In a world where misinformation is rampant, it’s essential to arm yourself with accurate knowledge
If you think you may have contracted an STD, you need an accurate, rapid STD test to protect yourself and your partners. Early testing and treatment are crucial for your general and sexual health.
You may wonder what your testing options are. Should you visit your primary care physician, a private practice, or an urgent care facility? Does urgent care do STD testing?
If you ask, “Can you get STD testing at an urgent care center?” the short answer is yes. However, it’s a good idea to weigh all the pros and cons of your testing options.
What Are Urgent Care Facilities?
As you weigh your possibilities of STD diagnosis, it may be helpful to understand the purpose and function of urgent care facilities.
If you encounter a potentially life-threatening condition – for example, a severe head injury or heart attack symptoms – you should go to the ER immediately. If you have a general, non-urgent family medicine question, you will usually schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. But what about medical conditions that don’t qualify for an ER visit, yet still need immediate attention?
Most of us have experienced this scenario: You suddenly have a high fever or feel the onset of a nasty UTI when you go to the bathroom, but your primary care clinic is closed or too busy to schedule an appointment on short notice. Urgent care facilities exist precisely to address these situations.
Here are some examples of conditions that urgency care centers may treat:
- Falls and other minor traumas
- Cuts that aren’t very deep but may require stitches
- Moderate asthma attacks
- Sudden eye or skin irritation
- Suspected minor fractures or sprains
- Severe coughs or sore throat
- Vomiting and diarrhea
An urgent care facility enables you to consult a health care provider quickly and without scheduling an appointment. Urgent care center staff usually includes physicians, nurses, medical assistants, and radiological technologists.
Most urgent care services work 365 days a year, including weekends and holidays, and offer extended hours in the early morning and late evening. However, urgent care centers usually aren’t open 24/7.
Can You Get STD Testing at an Urgent Care Facility?
Do common STDs merit a visit to an urgent care facility? Can urgent care do STD testing? Here is what you should know.
STD Testing Process
Often, people prefer to visit an urgent care center, rather than their primary physician, for STD testing. Many appreciate the comparative anonymity of an urgent care facility or don’t want to wait for an appointment.
The following process usually happens when you go to an urgent care center and ask for an STD test:
1. Evaluation. STD testing always begins with a medical assessment. The doctor will ask you to describe your symptoms and, if necessary, they will perform a physical examination, including a genital or pelvic exam. The physician will look for common STD signs such as bumps, blisters, or unusual discharge.
2. Sample collection. To confirm an STD diagnosis, the physician will collect samples. The process may involve a blood test, urine test, and genital, throat, or anal swabs. The latter applies to patients who report engaging in anal sex.
3. Results. Even if physical symptoms point to a certain STD, usually the physician will give a final diagnosis and suggest treatment options only when the test results come back from the lab. Once results are available, the urgent care center will call you and, if necessary, invite you to return for treatment.
According to the CDC, close to 20 million STD infections occur each year in the U.S. About half of the cases appear in young people under 24. Many STD infections, especially genital herpes and HPV, remain undiagnosed for a long time because their symptoms are absent, mild, or nonspecific.
Untreated STDs can have a far-reaching impact on your health and fertility. You don’t need to wait for severe symptoms or potentially dangerous situations to get tested for STDs. Periodic STD testing is a wise precautionary measure for any sexually active individual.
Even if you use protection, condoms may not prevent the transmission of certain STIs like herpes and syphilis.
Unless you are in a long-term monogamous relationship and both you and your partner have tested negative for all common STDs, always use protection measures and consider getting tested once every 6 to 12 months.
STD testing is especially important if:
- You have had unprotected sex outside of a long-term monogamous relationship
- You exhibit STD symptoms, e.g., unusual discharge, blisters, or a burning sensation while you urinate
- You are a female under 25
- You are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy
STD treatment will depend on the particular type of sexually transmitted disease.
- Bacterial STDs like chlamydia or gonorrhea will require antibiotic treatment. During an antibiotic cycle, following instructions is critical to ensure that the antibiotics clear the infection. Patients will need repeat testing three months after the antibiotic treatment to make sure the infection is gone. In cases of recurring infection, the physician will prescribe another round of treatment.
- Genital herpes, an extremely common viral STD, is a chronic condition with latent and outbreak phases. Antiviral drugs can help make genital herpes more manageable by reducing outbreak frequency and alleviating symptoms. While antiviral treatment reduces the risk of genital herpes transmission, infected individuals still need to practice safe sex to protect their partners.
- HIV, another viral STD, calls for targeted antiretroviral therapy. Once HIV testing reveals a positive result, the doctor will prescribe a series of medications for the patient. Antiretroviral therapy can reduce symptoms, slow HIV progression, and lower the risk of transmission. With timely treatment and the proper precautions, HIV patients can expect a long, healthy life and remain sexually active.
- HPV, or human papillomavirus, is a frequently occurring STD that can spread through vaginal, oral, and anal sex. Most infection cases present no symptoms and self-resolve without treatment, but some HPV strains can lead to cervical cancer. Fortunately, an HPV vaccine is available for boys and girls aged 11 and up. Young adults under 26 may also get vaccinated.
