What’s It Like for Guys to Get an STD Test?
Originally Published: December 5, 2013
Revised: December 9, 2013
I’m sure you all have been bombarded with the phrase, “Get tested!” But how many of you actually do get tested or even know exactly what that phrase means? Recently, I took a trip to my local free clinic to see what it was like to get tested, but it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.
They say it’s a man’s world, but that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). I learned that my local Planned Parenthood only offers STD testing for women. They would give me an HIV test for $15. But I turned it down because I wanted to go to a place that would test for other STDs as well. What’s a guy got to do to get tested for chlamydia or gonorrhea?
After lots of calls, I found a free clinic 20 minutes away from my house that offers free HIV and STD testing for men on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The best part was that they accepted walk-ins, so I didn’t have to make an appointment. I could just walk in whenever I was free.
They say it’s a man’s world, but that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
The Day of the Test
I went to the clinic, waited in line, put my name down and took my seat. A few minutes later, a woman called my name and told me to follow her. I was then taken to a private room where condoms were available, as well as plenty of brochures on HIV and other STDs.
I was shocked by how simple and quick the HIV test was. The nurse explained that I just needed to put a swab into my mouth and rub it against my gums. Within 20 minutes, I knew my results! I can now officially say that I am HIV negative. I felt relieved because even though I had always thought that I didn’t have HIV, this test confirmed it. Best of all, the test didn’t cost anything.
To test for STDs, your health care provider needs samples from your body. They can come from your mouth (like the rapid HIV test), from the tip of the penis during a urethral swab test, from vaginal fluids, from urine or blood.
The next STD test I took was a blood test. The nurse asked me for my arm. As I gave it to her, I thought, Oh gosh, here we go, and closed my eyes. I felt a little pinch as she drew blood, but it was over soon enough. She explained they would call me to come in when the results were ready in two weeks. I thanked her and was on my way out of the clinic totally stress-free. “I did the right thing today,” I repeated to myself as I walked back to my car.
My STD Testing Results
Two weeks later, the clinic called me and told me that my results were ready. I felt a little nervous when I heard that because I had forgotten that I got tested, since I was busy with school. The next day, I went back to the clinic. I met privately with nurse who explained my STD test results. Thankfully, I tested negative for herpes, syphilis and hepatitis B.
But what about chlamydia and gonorrhea? It turns out you have to give a urine sample to be tested for them. A urethral swab test, which involves having a cotton swab gently inserted ¾ inch into the tip of the penis, could also be taken to test for chlamydia, gonorrhea as well as trichomoniasis. In girls, they can collect a sample of vaginal fluids to test for these STDs. I learned you have to ask what you’re being tested for to be sure you’ve been tested for different STDs.
While finding a health center that was close to my house, free or low-cost and offered testing for guys was a little difficult, actually getting tested and knowing my status was definitely worth the frustration. The testing itself is pretty easy, especially the HIV test. However for those who fear blood and needles, I say close your eyes and bear the pinch! Finding out your HIV and STD results is completely worth it. Trust me. You’ll be glad you did.
Check out our Clinic Finder to find a clinic near you.
Please login to comment on this story
STDs. Those initials are a little menacing. But the full phrase, “sexually transmitted diseases,” is worse. STDs are those things health teachers show detailed, terrifying pictures of. Sometimes you just hear about the horrifying symptoms that…
Read Story »
In the fall 2013 issue of Sex, Etc., I wrote about getting tested for a few out of the many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) out there. It can be difficult to know which STDs to be tested for. To make […]
Read Story »
Though I’ve never had an STD scare, I’ve always gotten tested before having sex with a new partner. The first time I was screened I was still in high school and living at home with my religious parents who I […]
Read Story »