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How to get tested and treated for STDs without insurance

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STD testing without insuranceOnline testingWith insuranceMedicationsSummary
Options for STD testing without insurance include free clinics, community health centers, and online websites. Low cost options are also available depending on your income.
Medically reviewed by Stacy A. Henigsman, DO
Written by Cathy Lovering
Updated on

Health insurance plans often cover testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as a preventive service.

If you don’t have insurance, you can find free testing options through search tools like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Get Tested website.

Free clinics and community health centers can offer testing and access to a broader range of medical services, which might include lower cost treatment if you test positive. You can also purchase STI testing kits online. 

Treatment for STIs typically involves antibiotics or antiviral medications. Some chronic conditions might require long-term management therapy. 

STI testing without insurance 

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If you don’t have health insurance, you might have access to free or low cost STI testing. 

One place to start is the Get Tested search tool offered by the CDC. By entering your zip code into this search tool, you can receive a list of testing locations near you. 

The tool indicates which free services are offered on-site and which are available through mail-only self-testing. 

A location might charge a fee for some tests and not others. For example, a clinic might offer free testing for HIV, but charge a fee to test for chlamydia, gonorrhea, or hepatitis C. 

Services vary a great deal between facilities, but among the testing you might be able to access free or in exchange for a fee are:

You can also learn more about STI testing at a local free clinic or community health center. 

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Free clinics

Free clinics usually serve people who don’t have health insurance. Their doctors and nurses typically work on a volunteer basis.

There might be a small fee for some services at a free clinic. These facilities might also have free or low cost STI testing you can access.

Community health centers

Community health centers often provide comprehensive and integrated health services in areas where it’s hard to access affordable care.

These centers don’t deny service to anyone based on their ability to pay. They also charge on a sliding scale. As part of the health center’s services, you might be able to access STI testing. 

Online testing services

Several testing services are available online where you can get STI tests. 

Some websites offer free access to STI tests, like TestYourselfColorado. This service, exclusive to residents of Colorado, mails you a free test kit 7–10 days after you place an order.

You take a sample and mail it back to the service provider. Once the provider receives your samples, you have a result in 3–5 days. 

Planned Parenthood offers a telehealth service that provides STI home testing kits if you schedule an online appointment with one of their providers. They also offer low cost options if you qualify based on factors like income.

Optum Perks also offers a telehealth service to receive prescriptions for some STIs, including for people who have been exposed to chlamydia.

Need a prescription or refill? You can get discreet and expert on-demand care in as little as 15 minutes with no video or appointment required. For $25, answer a few questions online and get a treatment plan from a board certified healthcare professional. Get started here.

STI testing with insurance 

If you have insurance, your plan might include coverage for some STI testing. 

Under the Affordable Care Act, all plans must cover certain types of STI testing. For example, all plans must cover syphilis testing for pregnant people and adults at higher risk of contracting syphilis. 

When insurance plans cover STi testing, they usually do so under the category of preventive services. These services are free to you under the plan, so there’s typically no copay or coinsurance.

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What medications might you need? 

If you test positive for an STI, you can get the appropriate medications from a doctor. If you had access to testing at a free clinic or community health center, the same facility might be able to help you access the medication.  

Treatment for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis involves antibiotics. The first-line treatment for chlamydia is doxycycline (Oracea). Two alternative treatments include azithromycin (Zithromax) or levofloxacin (Levaquin).

The first-line treatment for gonorrhea is ceftriaxone (Rocephin) given by injection.

An alternative treatment is oral cefixime (Suprax). If you have an allergy to cephalosporin antibiotics, one recommended regimen is gentamicin (Garamycin) injection along with oral azithromycin (Zithromax). 

The main treatment for syphilis is penicillin G (Benzylpenicillin) given by injection.

Doctors use antiviral drugs to treat genital herpes. The treatment options are acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), and valacyclovir (Valtrex). You might take these antivirals during an initial herpes outbreak and during a recurrence.

Antiretroviral therapy is a treatment for HIV. It involves oral or long-acting injectable medications. 

Healthcare professionals treat hepatitis C with oral therapy. In the case of chronic hepatitis C infection, people might require long-term liver monitoring. 


Many options are available to access free or low cost STI testing without insurance. Free clinics and community health centers might provide you with this testing depending on your income status.

If you do have insurance, testing is often free as a preventive service in your health plan. If you pay out of pocket, you can access testing services online. 

Download the free Optum Perks Discount Card to save up to 80% on some prescription medications.

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