Urgent Care clinics help cater to a variety of medical care needs. It’s managed by a group of medical professionals who provide convenient access to quality healthcare services if your primary physician’s office is closed. You might wonder, does Urgent Care do STD testing? Let’s find out.
- Can You Get an STD Test at an Urgent Care?
- Why Sexual Health Matters
- Common STDs
- Frequently Asked Questions
- I’ve had frequent, unprotected sex lately, but I don’t feel anything. Does it mean I’m fine?
- Can I use my insurance to pay for my STD tests?
- Would my test be confidential?
- Can STDs be cured entirely?
- How often should I come for STD testing?
- Are teen patients obligated to seek their parents’ consent for STD testing?
- Key Takeaway
Can You Get an STD Test at an Urgent Care?
Yes, you can! Not a lot of people are aware that they can get tested for STDs at an urgent care clinic. These clinics are usually equipped to test and help treat various infections and diseases associated with sexual health.
You can get same-day, walk-in care or opt to book an appointment online in advance to save more time. Like in a sexual health clinic, urgent care clinics also offer blood, urine, and fluid sample-based testing for STDs like HIV/AIDS, chlamydia, hepatitis, genital herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis.
Depending on the type of test and how long it can be done, waiting for the results can last from minutes up to days. If your urgent care clinic doesn’t have its own laboratory, the specimens would have to undergo third-party testing, which could take an even longer time to complete.
Discussing your sexual history with a healthcare provider can feel strange and awkward. Urgent care centers value privacy and discreetness in dealing with sexual health needs. They’re a great option if you’re not comfortable consulting with your regular healthcare providers and will allow you to be more at ease and more comfortable talking about your sexual activities.
Take note, however, that an urgent care clinic isn’t a substitute for standard hospital care. It doesn’t offer treatment for more serious health conditions like heart diseases or cancer.
Why Sexual Health Matters
Apart from just “dodging a bullet,” sexual health is an important part of one’s well-being and is considered by many as important as good physical health. It can affect and be affected by physical, mental, and social health factors. Being in a good state of sexual health requires an open-minded and positive outlook on one’s sexuality and sexual relationships and having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences without experiencing coercion, discrimination, and violence. It likewise involves respecting individual sexual rights.
On a global scale, sexually-transmitted infections significantly impact sexual and reproductive health, with more than 1 million STIs recorded each day.
In 2020, the WHO recorded 374 million new STI infections with one of four common kinds:
- Trichomoniasis (156 million)
- Chlamydia (129 million)
- Gonorrhea (82 million)
- Syphilis (7.1 million)
In some cases, STDs/STIs can render men and women infertile and make them susceptible to conditions like organ damage, bone deformities, blindness, and various types of cancer. In some cases, it shortens a person’s life expectancy.
The more partners you have, the more you’re at risk of getting an STD/STI. If you have been diagnosed with an STD/STI, it’s important to tell your sexual partner(s) immediately since they can get infected as well and spread it to others. If you think you might be at risk or are showing certain symptoms, Treatment should be sought immediately to lessen the impact of the symptoms on the body early on.
If you do become sexually active, you should consider using birth control options beforehand. Different types include a condom, pill, patch, and shots which help prevent pregnancies. STIs, however, are only prevented by condom use.
Feel free to consult with your doctor if you have any questions about sexual health. They can recommend you a form of birth control and talk to you more about safety, risks, and prevention. If you’re experiencing sexual problems, they can also prescribe over-the-counter medication to rectify them.
The following are the more common STDs with the most number of cases recorded worldwide.
- Chlamydia – A bacterial infection that usually spreads through sex or contact with infected genital fluids. It usually causes strange discharges, painful sexual intercourse, and strained urination for both men and women.
- Gonorrhea – An infection caused by a sexually transmitted bacterium spread through vaginal, oral, and anal sex. It usually affects the urethra, cervix, rectum, or throat. The more common signs include vaginal discharges, rectal pain, frequent urination, and spotting in between periods.
- Hepatitis B & C – Potentially life-threatening liver infections caused by the hepatitis B & C viruses. They can be transmitted sexually, particularly through anal sex and having multiple sexual partners. One might experience fatigue, nausea, a poor appetite, belly pain, a mild fever, or the yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice).
- Herpes 1 & 2 – Herpes simplex viruses –are categorized into herpes type 1 (oral herpes) and herpes type 2 (genital herpes). They cause pain, itching, blistering, and scabbing around the affected areas.
- HIV/AIDS – HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a sexually-transmitted virus that weakens the immune system considerably. It leads to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), where immunity is more damaged when left untreated.
- HPV – The human papillomavirus is considered the most common STD around. An incurable condition, HPV can be spread by having vaginal, anal, and oral sex or simply by skin-to-skin contact with someone who has the virus.
- Syphilis – A bacterial infection that starts with a sore on the genitals, rectum, or mouth. It causes rashes on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, fatigue, mild fever, hair loss, and muscle pains.
- Trichomoniasis – Also called “trich,” it’s the most common non-viral sexually transmitted disease caused by the motile parasitic protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis. The symptoms include discomfort in the genitals, vaginal discharges, and discomfort while urinating.
Common STD Risk Factors
The following factors put a person at greater risk of getting an STD/STI:
- Having multiple sexual partners
- Having or have had unprotected sex
- Not having received an HPV or Hepatitis A or B vaccine
- Gender (Women are more prone to getting infected by STDs)
- Sexuality (Men who engage in frequent sexual activity with the same sex are at a higher risk for STDs)
- Having a weak immune system.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve had frequent, unprotected sex lately, but I don’t feel anything. Does it mean I’m fine?
We can’t be entirely sure about that. One can already be infected with STDs like chlamydia, HPV, HIV, and gonorrhea without them even knowing since there are cases where they don’t manifest any symptoms during the disease’s initial stages, only to show up later on.
Can I use my insurance to pay for my STD tests?
Yes. Testing for STDs like HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea is one of the preventive health benefits that most plans should cover under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Would my test be confidential?
Yes! Healthcare professionals are forbidden to divulge any information without your written consent.
Can STDs be cured entirely?
As we speak, only 4 are currently curable: syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis, which can be remedied with antibiotics. Viral infections like hepatitis B, herpes 1 & 2, HIV, and HPV remain incurable.
How often should I come for STD testing?
If you’re sexually active, you should test for STDs at least yearly. However, if you’ve recently engaged in unprotected sex, had multiple sexual partners, or shared IV needles, the recommended testing frequency is 3 to 6 months.
Are teen patients obligated to seek their parents’ consent for STD testing?
Many family doctors or pediatricians agree to treat their teen patients with confidentiality unless the patient says it’s OK to do so.
Urgent care clinics help provide round-the-clock medical care for various health needs, and it’s a great way to get STD testing in a safe, comfortable environment where your privacy is respected and valued. They also provide you with effective medication to help relieve problems with your sexual health.
While these services should never replace standard hospital care, they remain an effective outlet to provide quick ambulatory care.