in their early teens, become sexually active at about age 17, and they generally get married in their 20s. The timeline is crucial as they may be exposed to STDs and young females are at a higher risk of unintended pregnancy.
In North Carolina, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV cases have been continually increased since 2015, and the syphilis rate has been relatively the same. In 2016, the state reported 16 infants born with congenital syphilis and two stillbirths due to syphilis. The North Carolina health department reported that STD infection rates were higher among particular racial/ethnic groups. This could result from wealth distribution gaps and poverty that prevent people from getting screened timely and regularly.
Those who cannot meet their basic survival needs will certainly find it difficult to access quality sexual health services. This demographic group has trouble accessing testing facilities.
Comparing the trend of people getting diagnosed with an STD in 2018 in the state, the department identified that most of them belonged to the group living below the poverty line in the state's census tract or coming from a poor neighborhood. Those living in localities with a higher rate of people living below the poverty line were at a higher risk of getting infected and diagnosed with an STD.
The highest number of chlamydia incidence rates was reported in African-Americans in North Carolina compared to other races, including Whites. On the other hand, people aged between 20 and 24 reported the highest rate of chlamydia diagnoses, followed by people between ages 15 and 19 and ages 25 and 29. Around two-thirds of the chlamydia, diagnoses were reported among females.
The government and the North Carolina Health Department have been striving hard to address the inclining rates of STD infections. Public health workers constantly target young men who have sex with men (MSM) and men of color to get them screened. The state's high-risk counties, including Orange, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Wake, Durham, and Forsyth, are the main focus of these efforts. The state runs a peer-to-peer program designated for people at risk of contracting an STD or HIV. for this program. Facilitators are hired from within the community to spread awareness about the dangers of not getting screened for the infection.
The state has also designed a comprehensive sexual education curriculum, including information on STDs and syphilis prevention. Disease Investigation Specialists (DIS's) also outreach those individuals diagnosed with HIV or syphilis. They test partners in the field and diagnose syphilis cases.
However, in North Carolina, there's a dire need to address prejudicial and inequity-based health care systems to prevent the incline in the rates of STD transmissions. In this regard, the state's health department runs a cultural competency training program with health care providers to offer care to people facing discrimination.
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.
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.
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 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.