WHY should I get tested?
- Getting tested shows you are responsible, and that you care about your health, your partner, and your community.
- Many STDs have no symptoms - you'll know only if you get tested.
- STDs don't just go away. If you get an STD you should get treatment - right away.
- People with HIV may have no symptoms for 10 or more years. They may not know they are infected. An HIV test is the only way to find out if they have HIV.
- If not treated, STDs/HIV can cause serious health problems. Some can make you not able to have children, or can damage your heart, liver or even your brain.
WHEN should I get tested?
When you should get tested depends on a lot of different things, like how many people you've had sex with recently, if you've used condoms, or if you've been drunk or high when having sex. You should get tested if you:
- Are having sex (or are thinking of having sex) with a new partner.
- Had sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) without using a latex or polyurethane condom or dental dam with someone who could have an STD or HIV, or someone whose STD or HIV status you don't know.
- Used a condom, but it broke.
- Have signs or symptoms of an STD. Remember, some STDs can pass by skin to skin contact where the condom doesn't cover up.
- Are told by a partner that they have an STD or were recently treated for one, or have tested positive for HIV.
WHERE should I get tested?
In New York State, find a clinic for free or low-cost STD or HIV tests at these links:
STD Clinics in New York State by County
STD Clinics in New York State (Map)
Free, Anonymous HIV Testing Sites (New York State)
Family Planning Program Sites (New York State)
National HIV and STD Testing Sites
How are STD tests done?
Some STD tests use a urine sample, others may need blood work, or a sample taken during an exam. Talk to your health care provider about what tests you need. Find out more about getting tested for STDs
How are HIV tests done?
You can get an HIV test at a clinic, your health care provider's office or other testing site. The person doing the testing will give you information about the HIV test. This will include information about available testing options, the meaning of test results, and a review of your HIV risk. You will need to give written consent for the HIV test.
For a standard HIV test, a blood or oral fluid sample is taken and sent to a laboratory. You will need to call or come back in about a week after the test to get your test result. At some clinics and doctor's offices, you can get a rapid HIV test, which can give you the results that day. The test takes about 20 minutes to get results. If your rapid HIV test is positive, it will need to be confirmed by a second test, which is sent to a laboratory. This is called a confirmatory test. The results of this test are not ready right away. When you get your test result, you will receive information about what the result means. If you test positive for HIV, you will receive post-test counseling on how to reduce the risk of passing the virus to others, referrals for medical care, and other social services.
Talk to your health care provider about what tests you need. Find out more about Testing for HIV.
Who will know?
testing means that the health center won't tell your parents or anyone else without your permission. Sometimes problems with confidentiality happen when insurance is used. If you usually use your parents' insurance and it is important for you to keep the visit confidential, ask about programs available to you.
Anonymous testing, which doesn't use your name at all, is available for HIV tests.
Although New Yorkers less than 18 years of age have a right to these services without anyone else being involved, it can be helpful to talk to a trusted family member or other adult before you go.
Telling Your Partner
If you're going to have sex
, talk to your partner about STDs
, past relationships, and using condoms
or dental dams
. TeensHealth can help you plan for Talking to Your Partner About STDs
If you have an STD/HIV, it's important to tell your current and recent partners. In New York State, health departments' Partner Services programs can help you make a plan, and for some STDs, even notify partners for you without using your name. Contact an STD Clinic in NYS or your health care provider to see if they can help you.
If you want to tell your partner yourself, TeensHealth has some tips for Telling Your Partner You Have an STD. In New York City, you can tell your partners by email using a free inSPOT New York City e-card. You can send it anonymously if you choose.