Where to Get Treated for STDs

Worried you might have a sexually transmitted disease, but don't know where to get STD treatment? It's probably easiest to go to your own doctor. However, if you don't have insurance, or are uncomfortable seeing your regular practitioner, don't worry. There are certainly other affordable options you can explore. From Planned Parenthood to local STD clinics there are many choices for affordable or free STD testing and treatment in your area.


Your Regular Medical Practitioner

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If you have a regular medical practitioner, they should be your first choice for STD care. This is because your practitioner knows your health history. That makes them the best person to choose the right treatment options for you. You probably don't even need to see your gynecologist or urologist. Most regular medical practitioners should be able to test and treat you for the majority of common sexually transmitted diseases. If you have doubts, call the office and ask before scheduling your appointment. If nothing else, they can refer you to an appropriate location for testing.


A Medical Specialist

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You can certainly see your regular medical practitioner for STD-related health concerns. However, some people are more comfortable going to an appropriate specialist. Women, for example, may be more comfortable seeing a gynecologist, nurse midwife, or other women's health practitioner for STD testing and treatment. Men who are wondering where to get treated for STDs might choose to go to a urologist. 


Local Health Departments

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Your local health department can be a great resource for STD testing and treatment. Many counties run a free or sliding scale STD clinic for local residents. In addition, they often offer confidential or anonymous STD treatment and testing. The best method of finding your local STD clinic is either the phone book or doing a search for the name of your county and "health department" in your favorite search engine.


Planned Parenthood

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Many people just think of Planned Parenthood as a place to get contraception. However, Planned Parenthood is an excellent resource for sexually transmitted disease screening and treatment. They see both male and female patients, and prices are scaled to what you can afford. In addition, since they do a lot of STD testing, they tend to have access to urine tests and other tests that are less invasive. That can make them a great place to access care. 


Public Hospitals

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Many public hospitals run sexually transmitted disease clinics. When possible, you probably want to avoid going to the emergency room. Doing so can be both expensive and time-consuming. Instead, call your local hospital to see if they run a specialized STD clinic that you can attend. Seeing a doctor at the clinic is likely to be both cheaper and faster than going to the ED. 


Urgent Care Clinics

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Urgent care clinics are a good alternative to the emergency room. They specialize in seeing patients whose symptoms require care faster than they could get a regular appointment with a doctor. If you have health insurance, you can call the insurance company to see if there is a covered urgent care clinic in your area. If you don't, check your phone book for a clinic near you.

Urgent care visits are normally substantially cheaper than going to the ER. They also often take less time. However, not all urgent care clinics will have the ability to do STD testing for all patients. For example, CVS MinuteClinics have a policy that they will only do STD evaluations for people over the age of 18. Therefore, you might want to make certain that you can get the care you need before you go. 

By Elizabeth Boskey, PhD
Elizabeth Boskey, PhD, MPH, CHES, is a social worker, adjunct lecturer, and expert writer in the field of sexually transmitted diseases.