More often than not, the health departments provide confidential clinics that offer free STD testing particularly HIV but will also offer tests on other sexually transmitted diseases. Some confidential clinics even offer tests for viral hepatitis. The good news is there are wide options of clinics that you can go for. You can even easily find the addresses, contact numbers and clinic hours online.
While it’s important for your health and alleviates the anxiety that comes with not knowing, the process of being tested for sexually transmitted diseases can be overwhelming.
One aspect that makes people nervous is the cost. How much is the bill going to be? Thankfully, you can get a yearly STI exam done that costs you very little and, in some cases, nothing at all! The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) suggests that people get tested every year, but the truth is, any time you have a new sex partner, you should be tested.
Where can you go to get tested without paying a lot of money?
If you lack health insurance, a local Planned Parenthood can help with STI checks for little to nothing out of pocket. The amount you pay is based on income and household size.
You can also find a local Title X clinic, which uses government money to provide affordable reproductive healthcare to destitute individuals. These clinics work with local, state, national and federal entities to offer a broad range of reproductive care providers. While it’s usually used as a method to get low-cost birth control, several providers do offer preventative testing.
For people with insurance, the ACA (also known as Obamacare) requires that every insurance plan offers yearly STI testing and preventative care. This goes for Medicare and private insurance. Screenings included in the coverage are chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HPV, HIV and HIV prevention counseling.
When getting tested through your health insurance, you must ensure the doctor submits the claim as preventative testing, as that’s what the ACA coverage is for and what you pay is based on the designation. If you suspect an issue, your doctor may designate as something else, but if you’re at your yearly checkup, the tests should be covered.
There is a multitude of AHF wellness centers across the U.S. that provide free screenings. Together with Out of the Closet, a thrift store chain, a counselor will test you for STIs. If you shop at the store, a donation of $0.96 is donated to the AHF HIV/AIDS program.
Quite a few colleges and universities provide STI and HIV testing to its students in the campus health center. This is significant since there are 20 million new STI cases every year, with half of the new infections occurring in individuals between 15 and 24 years old.
Many colleges and universities request students to have health insurance while others request a small fee for every visit. It may be best to visit a local clinic where you pay next to nothing for your tests.
LGBTQ+ Clinics provide services for the lower-income LGBTQ+ community members. You may need to do a search for these clinics to find one in your area or one close to you.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
Help stop the spread of STDs by knowing your status. Get tested today!