The Key to Making Sure People Get Tested: Making it Easy

Ignorance isn’t bliss when it comes to HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections (STIs). Early diagnosis and treatment means better long-term health and less likelihood of passing the infection on to future sexual partners. So why don’t more people in the U.S. get tested? Two new studies suggest that where the testing is happening may be part of the answer.

Exhibit A: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at whether sexually active U.S. high school students had ever been tested for HIV and found that less than a quarter of them (23%) had. The good news is that the students with more risk factors for HIV — like having injected drugs or had sex without a condom — were more likely to have been tested. The researchers wondered whether a lack of information about testing locations could be partly to blame for the overall low rate of HIV screening. If we could talk to those students right now, we’d make sure they know there’s a searchable list of health care providers and community organizations that do HIV testing. The tests can be done anonymously, confidentially and quickly, and they are sometimes free — and search results from the list show all the details.

Exhibit B: Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the U.S. — about 3.5 million people are diagnosed and treated each year, and the majority are aged 15-24. Since these STIs can linger without any symptoms and can cause serious infections and infertility if untreated, the CDC recommends annual screening for women under 26.

Researchers at Washington University in Saint Louis looked at whether more than 2,400 young women enrolled in a big study there would take advantage of free STI screening and found that 57% of them did. Three factors made women more likely to get tested: having a new partner in the last year, having a completed college degree, and being able to do the test at home. The most important factor was home testing, where women received a kit in the mail that allowed them to collect a swab themselves and mail it back for testing. Other studies have shown that women prefer home testing, too. If you like this idea and your doctor doesn’t offer this option, you might be able to order a free kit online.

Here’s hoping that with better information on where to get testedóand better access to home testing kits for some STIsómore and more people will be getting their test on and, if necessary, getting treated.


How to Make Sex Safer in 4 Simple Steps
5 Myths About Herpes, Busted!
How to Reduce Your STD Risk


Originally published on


Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

Winn Adams
Winn A4 years ago


Helen Wu
Helen Wu4 years ago

Thank you for sharing :)

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen4 years ago

Thank you :)

Niala Wesley
Latoya Brookins4 years ago

Once I could have sworn that I had, well, not an STD (I wasn't having sex) but something was going on with my ladybits (that is what I call that area). And so I went to UMC, wrote down that embarassing reason for being there, waited in the lounge, explained it to two intake people, and then to a rediculously handsome doctor. And then had to pee in a cup for STD/whatever testing. And then got a curtained room/area where another rediculously handsome doctor gave me my first pelvic exam (with the speculum). The result? Nothing. I was in stirrups spread eagled for a McHottie doctor and spent several hours at the clinic only to be told that everything looked fine. On the one hand, it's my body so I should know better (who imagines something going on down there?) then him. On the other hand, he's a doctor and got pretty up close and personal with that area of me and would've noticed if something was peculiar. And it was a teaching hospital! But I opted out of that because no thank you, I was not about to have a room full of interns there for that. Imagine my luck if it turned out I went to high school with one of them. Oh, hey you who I haven't seen since graduation. You got an MD? I think I have (insert possibilities).

Robby R.
Robby R4 years ago

HIV isn't cool

Julie F.
Julie F4 years ago


Tim C.
Tim C4 years ago


Georgeta Trandafir


Jesco Carmichael
Jesco Carmichael4 years ago

Good to know - thxs