How Much Does an STD Test Cost Out of Pocket?
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are so common in the United States that, according to some sources, half of all Americans will contract one at some point in their lives. Each year, nearly 20 million new STD cases are diagnosed and disproportionately target those age 25 and under. Perhaps this is because this age group is less likely to have health insurance that covers the cost of STD testing.
If you are in this group, you’re probably wondering, how much does an STD test cost, anyway?
To check for STDs, your provider may order a few types of tests. The most common ones are a genital swab, a urine sample, or a blood test. DIY at-home STD testing kits generally require a finger stick. The method used can affect the final cost for an STD test.
The most common STDs fall into two main categories: bacterial infections and viral infections. Continue reading to learn more about these STDs, including screening recommendations, costs of testing, and treatment.
Caused by C. trachomatis, the STD known as chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. Positivity rates suggest that “1 in 20 sexually active young women aged 14 to 24 years have chlamydia.”
How Much Does an STD Test Cost for Chlamydia?
A simple laboratory test can check for chlamydia via a urine sample or cotton swab. Tests may be ordered as a standalone procedure or as part of an STD panel of tests. The cash price for chlamydia testing ranges from $25 to $220.
Should I Be Tested for Chlamydia?
Because you can have an STD and not even know it, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual screening for anyone who is sexually active or experiencing the following symptoms:
- Painful urination
- Unpleasant discharge from penis or vagina
- Bleeding from penis or vagina
How is Chlamydia Treated? Can it Be Cured?
According to Planned Parenthood, chlamydia can be cured with antibiotics. Be sure to inform any sexual partners as they’ll need to be treated too and avoid unprotected sex to prevent a recurrence.
Caused by the bacteria N. gonorrhea, this STD is common and easily treated.
How Much Does a Gonorrhea Test Cost?
The cash price of a gonorrhea test ranges from $50 to over $100. Health departments at the state and county level may provide free STD testing, if you qualify as low income.
Should I Get Tested for Gonorrhea?
As long as you are sexually active, gonorrhea testing should be part of your annual health screenings.
Women’s symptoms include:
- Pain when you pee
- Increased discharge
- Bleeding between periods
Men may experience:
- Burning when you pee
- Unusual discharge from the penis or rectum
- Swelling of testicles
- Anal itching
- Painful bowel movements
How is Gonorrhea Treated or Cured?
Like other similar STDs, gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics. Safe sex practices are recommended to avoid reinfection.
The bacteria T. pallidum causes syphilis. This once-rare STD is on the rise, due mostly to unsafe sex practices.
How Much Does a Syphilis Test Cost?
According to several sources, syphilis testing may cost between $24 and several hundred dollars.
Who Should Get Tested for Syphilis?
Anyone who is sexually active or experiencing these symptoms:
- Hearing loss
- Vision loss
- Inability to feel pain and other sensations
- Sexual dysfunction
How to Cure Syphilis
Syphilis responds favorably to antibiotics in the penicillin family and may be cured when caught early. Long-term or chronic syphilis may require lifelong management.
Hepatitis C (HVC) is a virus that causes liver damage. It is transmitted via blood and body fluids from practices like blood transfusions, unsafe sex, and sharing needles.
How Much Does a Hepatitis C Test Cost?
The average cost of a hepatitis C test is between $50 to $400. Lower prices may be available through community clinics and health departments.
Should You Get Tested for Hep C?
According to the CDC, everyone should be screened for hepatitis C at least once. If you have lifestyle risk factors like IV drug use, unsafe sex, and alcohol abuse, you should get tested for hepatitis C yearly or any time you experience these symptoms:
- Uncredited weight loss
- Yellowing of the skin, eyes, and nails
- Muscle weakness
- Unexplained fatigue
Can Hepatitis C Be Cured?
There are many therapeutics on the market to manage hepatitis C. However, there is no cure to-date.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that is spread via blood and body fluid exposure. The virus attacks your immune cells, causing weakness and an impaired immune system. HIV can progress to a chronic condition called AIDS.
How Much Does HIV Testing Cost?
HIV tests cost on average $84 but can range up to $200 based on several sources.
Who Needs an HIV Test?
The CDC recommends one-time HIV testing for everyone between the ages of 13 and 64, regardless of risk factors. You should be tested yearly if you’re at higher risk of contracting the virus. Sexually active men who have sex with other men should be tested at least twice a year. Some early symptoms of HIV may be:
- Unexplained fever
- Night sweats
- Swollen glands
- Skin sores that don’t heal
Is HIV Curable? How is it Treated?
There is no cure for HIV. However, research is ongoing. In recent years, with breakthroughs like immune therapy and antiviral medications, HIV is easier than ever to manage.
How to Save Money on STD Tests
Not all STDs are the same. Some are treatable, others are curable. Some STDs become sexually transmitted illnesses (STI) to be managed. STD screening includes testing for the most common STDs like gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, HIV/AIDs, syphilis, and genital warts caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Some of the most common symptoms associated with these STDs are painful urination, discharge, genital pain during intercourse, a rash, or soreness. In some cases, you may have no symptoms at all. This makes testing for STDs really important because you really don’t know until you know.
If you’re worried about the cost, there are several testing options. Look to your community health centers, urgent care, free health clinics, or STD clinics that may offer free or low-cost testing services on a sliding scale that ensures you’ll never be billed for more than you can afford to pay. Your local Planned Parenthood is another option for free or low-cost walk-in lab testing.
If you have a health insurance plan, you can book an appointment at your doctor’s office to schedule STD testing. If you’re aged 15 to 65 or at a higher risk, and your plan meets the Affordable Care Act (ACA) guidelines, you can get free HIV testing with no out-of-pocket costs. Your insurance plan may cover testing for other STDs as preventive medicine. Make sure to use in-network providers and follow your plan’s guidelines to get the best prices.
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