Let's Talk About Safe Sex

By: RSC Editorial Team

December 4, 2023

Fast STD Testing in Chicago: Why Now’s the Best Time To Do It

Did you know that Chicago is ranked in the top 100 cities in the United States for cases of STDs? Given the high rate of sexually transmitted diseases, it’s a good idea to be as proactive as possible and get tested sooner rather than later. 

Early detection not only offers you (and your partners) peace of mind, but it also protects your long-term health and the community at large. The sooner you get tested, the sooner you can go back to enjoying your favorite extracurricular activities. 

The good news is that you don’t have to wait several days or weeks to make an appointment and get the results of an STD test, thanks to facilities that offer fast STD testing in Chicago, including same-day STD testing

Understanding the Rising STD Rates in Chicago: A Closer Look 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, health-related news stories tended to focus on this illness, taking the spotlight away from other health conditions and diseases, including STDs. 

As the focus shifted away from STD awareness and STD prevention strategies, it left an opportunity for Chicago residents to become laxer with safe sex practices. Without STDs being top of mind, instances of testing also had the potential to drop. 

Some of the most common STDs in Chicago include gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis. According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, some of these STDs experienced a significant rise in the period from 2020 to 2021, while others experienced a modest decline. 

The numbers of reported cases for common STDs in Chicago are as follows:

  • Chlamydia cases increased by 9%
  • Gonorrhea cases increased by 1%
  • Syphilis cases decreased by 14% (but it increased by 20% in women) 

The number of people living with HIV in 2021 compared to 2020 decreased by a modest 3%. 

The Chicago Department of Public Health warns that cases of STDs in 2020 and 2021 may have been underreported due to the additional challenges of providing healthcare during the pandemic. Specifically, fewer people were visiting their healthcare providers for routine care, where STD screenings would have been more likely to occur. Therefore, it’s wise to use caution when comparing figures in these time periods.

Compared to the rest of the U.S., Chicago residents are more likely to contract an STD than the national average. Nationwide, there are 2.5 million reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, with the most notable increases being in syphilis infections.

When adding up the numbers of HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea, Chicago ranks second in the nation with a total of 58,322 cases. Only Los Angeles has more cases, with a reported 92,401.

As the numbers go up and Chicago continues to claim the top spots for STD numbers, it’s more important than ever to undergo regular STD testing. You can get a 10-panel STD test to test for the presence of everything from HIV and Herpes to Hepatitis and chlamydia.

Early detection of an STD can prevent the spread and preserve your health. Untreated STDs can lead to long-term health consequences, including pelvic inflammatory disease, cancer, and infertility.

Comprehensive STD Testing Chicago: What You Need To Know

Depending on the type of STD test you are getting, there are several different tests available, including at-home STD testing kits. At-home and lab tests, including a rapid STD test, typically involve one of three different testing options:

1.  Blood tests: Blood tests can detect the presence of certain infections, such as HIV, syphilis, and herpes, due to the presence of antibodies or antigens produced in the body. A blood sample can be taken from a vein, typically the arm.

2.  Urine samples: The classic “peeing in a cup” is the most convenient way to provide a urine sample. STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea are often detected this way as a result of the presence of bacteria in the urine.

3.  Swab tests: A swab test involves collecting a sample from either the genital, oral, or anal area to detect a variety of infections. The swab looks similar to a cotton-tipped applicator (like a Q-tip), and the sample is collected by rubbing the tip along the area to be tested.

It’s not uncommon for people to hesitate to get tested because they don’t want to deal with the hassle of making a doctor’s appointment, or they’re nervous about being in the public vicinity of an urgent care clinic.

Cost can also be a factor that makes people delay getting tested, especially in times of economic uncertainty or individual budget concerns. A free clinic may be an option for some, but it is highly income-specific, and you may end up paying more because of these clinics’ tendencies to adopt a sliding scale system.  

One of the most convenient, affordable, and confidential options if you’re looking for fast STD testing near you is to use a fast or rapid STD testing service in Chicago.

There are several benefits to utilizing fast STD services in Chicago, including:

  • Rapid results: Most people get results within one to three business days.
  • Fast appointments: Appointments are usually available, including some Saturday appointments.
  • Limited time commitment: You can get in and out within as little as 15 minutes.
  • Discreet and confidential STD testing services: Privacy is a top priority, and your sensitive information is protected.
  • Anonymous testing options: Your results won’t get reported to agencies, insurance companies, or other third parties.
  • Multiple locations: There are multiple testing locations throughout Chicago to serve you. 

For many people, getting tested for STDs can feel scary or intimidating. The first step to moving forward in your health journey (and developing trust with your partners) is to acknowledge these feelings and do the scary thing anyway.

Getting news of negative results will allow you to breathe a sigh of relief. Also, a positive result is not the end of the world. Many STDs are curable, and others have treatment options available to keep symptoms at bay.

Testing facilities will also have professional and empathetic healthcare providers to offer emotional support, answer your questions, and offer advice about how to best move forward with a diagnosis.

Prevention and Education: Key To Curbing STD Spread

If you’ve recently been cured of an STD or you have yet to contract one, you should be focusing on prevention strategies to avoid an infection or re-infection.

We aren’t here to preach abstinence, especially if you’re in a relationship. Instead, there are plenty of ways to prevent contracting and spreading an STD, including:

  • Safe sex practices: While there is no foolproof way to prevent spreading an STD, practicing safe sex can be extremely effective. Barrier methods like condoms and dental dams can reduce transmission of STDs like hepatitis B by 90%. The stats on genital herpes are slightly less hopeful, with transmission being prevented about 40% of the time. 
  • HPV and hepatitis vaccinations: Pharmaceutical companies have vaccines that prevent you from contracting some STDs in the first place. Specifically, the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) and Hepatitis B vaccine can be administered to protect you against these infections.
  • Regular screenings: The importance of regular STD screenings cannot be emphasized enough. Testing should be normalized, and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

In addition to protecting your health and that of your partner, you’ll also be providing a valuable public health service because city public health departments will be able to track the prevalence of STDs (your information can still be confidential). 

It's perfectly normal to feel apprehensive about talking to your partner or prospective partner about STDs. You might fear rejection or judgment. However, having this conversation early can help avoid the hurt and betrayal that comes with spreading an STD. Be sure to have the discussion in private and present the option of getting tested together.

Having a sexual health education about the various STDs, how they are transmitted, and the availability of testing options is an important step to stopping the spread. Understanding the risk factors can empower you to make better decisions and take precautions that you might not have otherwise taken without the right information.  

Chicago Couples That Get Tested Together Stay Together

Trust is an integral part of any relationship, and one of the best ways to begin building that trust is to get an STD test as a couple. By getting tested together, you can do something romantic together while also showing that you have nothing to hide. Any potential consequences can be faced together and make your partnership that much stronger.

As you begin researching how to prepare for your STD test, keep in mind that you may need to abstain from sex before the test, disclose any medications you’re taking, and avoid alcohol for 24 hours.

To schedule an STD test or find a fast STD testing center near you, contact Rapid STD Testing.

Medically Reviewed By DR. HARSHI DHINGRA,Pathologist (MD) on May 07,2024

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By: RSC Editorial Team
December 4, 2023

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