Benefits of STD Testing at an Urgent Care Facility
So, can urgent care test for STDs? Yes, and people often prefer to turn to an urgent care center rather than their primary care clinic when they need STD testing. Many patients experience a certain level of embarrassment when discussing STDs and prefer to broach this topic with a health care practitioner who doesn’t know them personally.
Here are other benefits of getting tested for STDs in an urgent care facility:
- A quick care option. In most urgent care centers, you can get a walk-in or same-day appointment, quick testing, and a fast treatment recommendation. Depending on the type of STD test, you may expect a diagnosis within a few days.
- Flexible hours. Urgent care facilities are often open outside business hours, including early morning and late evening. Many urgent care centers open as early as 7 a.m. and operate as late as 9 p.m. on weekdays.
- Discreet treatment. Choosing an urgent care center for STD testing usually ensures a higher level of privacy. Some patients postpone essential STD testing or treatment because of self-consciousness. Visiting an urgent care center can help people avoid awkwardness or self-consciousness.
Depending on your insurance coverage, an urgent care center may be more affordable than visiting a hospital or a private practice. You may expect a similar level of care and medical competence with higher convenience and lower costs.
Most urgent care clinics offer reliable and convenient lab tests for all types of STDs, including herpes, chlamydia, and HIV. You can book an appointment online or simply show up. Urgent care centers are geared to treat unexpected situations, and most of them welcome walk-in patients.
Typically, urgent care facilities carefully guard their patients’ privacy and will deliver your results using the method you prefer.
In uncomplicated STD cases, an urgent care center will usually be able to offer you STD prescription treatment following your test results. However, if your condition is advanced or highly complicated, the urgent care center staff may advise you to visit your primary physician or a specialized clinic to receive the care you need.
Are you unsure what type of STD testing your insurance covers? Check with your insurance provider. The Affordable Care Act extends to STD testing in many insurance policies.
Why Choose Rapid STD Testing Instead of Urgent Care?
Does urgent care do STD testing? Yes, but using an urgent care facility for STD testing also has some drawbacks.
An urgent care center often functions as a jack-of-all-trades, addressing any medical issue from UTIs to sudden allergic reactions to broken legs. When you suspect an STD, you may want to consider private lab STD testing in a dedicated facility specializing in STDs and STIs.
At Rapid STD Testing, we provide a quick, reliable, affordable, and 100% private way to test for a wide range of STDs. We operate over 2,500 testing centers across the U.S.
Do you think you may have been exposed to an STD? Are you unsure about which facility to choose for testing or treatment? Here is why you should consider contacting Rapid STD Testing.
- Affordable pricing. If you don’t have insurance coverage, you may expect to pay many hundreds of dollars for STD testing in an urgent care center. Rapid STD Testing offers flexible and affordable testing options for individual or multiple STDs. Our Rapid STD Basic Panel, which covers chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV, costs only $249.
- Speed. At Rapid STD Testing, we treat every test as a rush order. We offer same-day STD testing in the most convenient location near you, and testing itself usually takes 15 minutes or less. You will receive your results within 1-3 business days through a fully encrypted, password-protected email. We also offer testing on Saturdays at no additional cost.
- Privacy. Rapid STD Testing does not require you to fill out patient intake forms. Our STD testing services are 100% confidential and secure. We will not send any billing documentation to your home address or use our business name on your payment statement. We are unaffiliated with any insurance company, so your test results will never pass from us to your insurance provider.
- Competence. We use reliable, FDA-approved test kits. All our labs are CLIA-certified. Our health care experts and consultants specialize in STD diagnosis and treatment.
Rapid STD Testing uses a quick, streamlined, and convenient process. All you need to do is order your test online, visit one of our labs, and get tested. We also offer a discreet collection service if you prefer us to pick up your samples directly at your home or office.
Urgent care centers often have limited options when it comes to STD treatment. In contrast, our facilities are equipped to handle a broad range of STD infections and conditions. Our knowledgeable physicians can work with you to recommend a suitable treatment plan if you test positive for an STD. For an additional fee, we can send prescription medication to a pharmacy of your choice.
When to Contact Rapid STD Testing
Don’t let self-consciousness or embarrassment stand in the way of essential testing and medical care. Contact us at Rapid STD Testing today if you:
- Engaged in unprotected sex. Everyone makes mistakes – now you need a rapid, accurate diagnosis to protect your health.
- Have a new partner. If you and your partner want to stop using protection or are planning a pregnancy, get tested for STDs first.
- Have multiple partners. If you engage in sexual activity with multiple partners, physicians recommend getting tested once every 3 months.
- Need fast results. Rapid STD Testing provides accurate results within 1-3 business days.
- Need to protect your privacy. With Rapid STD Testing, nobody but you gets access to your results. You don’t need to worry about confidential information leaking out to your partner, insurance provider, or anyone else.
- Live in a remote area. Rapid STD Testing operates over 2,500 testing facilities across the U.S. Wherever you live, you will find one of our labs near you.