Getting Tested for Sexually Transmitted Infections

Get tested for STDs

Many people think they would know if they had a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The truth is many STIs have no signs or symptoms in the majority of people infected. Or they have mild signs that can be easily overlooked. The only way to know if you have an STI is to get tested.

Anyone who is sexually active can get an STI. If you’ve had unprotected sex, have a new partner (or more than one partner), or for any reason are worried you have been exposed to an STI, talk to your healthcare provider about getting tested. While some providers might include STI tests as part of a regular check-up, others don’t test for any STIs unless you ask them to—so make sure to ask!

If you don’t have a regular healthcare provider, you can search for a clinic that offers testing near you. Just enter your zip code to find a local testing site.

How do STI tests work?

Getting tested can be quick and easy. Depending on what you’re being tested for, your provider may take a blood sample, a swab, or ask you to pee in a cup. Easy! Here’s an idea of what to expect for some more common STIs.

What Tests are Recommended for You?

What should you get tested for? When? How often? Below are testing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While these guidelines are general ones, you are an individual. The healthcare provider you visit may have different recommendations based on your individual health status and history.

Podcast: Understanding STI Testing

We have an abundance of accurate, relatively inexpensive tests for STIs but the trick is engaging patients and health professionals so the proper tests are given to the right individuals.

In this episode of ASHA’s Sex+Health podcast, listen to J. Dennis Fortenberry, MD, MS, professor of pediatrics and medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, discuss barriers to STI testing and what we can do to empower patients and providers alike.

Talk to a Partner about Getting Tested

See how easy it can be in this video from Planned Parenthood.

Join us for a discussion of Dr. Tang’s new book, It’s Not Hysteria Everything You Need to Know About Your Reproductive Health (but Were Never Told), and ask Dr. Tang your questions about reproductive health!