How to GYT
If you are sexually active, getting tested for STDs is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health! Have an open and honest conversation with your health care provider about your sexual history and STD testing. This will help them understand what STD tests you may need.
Studies have shown that many teens don’t talk to their health care providers about issues of sex and sexuality during their annual health visits, sometimes because they are afraid their parents might find out. If you don’t feel comfortable talking with your regular health care provider about STDs, visit one of the many clinics that provide confidential testing that is free or low cost. For ways to prepare for your doctor’s visit, check out this guideexternal icon.
You are at risk for STDs if you can answer yes to any of these questions:
- Have you had vaginal, anal, or oral sex without a condom?
- Have you ever had an STD, including HIV?
- Have any of your partners had an STD?
- Have you or any of your partners ever injected drugs?
- Have you or any of your partners exchanged money or drugs for sex?
- Is it possible that any of your sex partners in the past 12 months had sex with someone else while they were still in a sexual relationship with you?
Which STD Tests Should I Get?
- All adults and adolescents from ages 13 to 64 should be tested at least once for HIV.
- All sexually active women younger than 25 years should be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year. Women 25 years and older with risk factors, such as new or multiple sex partners, or a sex partner who has an STD, also should be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year.
- All pregnant women should be tested for syphilis, HIV, and hepatitis B starting early in pregnancy. At-risk pregnant women also should be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea starting early in pregnancy. Testing should be repeated as needed to protect the health of mothers and their infants.
- All sexually active gay and bisexual men should be tested at least once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Those who have multiple or anonymous partners should be tested more frequently for STDs (i.e., at 3- to 6-month intervals).
- Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent HIV testing (e.g., every 3 to 6 months).
- Anyone who has unsafe sex or shares injection drug equipment should get tested for HIV at least once a year.
Find out what STD care options are available near you.
In addition to traditional, in-person visits, other options that may be available include:
- Video or phone appointments with your health care provider.
- Express visits for STD testing and treatment without a full clinical exam.
- Pharmacies and retail clinics, such as at a grocery store or big-box store, for on-site testing and treatment.
- At-home collection where you collect your own sample and take or mail it to a lab for testing.
Get Tested, Get Treated
Testing positive for an STD is not the end. Many STDs are curable and all are treatable.
If you or your partner has an STD that can be cured, both of you need to start treatment immediately to avoid getting re-infected. Getting treated right away also can help avoid health problems down the road.
A forgotten prescription from your health care provider won’t help – make sure to get it filled and take your medication as prescribed. That also means you shouldn’t share your prescription with your partner.
Get retested! It’s common to get some STDs more than once, especially chlamydia and gonorrhea. You should be retested in 3 months even if you and your partner took medicine.