STD Clinic
Health Centers: Testing For Sexually Transmitted Diseases


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STD Clinics


What Is A STD Clinic?
When Should I Be Tested?
What Happens At A Clinic?
Can I Get Tested For Free?
How To Find A Clinic Near You

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases
What Is A STD Clinic?

It is a clinic that specializes in testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). There is no one single test that screens for all STDs, so you will need a battery of different tests before receiving a complete bill of health. STD clinics specialize in offering the following tests in a combined package in one visit (although they are also available singularly):

HIV Virus
Herpes (Herpes-1 and Herpes-2)
• Hepatitis B
• Hepatitis C

Other STDs
Some clinics will also test and treat trichomoniasis as well as lesser known STDs like chancroid, pubic lice (crabs), molluscum contagiosum (viral skin infection), mucopurulent cervicitis (MPC), pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and scabies. These tests are not standard and are often only performed if a patient presents with symptoms.

Advantages Of Attending A Clinic

• Usually cheaper than a doctor's visit.
• The service is more anonymous.
• Most clinics operate on a walk-in basis, unlike a doctor's office.
• Clinics can prescribe treatment for most common STDs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes. If you test positive for more serious illnesses such as HIV or hepatitis you will be referred to a specialist.
• Home testing: Commercial clinics offer a service where they send the tests to you at home.

Other Services Offered By STD Clinics

In addition to STD screening, some clinics provide a variety of other sexual health services that include:

• Advice about sexual health.
• Free condoms and emergency contraceptives (morning-after pill).
Birth control prescriptions - Depo Provera injections, contraceptive patch and vaginal ring.
• Pregnancy counseling.
STD prevention advice.
Pap smear tests and cervical colposcopy for women with abnormal Pap smear results.
• HIV PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) medication, which can help prevent the spread of HIV immediately after exposure.
HPV virus vaccine (often free to girls under the age of 18).
Abortion information and guidance.
• Hepatitis A and B immunization vaccine.
• Relief for those who've been sexually assaulted.

When Should I Be Tested?

The CDC estimates that there are about 19 million new STD infections each year — almost 50 percent occur in young people aged 15 to 24. Yet, as most STDs have no symptoms and go undiagnosed and treated, the only way to know your status is to be tested. How often you need testing depends on your sexual history and risk factors for catching a venereal disease. If you attend a clinic they will ask you to complete a questionnaire to assess your risk - the results of this questionnaire will determine which tests you should have. Most commercial clinics also have an online questionnaire on their website if you want to assess your risk straight away. In all instances if you do display STD symptoms, you should contact a clinic (or your doctor immediately).

What Happens At A Clinic?

Most clinics operate on a walk-in basis. When you arrive a receptionist will ask you to register. You may be given a unique identification number which will be used to identify your laboratory reports. You may have to wait for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how busy the clinic is, to be seen by a doctor. Your doctor will see you in a private room and will carry out a questionnaire to obtain information about which tests to perform. No physical examination is necessary, unless you are complaining of symptoms. For more advice about the testing procedure, see STD testing. Once the tests are completed you will need to wait between 1 and 5 working days for your results. The clinic will discuss your preference on how you would prefer to receive those results - by post, online or telephone.

Can I Get Tested For Free?

Yes, some clinics offer free STD testing, but in most cases it is not comprehensive testing and there may be restrictions:

1. Only few specific tests will be free such as HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea.
2. Your results may not be private, they may be reported for statistic purposes.
3. Results can take 2 to 3 weeks as opposed to 1-5 working days.
4. Free testing is usually only open to low-income or welfare recipients.
5. You may have to wait longer than paying customers to be tested (2 hours compared to 30 minutes).

How To Find A Clinic Near You

The CDC's has a website called the National HIV and STD Testing Resource. It offers a locator service where you can enter your zip code to receive a list of centers in your area.

Additionally the National Prevention Information Network (NPIN) has a search tool to find organizations and clinics involved in STD testing, counseling, financial assistance and TB testing.

Who Are Planned Parenthood?

Planned Parenthood are a network of health clinics that provide reproductive health care and sex education to men and women throughout the United States and worldwide. They offer full STD testing services as well as advice on general sexual healthcare. Their services are usually less expensive than commercial clinics and they offer discounted services (up to 60 percent) for military, students and teens. Appointments are on a walk-in basis.

  Related Articles on STDs

For more useful advice, see the following:

Recommended Screenings For Women

Back to Homepage: Womens Health Advice

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