Get Tested for STIs.

We created this site to help everyone feel more comfortable about a very sensitive subject. Find answers to some of the most common questions about Sexually Transmitted Infections and testing. 

If it’s your first time getting tested, don’t worry. Testing is easy, confidential, and often free or low cost. If you are sexually active, it’s a good way to help keep you healthy and safe.

Sexual activity includes vaginal sex, oral sex, and anal sex with another person. It also includes any time your genitals touch someone else’s genitals while your clothes are off. Any sexual contact is a potential risk of STIs. Because many STIs have no outward symptoms, you might not even know if you have one. That’s why getting tested is important.

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IT EASY

TO GET TESTED.

Did You Know?

Frequently Asked Questions about STI testing.

What is sexual activity?
Sexual activity includes vaginal sex, oral sex (mouth to genitals, giver or receiver), and anal sex with another person. It also includes any time your genitals touch someone else’s genitals while your clothes are off.

What is an STI?
Sexually Transmitted Infection. You may have also heard them referred to as “STD” or Sexually Transmitted Disease. This includes herpes. chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV and more. Learn more about the different STIs here

How can I reduce my risk of getting an STI?
If you are sexually active the best way to reduce your risk of getting an STI is:

  1. Use condoms. Condoms should be used for every single sexual act.
  2. Get Tested. Every 3-6 months or every time you’re sexually active with a new person.
  3. Talk to your partner(s). Talk to the people you are sexually active with about getting tested. If you get treated for an STI but the person you are sexually active with does not, you will likely get the STI again. 

Isn't there a pill I can take so I won't get HIV? 
To greatly reduce the risk of getting HIV, there is a daily pill called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP (brand name Truvada). The pill is much less effective if it is not taken consistently. Learn more here

How do I know if I have an STI?
The most common symptom for most STIs is NO SYMPTOMS! That means there may be no signs that you have the infection – no bumps, no itching, no burning. You might not feel or look any different. The only way to know for sure is to get tested.

How common are STIs?
STIs are pretty common. In Chicago, sexually active teens and young adults account for half of all newly reported cases of STIs. If we all do our part and get tested, more people will know that getting tested for STIs is an easy way to take care of your health. 
 

How old do I have to be to get tested?
If you are over 12 years old in the state of Illinois, it is your legal right to get tested and treated for STIs. You do not need a parent or guardian’s permission. If you do need support, it might be a good idea to talk to a parent or another trusted adult, but legally you don’t have to. 
 

Is STI testing confidential?
YES, it is completely confidential! But we do recommend that you are honest and open with your doctor about your sexual health. It’s important that they know your history so that you can be treated right away if you do find out you do have an STI.   
 

How much does STI testing cost?
Often free or low cost. If you don’t have insurance, or don’t have proof of insurance, let someone at the clinic know when you call to make an appointment. If you ask them, they will work with you and make sure you get the care that you need. Many clinics have a sliding scale, meaning people pay what they can afford. 
 

What if I have an STI?
All STIs are treatable and many are completely curable. Knowing where you stand is always better than living with uncertainty. Once you know, you can be treated and move on. And you can rest better knowing you are not putting anyone else at risk.  

Can I get medicine for my partner if I test positive?
If you test positive for chlamydia or gonorrhea in Illinois, a health care provider can give extra medicine to you or call in extra prescriptions for you to give to someone else if they think they might also have the infection. This is called 'expedited partner therapy,’ or EPT, and has been the law since 2010 to help make sure everyone gets treated.

Where can I get tested for STIs?



What to Expect

Ready to get tested? Don't worry, it's easy.

Here are some tips to help you prepare.

BEFORE YOU GO:

THINGS TO REMEMBER:

AT YOUR APPOINTMENT:

MEETING YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER:

DURING THE TEST:

GETTING YOUR RESULTS:

Call ahead! Every clinic is different, so it is always a good idea to call ahead. Some clinics will not take walk-ins, meaning you won’t get service without an appointment.

Know What to Ask For. There are different tests for different infections. Let the clinic know your reason for getting tested and they can help you figure out whether you need to visit with a doctor or schedule the specific test that’s right for you.

Bring an ID. Testing is confidential, but you usually need an ID.

