I am genuinely thrilled by procrastination. When I was younger, I'd save all of my weekend homework for Sunday night. The slight dread I would suffer as I played with friends on Saturdays made me feel like I was living on the edge. Cut to age 29: I still delay dentists appointments out of fear, and put off dermatology appointments because my new insurance is trash. But the one appointment I don't skip is a visit to my gyno. If you're worried about an STD test cost, don't be. There are many affordable options out there.
I'm a bit of a prude and I practice very safe sex — I'm very pro-condom and I have an IUD. Still, some STDs can be transmitted from oral sex and genital contact, condoms can break, and sh*t happens. The good news about STDs is that there are many price points for testing out there, so it's something you can be proactive about whether you have health insurance or not.
The actual cost of an STD test is a tricky subject to navigate, because it depends on where you go, what kind of insurance you do or don't have, and what kind of tests you need. I'll break down the different types of STD tests and places to get tested in order to give you a better picture of how much you might spend making sure your nether regions are healthy. Because your sexual health is a worthy investment: You absolutely need to know your STD status for the sake of your own health and the health of your current or future partners.
First, let's break down where you can go to get tested: a doctor's office, a clinic (find your local one here), the health department, and Planned Parenthood all test for STDs. You can check out GYTNOW.org for more information about particular locations in your area that test for STDs. There are even at-home STD-testing kits you can order online starting from $79 per single test, though there are questions as to how convenient and effective these tests really are.
The cost of an STD test depends on where you go to get it, as well as your income. According to Planned Parenthood, if you have health insurance — even Affordable Care Act/Obamacare insurance — you can likely get tested for free or at a reduced cost. You may end up paying a laboratory co-pay between $10 - $30. Planned Parenthood adds that "If you’re worried about cost, check with your local Planned Parenthood health center to see if they can hook you up with STD testing that fits your budget."
According to STDcheck.com, different tests are cost different amounts of money. A Chlamydia and Gonorrhea only test was listed for $45 per test, Hepatitis A was listed at just $24, but a full panel of tests cost around $198. Again, that is just one site. Chances are you will be paying a lot less than that, and you may even be able to get tested for free.
Between universities, clinics, and doctors offices that offer sliding scales, it's not likely that you will be paying anywhere near $200 for testing. Sexual health is a priority for everyone in a community, so give your local clinic, Planned Parenthood, or doctor a call to see how much you will need to spend in order to get tested based on your income, insurance, and location.
While there are much more exciting things to spend money on, it's worth getting tested as soon as possible. Even if you end up spending around $50, you're spending it on your own wellness. That's a dinner out! Or concert tickets. Take care of yourself in advance so you can really enjoy that dinner or concert with someone special.