How to Find a Free STI Clinic

It doesn't matter whether you need sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, treatment, or even just screening before starting a new relationship. A free STI clinic can be a great place to seek affordable care. Fortunately, locating a free STI clinic near you doesn't have to be hard. This article will review a few simple steps.

People in waiting room
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Call Your Local Health Department

Most free STI clinics are run by your local town or county health department. Often, the simplest way to find free STI testing near you is to simply call your local health department. You could also go to their website to see where the STI clinic is located. The health department should be able to tell you if there's a free STI clinic in your town, how to get there, and what the hours are.

Don't know how to locate your local health department? An Internet search engine may help. Search for either your town's name, or the county and state, and the phrase "STI clinic." That will probably bring up the contact information for your local free STI clinic. Or call 411 for information in your area.

Use Online Testing Resources

The Internet can help you in other ways, too. ​Get Tested is a government-sponsored website that allows you to search for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and STI testing locations by ZIP code. Not all places that offer HIV testing are free STI clinics.

But this site is a good place to start looking for a local clinic. If there's free HIV testing offered somewhere near you, you can call and ask if they also test for STIs. Another national search site that offers an STI-specific testing directory is It's Your (SEX) Life.

A Public Hospital or Teaching Hospital

Not every town has an STI clinic. Fortunately, health department clinics aren't the only free clinics around. Local public hospitals and teaching hospitals may also run low-cost or free STI clinics that offer both testing and treatment. If you live or work near a hospital, you can call and ask if they offer these services.

However, don't go to the emergency room unless you are actually having an emergency medical situation. Not only will you potentially have a long wait, you may not get a doctor who can help with STI testing. Plus, there's a chance you could rack up a significant bill. Emergency room visits often have a hefty co-pay, even when you have insurance.

Urgent care sites are much better options than the emergency room if you can't find a clinic. They can generally get you in the same day, and the cost is lower for both you and the clinic.

Your Neighborhood or LGBTQ Health Clinic

There are other free and low-cost STI testing options as well. For those people who live in diverse communities, gay and lesbian community centers and healthcare organizations are good options. They often sponsor free STI clinics or offer low-cost testing and treatment.

You can also check with the privately run free clinic locator. Other local health clinics and community health clinics may offer free STI testing as well. The federal government maintains a searchable database of health clinics.

Planned Parenthood

Finally, there is Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is not a free STI clinic. However, Planned Parenthood clinics do offer STI testing and treatment at low cost. Fees are usually scaled according to patient income. Most offices also accept health insurance.

If you're planning to go to Planned Parenthood for STI treatment, call first to make an appointment. Then, while you're on the phone, ask what documents you need for income verification. If you're looking for sliding-scale services (you pay what you can afford), you'll want to be prepared when you arrive for your appointment. You don't want to end up paying more than you can afford.

Remember, Planned Parenthood isn't just for women. It provides treatment to individuals of any gender. Sexual health is part of its mandate.

Are You a College or University Student?

Some colleges and universities offer free testing. Others don't. However, if you're a student looking for free STI testing, the school clinic is a good place to start. Before you walk in the door, it's a good idea to call ahead and see if the school offers testing. Find out if it's covered by your insurance, and, if not, ask how much it costs. Then you can decide whether you want to get tested at school or go somewhere else.

What About Online STI Testing? 

If you don't want to go to a local free clinic, online testing is an option. There are several companies to choose from, so know what you need before you select a site.

A Word From Verywell

Remember, you can also get tested for STIs at your regular doctor's office. Some people may prefer not to do so for privacy reasons, but it's often the easiest and most affordable option. That's particularly true if your insurance covers yearly STI testing.

If you don't know if testing is part of your plan, check the plan documents or call the number on the back of your insurance card to find out. Insurance plans can vary, and some may only cover testing once a year. If you need testing more often and are worried about your finances, you might want to stick with the options above.

1 Source
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Hoover KW, Parsell BW, Leichliter JS, et al. Continuing Need for Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinics After the Affordable Care Act. Am J Public Health. 2015;105 Suppl 5:S690-5. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.302839

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.