The CDC reports that the amount of of Americans with chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are at their highest numbers ever, and that more than 20 million people have sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), in the U.S.
Researchers attribute the high numbers to several cultural trends, including increasing prevalence of sex without condoms, the stigma of being diagnosed with an STD and fears about the cost of testing.
Aside from practicing safe sex, getting regular STD testing is critical to ensuring you stay safe and can get prompt treatment if you are exposed to an STD. Don’t let cost keep you from getting screened and treated for STDs. In fact, whether you have insurance are not, you can easily get tested for free or the cost of a co-pay. Check out your options.
Your primary care physician
Health insurance plans must provide certain preventive services for free, including many recommended STD screenings. If you have insurance (or Medicare), free testing is can be as easy as going to your primary care doctor. You may have to pay a co-pay, depending on your plan. Check with your explanation of benefits, your doctor’s office or your insurer to confirm which tests are covered by your insurance, and learn more about preventative services covered by your health insurance here.
Thanks to their sliding scale fee structure, if you have low or no income, you may qualify for free or discounted STD testing at Planned Parenthood. Here's how you can find a Planned Parenthood near you.
Community health centers
Public health funding may be taking a hit, but there are still non-profit community health centers (CHCs), also known as federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) throughout the country that receive government funding to provide low-cost care to people in need.
Local health department
City, state and county health departments offer no-cost and low-cost clinics that provide a number of services, including STD testing. The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NAACHO) has a directory of local health departments, or you can find the link on your city's website.
Free clinics are non-profit, private-sector clinics funded through donations and private grants and generally staffed by volunteers. There are 1,400 free clinics registered with the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics.
Some states have Medicaid programs that offer free STD screenings. Find out if your state is one of them in this state-by-state guide to Medicaid.