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Sexually Transmitted Diseases
|What Is A STD Clinic?
It is a clinic that specializes in testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). There is no one single test that screens for all STDs, so you will need a battery of different tests before receiving a complete bill of health. STD clinics specialize in offering the following tests in a combined package in one visit (although they are also available singularly):
The CDC estimates that there are about 19 million new STD infections each year — almost 50 percent occur in young people aged 15 to 24. Yet, as most STDs have no symptoms and go undiagnosed and treated, the only way to know your status is to be tested. How often you need testing depends on your sexual history and risk factors for catching a venereal disease. If you attend a clinic they will ask you to complete a questionnaire to assess your risk - the results of this questionnaire will determine which tests you should have. Most commercial clinics also have an online questionnaire on their website if you want to assess your risk straight away. In all instances if you do display STD symptoms, you should contact a clinic (or your doctor immediately).
Most clinics operate on a walk-in basis. When you arrive a receptionist will ask you to register. You may be given a unique identification number which will be used to identify your laboratory reports. You may have to wait for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how busy the clinic is, to be seen by a doctor. Your doctor will see you in a private room and will carry out a questionnaire to obtain information about which tests to perform. No physical examination is necessary, unless you are complaining of symptoms. For more advice about the testing procedure, see STD testing. Once the tests are completed you will need to wait between 1 and 5 working days for your results. The clinic will discuss your preference on how you would prefer to receive those results - by post, online or telephone.
Yes, some clinics offer free STD testing, but in most cases it is not comprehensive testing and there may be restrictions:
The CDC's has a website called the National HIV and STD Testing Resource. It offers a locator service where you can enter your zip code to receive a list of centers in your area.
Who Are Planned Parenthood?
Planned Parenthood are a network of health clinics that provide reproductive health care and sex education to men and women throughout the United States and worldwide. They offer full STD testing services as well as advice on general sexual healthcare. Their services are usually less expensive than commercial clinics and they offer discounted services (up to 60 percent) for military, students and teens. Appointments are on a walk-in basis.
|Related Articles on STDs
For more useful advice, see the following:
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WOMENS HEALTH ADVICE: ABOUT SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES