You can get tested for things like:
HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and C, chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, cervical cancer, and herpes.
You may not need to get tested for everything. A healthcare provider will help you decide.
What you get tested for can depend on:
- Your biological sex
- Who you have sex with (men, women, or both)
- Your sexual network
- If you don’t know the status of your partner(s)
You do have a say in what goes on. So, if there is a specific test you want, bring it up. The healthcare provider will work with you.
Where to get tested is up to you:
- Make an appointment with a healthcare provider
- Find a clinic that welcomes walk-ins
- Use an at-home test
But you should know that at-home tests can’t test for everything. And HIV home tests recommend going to see a healthcare provider to get tested again to confirm your results.
Depending on what you get tested for, the healthcare provider may:
- Draw blood
- Prick your finger
- Cotton swab the areas of sexual contact
- Ask for a urine sample
- Do a visual examination
- Take an oral fluid sample
Different STIs are tested in different ways. And some can be tested multiple ways. So, if needles make you squirm, don’t worry! The healthcare provider can tell you what your options are.
Every office has a different way of giving out STI test results—they may:
- Tell you in person
- Call you in a few days
- Provide them online
For HIV tests, you may get your results:
- While you’re in the office
- Over the phone
Some offices may even ask you to come back in to get your HIV results. Check with the front desk so you know the drill.
If you are using an at-home test, follow the directions on the package. You can also read more about getting your results here.
Have questions about the privacy of your results? You can read more about it here.
If any of your results come back positive, remember this about STIs:
Some are curable. Most are treatable. All are manageable.
If you have a healthcare provider (whether at a clinic or at a doctor’s office), he or she can help you figure out what treatment is right for you.
No matter what it is though—know that there is something you can do.
Even if all your results come back negative, testing isn’t a once and done kind of thing. If you’re sexually active, you should get tested regularly.
Everyone should get tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime. If you’re sexually active and have had more than one partner since your last HIV test, you should get tested at least once every year.
A healthcare provider may suggest getting tested every 3-6 months if you have multiple partners or don’t know the status of your partners. They might also recommend testing for other STIs too, just in case.
Talk to a Healthcare Provider
It’s the best way to get all this information. Not sure how to start that conversation? Use this discussion guide for ideas.
Don’t have a healthcare provider? You can find one here.