The United States is tackling a major and unprecedented sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) epidemic. The current STD rates are startling. In Utah state, the STD rates are at an all-time high, mirroring the national trend.
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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 Utah. 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.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been a continuing and troubling trend of persistently rising STD rates in the past five years. This is specifically noted in the most common STDs, namely syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Since 2013, the CDC has observed a steady rise in the cases of these STDs, including all stages of syphilis.
The three reportable STDs can cause significant harm to those that get infected. Lifelong health issues, pain, and infertility are common complications that emerge from untreated STDs. In some cases, especially with syphilis, the health consequences are far more severe as it may lead to a permanent disability or death. With such an enormous increase in the number of cases, the number of adverse health outcomes also increases. Given Utah's under-resourced public health system, it is a great struggle to keep up with the rapidly rising number of STDs cases.
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STDs, inherently, are social diseases and linked intrinsically to social determinants of health. Certain groups of population in Utah, such as the poor, minorities, and men who have sex with men (MSM), bear a disproportionate burden of STD prevalence. These groups are generally less able to receive timely and appropriate care. These populations are also subject to risky lifestyles and behaviors that eventually prove more conducive to STD transmission than other people. That's why every sexually active individual need to get tested for STDs regularly, as you may never know if and from where you've contracted the disease.
Generally, STDs share similar transmission pathways, especially the three reportable STDs mentioned above, which are comorbid with other STDs and HIV. The increased threat of coinfection makes the risk even more severe and further adds to the struggles the public health department faces in high-burden communities.
The fact that STDs are preventable and treatable if diagnosed early makes it all the more important for you to get tested. Unfortunately, factors like stigma, poverty, discrimination, unemployment, lack of access to care, inadequate resources, and inequity have proven to be critical barriers in curbing STDs rates. Luckily, there has been a substantial improvement in care provision and access to testing and treatment facilities in Utah state. You can easily find an STD testing center or clinic nearby, which usually offers a free-testing facility.
Remember that all STDs may not be life-threatening, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, but these can lead to serious health issues like ectopic pregnancy, infertility, and pelvic pain. Those infected with human papillomavirus are at an increased risk of developing genital, cervical, and oral cancers. To prevent your health from permanent deterioration, it is better to get tested for STDs annually.
In Utah, public health services are administered locally and offered directly through public health clinics or via contract-based relationships with providers. This includes community-based clinics like FQHCs, Title X Family Planning clinics, and Planned Parenthood clinics.
CDC funds the Utah State Health Department to channel resources for reducing STDs incidences using science-based prevention and control methods. Utah's STD prevention program focuses on devising high-impact, cost-effective, scalable, and sustainable STD control services. Utah State is part of a network of STD programs that gather additional information from across the state to identify and report STD trends quickly.
Every county and district in Utah has a dedicated STD control program. For instance, the Salt Lake County Health Department STD Clinic and Prevention Program is responsible for offering effective STD prevention education and low-cost testing and treatment via utilizing the latest technology. Similarly, Utah County and Davis County have their dedicated Sexually Transmitted Diseases Programs that focus on disease surveillance and preventing infection transmission while ensuring extensive availability of testing facilities.
According to the state health department, in Utah, all four STDs that the depart tracts, including HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea, are on the rise. However, it is gonorrhea that is going viral across the state. For instance, in 2011, Salt Lake County reported 200 gonorrhea cases annually, which increased to 669 in 2013 and dramatically rose to 998 in 2014. In 2016, the county reportedly recorded 1,024 gonorrhea cases, which was 5 times higher than the levels reported in 2010-11.
According to the CDC, in 2013, Utah ranked 38th among the 50 states for syphilis rates, 44th in gonorrhea rates, and 48th in the number of chlamydia cases. In Salt Lake County, around 4,500 chlamydia cases are reported annually, making it the state's most commonly and frequently reported STD. However, the state's gonorrhea rates are rising faster and may overtake the state's and national average in the near future.
Other STDs are also rising steadily. In Davis County, there was a 17% increase in Chlamydia cases, a 122% increase in gonorrhea cases, and a 91% rise in cases of syphilis during 2016-2017. A similar trend was noticed in Weber and Morgan counties, where chlamydia rates were higher than anywhere else in the state, with around 318 cases/100,000 people reported in these counties in 2017 against 251 cases/100,000 people across the state. Utah County isn't too far behind, as, in 2018, there were more cases reported of chlamydia than influenza.
Statewide, the number of STDs cases has continued to rise since 2011. In 2015, there were over 1,000 chlamydia cases, which increased to 1,058 in 2016, 1,190 in 2017, and reached 1,257 in 2018. Furthermore, there were 139 gonorrhea cases reported in 2015, 167 cases in 2016, 200 cases in 2017, and 225 cases in 2018. Regarding syphilis, the state reported 13 cases in 2015, 21 cases in 2016, 21 cases in 2017, and 36 cases in 2018.
STDs, although prevail more in people having a history of incarceration and MSM, Utah's gonorrhea outbreak is increasing faster in the general public. A majority of the infections are reported among 15 to 34-year-old white males and females. That's surprising because, historically, STDs have been disproportionately prevalent in Hispanic and Black communities. It is a fact that Utah, historically, has had low STD rates in comparison to other states, but there has been a sudden upsurge in the recent past.
Around 60% of reported STD cases were diagnosed in people aged 15 and 24 years of age. In 2019, the overall chlamydia infection rate in Utah state was 345.4 cases/100,000 residents. There was a 37% decrease in teen births between 2013 and 2018, from 20 to 13 births/1,000 females aged 15 to 19, respectively.
In 2019, gonorrhea rates were higher among males aged 25-29, with 352.2 cases/100,000 people, and for the 30-34 age group, the number of cases was 297/100,000 people. Among women, the highest number of gonorrhea cases was reported in 20 to 24-year-olds with 227.4 cases/100,000 females. Interestingly, there were zero cases of congenital syphilis in Utah from 2011 to 2015.
As far as race and ethnic disparities are concerned, African-Americans are the most impacted population in Utah. In 2019, blacks reportedly accounted for 1,419 chlamydia cases, followed by Latinos/Hispanics with 624.4 cases, and 230.8 cases in whites, per 100,000 people. A similar trend was observed in the number of gonorrhea cases per 100,000 people, with blacks reporting 507 of total diagnoses, Latinos/Hispanics reporting 152.6 cases, and whites reporting 65.7 cases of gonorrhea. Primary and secondary syphilis rates in 2019 revealed that blacks reported 21 cases, Hispanics/Latinos were the second most affected group with 6.7 cases, and whites reported 3.7 cases per 100/000 people.
Utah state code supports an abstinence-based sexual education program. The program promotes celibacy as the best and most effective way to prevent disease and pregnancy. Teachers aren't allowed to encourage or promote premarital or extramarital sexual activity. The state has developed new sex education standards. Still, there haven't been many changes in the curriculum except that it offers information on the different contraception methods, such as birth control pills. The new standard will include lessons for students from kindergarten through second grade. Parents will be allowed to opt-in their kids for the middle and high-school sex education units. The curriculum will also include a discussion on pornography addiction.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.