For whatever reason, there seems to be a lot of mystery when it comes to ‘getting tested for STDs’ or ‘knowing your status.’ Where do you go? How much does it cost? How do they test you? Will they have to look at my private parts?
The truth is, STD/STI testing isn’t scary at all. And it’s really important if you’re sexually active. So, here are the answers you’ve been waiting for…
Here at ThriVe, we offer STD/STI testing at no cost to our patients, and the first step is to call our HelpLine (314.773.4626). Simply tell the Helpline Specialist you want to make an appointment for STD testing. The Helpline Specialist will then ask you a few necessary questions about your health such as Do you know if you might have been exposed to an STD? Are you showing any symptoms? How many partners have you been with over the past few months? We’ll also ask for some general demographic info like your name, date of birth, and zip code. Next, we’ll tell you what we test for: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, HIV, BV (Bacterial Vaginosis), and Trichomoniasis.
The Helpline Specialist will then set up an appointment for you to come in for testing! You’ll get a reminder text or call the day before your appointment.
When you come in for your appointment, the first thing you’ll do is fill out some paperwork. This is for your medical records and will be kept in strict confidence as ThriVe St. Louis is HIPAA compliant when it comes to your private health information. When you’re finished, you’ll be taken to a patient room where a nurse will go over consent forms, obtain a health history from you, and also go over some educational material with you about STD’s. Then, depending on what STDs/STIs you’re getting tested for, they’ll either give you a specimen cup and show you to the bathroom or they’ll draw a blood sample.
If you’re getting tested for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, a urine specimen is needed so you will need to provide a small amount of your urine in a cup (you’ll pee in the specimen cup…in privacy, don’t worry!) and leave the cup on a tray in the bathroom for the nurse to collect. If you’re getting tested for HIV and/or Syphilis, the nurse will draw a blood sample from your arm. Typically, we can test for all four of those STDs in one appointment. However, to be tested for BV and Trichomoniasis, you’ll make a separate appointment, where you’ll get a pelvic exam from one of our doctors.
During a pelvic exam, the doctor will do a vaginal swab (sounds scarier than it is, we promise!) and will have your results within 10 minutes! For both urine and blood tests, the results usually take 5 to 7 days. During this waiting period, it’s really important for you to be abstinent (don’t engage in sexual activity). If you have something, you don’t want to pass it around! And if you don’t have something, you could contract something during that time and your “negative results” may not be accurate anymore. When your appointment is over, you’ll receive a packet of information to take home with you. This packet includes information from the CDC about the STDs/STIs you were tested for.
Once we get your results in, we’ll give you a phone call to set up a result appointment. We don’t give results over the phone. Once you come in, one of our medical professionals will go over your results with you. If you tested positive for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, or Syphilis, we will provide treatment at no cost to you! If you tested positive for BV or Trichomoniasis, we’ll call in a prescription to your pharmacy, and you’ll have to pay for those meds out of pocket. Lastly, if you tested positive for HIV, we’ll help you set up an appointment with a Disease Intervention Specialist from the Missouri Department of Health and together we’ll discuss your next steps for your plan of care.
Now that you know what to expect, the only thing left to do is make an appointment! All of our testing is free of charge and our medical team will make you feel comfortable throughout the process. Your health and future are counting on you to get tested for STDs, so make an appointment today!