Bring proof of insurance. If you have insurance, remember to bring your card. If someone else in your family is the only one with an insurance card, you can always write down the numbers on the insurance card. This can help the clinic confirm your insurance. If you don’t have insurance or if you’re not sure, don’t worry. A clinic will work with you.

Bring some form of payment. Ask if the clinic has a sliding scale. That means people are only required to pay what they can afford. If you are under 18, if you are a student or if you don’t have a job, the clinic will work with you to find a way to get you tested.

Be patient. Clinics can get busy, and there may be a wait. Try to be 15 minutes early for your appointment. You might even get in early.

Check in at the front desk. When you arrive, go to the front desk first. Tell them why you are there. If you are embarrassed to say it out loud, you can always write “STI TEST” on a piece of paper and hand it to the person checking you in.

Ask Questions. If you are worried about the cost, or insurance or privacy, don’t be afraid to ask.

Fill out all forms. Don’t worry. It’s confidential.

Wait for your name to be called. 

Answer Questions. You may get asked personal questions about your previous sexual experiences. Remember, they are here to help you, and they’ve heard everything before, so there is no reason to be shy.

Be Honest. Nobody is here to judge you. If you feel embarrassed, or scared, or nervous, it’s OK to let the person who is helping you know.

Be specific. You can let the person know exactly what you want to be tested for. If you want to be tested for STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea, but not HIV – just let them know. You will not be tested for anything without your consent, including drugs or pregnancy.

Follow the directions. The way you are tested will depend on what you are being tested for. For example, an HIV test may require drawing some blood from your arm or swabbing the inside of your cheek with a tiny stick. For other tests, you may pee in a cup.

Listen Closely: You may have to leave your sample in the bathroom. Or you might have to bring it back to the exam room. If you are not sure what to do next, just ask.

Listen to your doctor. Your doctor might recommend a pelvic exam. Learn more about what that’s like here.

Be Patient. Getting results may take 1-2 weeks.

Be Specific. When you are filling out paperwork, you can tell the clinic how you would like to be contacted with your results. They will work with you to help preserve your privacy.

Be Calm. If you test positive for any infection, don’t panic. Many STIs are curable. You can take medicine and knock them out of your body.

Be Cautious. The provider may tell you to wait a certain time period (maybe 7 days) after taking the medicine before having sexual activity with anyone. The medicine needs time to totally knock the infection out of your body.

Be Responsible. It is important to talk about STIs with the person you are sexually active with. It might be awkward to tell someone they were exposed to an STI, but it’s an important conversation to have. There are even sites like this to notify someone anonymously. Remember that if you test positive for chlamydia or gonorrhea, you may be able to get extra medicine for the person(s) you’ve been sexually active with through expedited partner therapy (EPT).

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?

For additional information on STIs, how they are transmitted and how to prevent them from spreading, just click here: https://www.chataboutit.org/sti

Frequently Asked Questions about STI testing.

THINGS TO REMEMBER:

For additional information on STIs, how they are transmitted and how to prevent them from spreading, just click here: https://www.chataboutit.org/sti

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?

Get Tested for STIs.

We created this site to help everyone feel more comfortable about a very sensitive subject. Find answers to some of the most common questions about Sexually Transmitted Infections and testing. 

BEFORE YOU GO:

THINGS TO REMEMBER:

MEETING YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER:

AT YOUR APPOINTMENT:

GETTING YOUR RESULTS:

Find a Clinic

There are over 150 clinics available to you in the Chicagoland region.

Click Here to Find a Clinic Near You

Ready to get tested? Don't worry, it's easy. 

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Here are some tips to help you prepare.

DURING THE TEST:

Did You Know?

What to Expect

MEETING YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER:

Testing is easy, confidential, and often free or low cost. If you’ve ever been sexually active, it’s a good way to help keep you healthy and safe.

Any sexual contact is a potential risk of STIs. 

Many STIs have no symptoms- you might not even know if you have one. That’s why getting tested is important. It is the only way to know for sure if you have an STI or not.

Testing is easy, confidential, and often free or low cost. If you’ve ever been sexually active, it’s a good way to help keep you healthy and safe.

Any sexual contact is a potential risk of STIs. 

Many STIs have no symptoms- you might not even know if you have one. That’s why getting tested is important. It is the only way to know for sure if you have an STI or not.

Find a Clinic Near You