How to Get (Free or Low Cost) STD Testing

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LOVE IS IN THE AIR!

Or maybe it isn’t and you are swiping through Tinder profiles to find one that will spark joy?

Either way, with Valentine’s around the corner, we want to dive into the romantic world of...STD testing! While it might not be the sexiest thing to talk about, it is definitely important!

Here are just a few of our favorite things about STD testing:

  1. You can do it at your doctor’s office

  2. You can do it at home

  3. You can often do it for free

  4. STD testing and treatment now can prevent lifelong problems

  5. You can do it with your partner..nothing says exciting third date like couples STD testing together.

Below are some of the top ways you can find STD testing:  

1. CDC Get Tested

How It Works: Type your zip code into the website and it will pull up a list of STD/STI testing centers near you. You can also check the box for “Free/Low Cost” to see centers that offer it at a lower price. These are often local nonprofits or your health department.

Tip: Just because the centers say “Free or Low Cost” doesn’t mean you should assume it is a good deal. Many of these centers do offer free or low cost testing, but it could vary based on your income or situation. We recommend calling a few of the centers to learn more about pricing before going in.

2. Through your health insurance plan

Getting an STD screening from your doctor is easy. All you need to do is schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor or OBGYN for STD screening and testing. You will likely meet with your doctor for a few minutes to determine which infections you should be tested for, they will then take a sample at the office or send you to an offsite lab. You’ll get the results a few days later.

Tips when using health insurance for STD testing:

  • STD panels are usually billed with diagnostic codes, meaning you will pay for the office visit and the cost of the labs. Make sure you go to an in-network doctor (usually a primary care doctor or OBGYN) and have your sample sent to an in-network lab. Generally, Quest, and LabCorp do these labs at a lower price than a hospital affiliated lab.

  • STD testing is usually only billed as preventive if you are pregnant or fall into a high-risk category. The chart below has more details from the US Preventive Task Force’s recommendations about STDs.

3. Order the test you want online

Let’s Get Checked

Let’s Get Checked makes it pretty easy to get tested. You choose your test(s), they mail it to you (in a discreet package), you provide your sample to one of their labs, and they send the results to your secure online account in 2-5 days. Eezy peezy. They also have 24/7 medical support to explain your results and help with treatment.

STDcheck.com

This company allows you to choose a full panel of STD tests, or select individual tests  from their website. You pay online, print out their lab form, and go to a testing site to give a sample. You will get the results online typically in 1-2 business days. The only downside? If you need a doctor to write a prescription, there is an extra fee that they don’t list on the website.

Plushcare

Very similar to STDcheck.com, you select the tests that you want, pay online, then go and visit one of their onsite locations, where after 3-5 business days they will deliver the results on their secure portal and you can be connected with one of their online physicians. If you need a prescription Plushcare has online doctors that can provide you with a treatment. One thing to note: If you use insurance, there is an additional $60 lab order fee on top of anything else your insurance might not cover.

4. For Students

  • STDcheck.com provides free HIV testing for most college students. Learn more about their program here.

  • Most universities offer free STD testing. Call your university’s wellness department to find out.