Why Should I Get an STD Test?
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs, also called sexually transmitted infections or STIs) are very common. By age 25, roughly one in two sexually active people will get one. If you think it can’t happen to you…think again. Since STDs often show no symptoms, many of those infected don’t even know it. The only way to know if you or a partner has an STD is to get tested.
Not everyone likes to talk about their sexual history. But, before you start a new sexual relationship, it’s a good idea to talk with your partner about your sexual history and getting tested for STDs. After all, you are not just having sex with your partner but with everyone they’ve had sex with…and everyone they’ve had sex with…and well, you get the point.
Also, if you do end up testing positive for an STD, there’s good news: all STDs are treatable, and many are curable. Putting off getting care for an STD can have lasting health effects for both women and men, so get yourself tested.
Wouldn’t I know if my partner or I had an STD? The only way to know if you or anyone else has an STD is to get tested. You can’t always tell by the way someone “looks.” STDs are very common, and it only takes one sexual experience to get one. Even more to the point: STDs, including HIV, often have NO symptoms. Zero. That’s right. So, many people who are infected don’t even know it! Want to know for sure? Then get yourself – and your partner – tested. Knowledge is power! Know yourself. Know your status.
Which STDs should I get tested for? STD tests are specific to each infection. You and your health care provider will decide which STDs you should be tested for. But most importantly you need to speak up and ask to get tested. You can’t assume that you have been tested for STDs if you have had blood taken, given a urine sample, or (for women) had a pelvic exam or pap test. If you want to know, ASK to be tested.
What’s involved in STD testing? Okay, so you’ve decided to get tested. Now what? The type of test – or tests – you need can vary depending on your age, sex, sexual history, and which STD you’re getting tested for. Remember, there is no single test that can screen for all STDs.
Where do I go to get tested? Finding a testing center near you is quick and easy. Just enter your zip code in the testing center locator at www.GYTNOW.org
How much will it cost to get an STD test? Costs can vary from health center to health center, and depend on which tests you get. Many health centers and clinics offer low-cost or even free testing. Be sure to ask about cost when you call to make your appointment.
Acknowledgements: This fact sheet was adapted from ItsYourSexLife.com, a website that provides education about sexual health.