Getting tested for STIs and HIV is important for everyone. Once we are sexually active, it is our responsibility to ourselves and to our partners to make sure we have a clean bill of sexual health. But what about those of us who have become sexually experienced before the grand old age of 18? Here are some useful tips to help you in your endeavor in sexual responsibility and health!
Try to find an agency or clinic that is welcoming to youth under age 18. If this particular agency/clinic does not test on youth under18, ask for the name and contact information of an agency/clinic that does. (Hint: Planned Parenthood is generally pretty good about testing on anyone who requests it.)
Be honest about your age with the person performing your test. There is no need to lie about it.
Be honest about your answers. When answering the questions asked by your tester, make sure you are honest.
Be prepared for your results. If your results come back negative, great, be sure to come back if/when you have an experience with another partner, or six months following the first test. If your results come back positive for STIs, your tester should inform you of treatment steps from this point on. If you are keeping your testing or sexual experiences private from your guardian(s), this part can get a bit complicated. Ask your tester what treatment options are available without insurance, or what treatment options are available from youth-friendly centers.
If your results come back positive for HIV, your tester should inform you of treatment and support available from here. Usually agencies/clinics that offer testing also offer treatment and support options. If not, ask them where you can go to receive the care you need.
Getting tested. Your physician will not perform an STD/HIV screening unless you ask specifically for it. But you should be aware that your parents may receive notification from your insurance company that you have received these services. Further, in some states health care providers are permitted by law to inform your parents of your STI/HIV status. Learn which states here.
However, clinics that receive Federal Title X funds, including all Planned Parenthood clinics, MUST provide confidential services to minors. Each clinic works differently, so it’s always best to ask.
Acknowledgements: This fact sheet was adapted from AmplifyYourVoice.org, a website that provides education and advocates for youth.