Know the facts. Get tested.
Every STD is different, both in the symptoms it may cause and how it is treated.
There is one thing that is the same about every STD, though — the only way to know if you have one is by getting tested. If you and your partners want to stay safe and free of STDs, you should get tested regularly.
Sometimes it can be hard to tell if you need to get tested for an STD. If you or your partners have any of the symptoms of an STD — or if you’re worried at all that you may have contracted one — you should go ahead and do it.
Here are some frequently asked questions about getting tested.
Why should I get tested for HIV?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 1 in 5 Americans living with HIV do not know they have it. Getting tested is the only sure way to know your HIV status.
If you test negative, you can take steps to stay that way. If you test positive, you can get treatment to protect your partners, stay healthy, and extend your life and enhance its quality.
Who should be tested for HIV?
If you have never been tested for HIV, you should be tested at least once. The CDC recommends that you test for HIV at least once a year if you do things that can increase your chances of getting HIV. These include:
- Injecting drugs or steroids with used needles or works
- Having sex for money or drugs
- Having sex with an HIV-infected person
- Having more than one sex partner since your last HIV test
- Having a sex partner who has had other sex partners since your last HIV test
Talk to your health-care provider about how often you need to be tested for HIV.
Do I need to get tested for HIV if I’m pregnant?
Yes. Pregnant women should get tested for HIV at the first prenatal visit and during the third trimester of each pregnancy. Some pregnant women and their newborns may also need HIV testing at the time of birth.
Should I get tested for other STDs?
If you have STD symptoms, or if someone you’ve had sex with has an STD, you should get tested as soon as possible.
Because you can have an STD without having symptoms, you should talk to your health-care provider about STD testing if you’ve ever had unprotected sex with a partner whose STD status is not known.
Do I need to get tested for other STDs if I’m pregnant?
Yes. Pregnant women should be tested for syphilis at their first prenatal visit and at birth. Without treatment, syphilis can cause major problems for the baby during pregnancy and at birth, including blindness, deafness, brain damage, and even death.
If caught early, syphilis can be cured before any of this happens. It is also a good idea to be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia at your first prenatal visit.
Do I need my parents’ permission to get tested for STDs if I’m under 18?
In Texas, the ability of a minor* to consent to his or her own medical treatment is governed by Texas Family Code, Chapter 32, Section 32.003, “Consent to Treatment by Child.” The full text of the law can be found here.
Under this law, a minor has the right to consent to the diagnosis and treatment of an infectious, contagious, or communicable disease that is reportable to the state health department. This includes HIV/AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia.
The law also gives health care providers discretion to notify parents or guardians of medical treatments given to or needed by a minor. Please check with your health care provider if you have questions on how he/she might exercise that discretion.
*Under Texas Family Code Chapter 101, Section 101.003, “child” or “minor” means a person under 18 years of age who is not and has not been married or who has not had the disabilities of minority removed for general purposes. This definition is applicable when reading Family Code Sec. 32.003 unless a provision in that section clearly indicates otherwise.
Find a testing location.
To find a testing location near you, click the map below to see a list of regions, or simply choose your city from the list below.