How To Get STD Tested In San Diego Without Visiting A Doctor
If you suspect you have a sexually transmitted infection, the first thought is probably going to a doctor. But this could prove to be expensive and inconvenient.
Many people also find it a bit embarrassing to have to explain their condition to a doctor.
Luckily, there are at least 3 better alternatives for the great citizens of San Diego.
You could get a home STD test kit; pay for an online test service; or, visit a free government clinic near you.
Each of these alternatives has their pros and cons, which we look at in detail below.
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4 Types of STD Tests Compared
The rest of this page reviews the pros and cons of each STD testing method and explains how & where to get tested.
Good luck on your test!
1. Home STD Test Kits
Buying an STD Test Kit is the cheapest option around. Most at-home STD kits cost between $50 and $150, depending on the number of tests you require.
All you need to do is go online to buy a home STD test kit. Just make sure you buy from a retailer who provides anonymity during the transaction.
Once you take a sample, you send it back and then wait 1 to 3 days for results.
This is a great alternative to a doctor if you want to maintain your anonymity throughout the process. Even the test kit arrives in a discrete packaging.
Some single-disease STD test kits cost less than $50.
At-home tests are usually very quick and easy to administer. The results can take as little as one day to come back, with the maximum turnaround time of about 1 week.
That said, home test kits do have some significant issues you need to be aware of.
Not As Accurate
The FDA has warned that home STD test kits are not a 100 percent accurate due to the lack of a strict lab sample collection and transportation process.
For this reason, it is recommended that you seek a doctor’s advice if you get a positive result on a home test.
If you test positive, you’ll need to find a doctor or free test clinic to speak with; at which point, the process is no longer anonymous.
Where To Buy A Home STD Test
I recommend buying your at-home STD test online from Amazon.com. Most local drugstores carry some home test kits, but the selection on Amazon is the best..
2. Online Test Labs in San Diego (confidential)
If you want accurate test results while still enjoying your privacy, an online STD test lab is your best choice.
Online test labs are private services that provide the anonymity of a home test kit, but offer far more accurate tests.
You do not have to collect the sample yourself. Instead, everything is done in the lab using a process that takes just a few minutes.
Because testing takes place in a traditional lab with rigorous standards, STD test results from online labs are highly accurate. You also get to maintain your privacy thorough the process.
Despite this method being more expensive than a home test kit, it is still cheaper compared to a hospital STD test. Some online STD labs will bill your insurance provider for you.
Online test lab vendors go to great lengths to maintain their customers’ anonymity. So much so, that you do not have to use your name at the lab you are sent to.
Instead, you are provided with a unique identifying code..
Everything is handled in a lab with processes that match the efficacy of a hospital lab, ensuring that the sample and testing process is not compromised in any way. The chances of false results are much lower than with a home test kit.
After you finish the test, most online lab providers offer free counseling from a trained licensed nurse.
There is a bit of an inconvenience in that you have to physically visit a lab too get a sample taken. But it only takes a few minutes and you can easily fit it into your lunch break.
How An Online STD Test Works
Once you select a lab, you’ll choose which test (or tests) you want and then make the necessary payment.
You will then be given a code to take with you to a local lab or sampling station, where you will go to get your sample drawn.
Results take around 2 to 3 days to become available online.
Some vendors offer an expedited 1-day turnaround for an extra fee.
This diagram below explains how it works (click to view):
Where To Buy an Online STD Test
The two main providers of online lab testing in the US are:
- STDCheck.com (Save $10) – one of the biggest and most popular vendors in the United States. Convenient, reliable and affordable.
- STDTestExpress.com (Save 10%) – great customer service and several payment options. They will bill your insurer for the test, if you’d prefer.
3. Free STD Testing in San Diego
If none of the above two options appeal to you, then there is a third alternative; free clinics.
In an effort to lower STD infection rates, the local government in San Diego has set up free STD testing services around the city.
These free clinics provide a wide range of tests at no charge.
If you live in the San Diego metro area, here are some locations you can get free STD testing.
Note that most clinics require patients to undergo mandatory counseling before or after the test.
County Health Services Complex (Rosecrans)
3851 Rosecrans Street, San Diego, CA 92110
Working hours are 7.30am to 4am on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. 11am to 7pm on Wednesday and 10am to 4pm on Thursday.
Central Region Public Health Center
5202 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92105
Open on Tuesday 1pm to 7.30pm and Friday 10am to 4pm.
North Coastal Public Health Center
104 South Barnes Street, Oceanside, CA 92054
Open on Wednesdays 12.30pm to 7.30pm.
Facts About STDs in San Diego
Generally speaking, San Diego has had a higher STD rate than the national average.
Most of the reported cases of STDs, and especially HIV, involve men who have sex with other men. In this section, we’ll look at some statistics involving various STDs below and compare them to the national average.
Rates of STD Infection in San Diego vs. US Average
The Chlamydia infection rate for 2014, the latest year we have data, was 490.6 per 100,000 citizens.
This was up from the previous year’s recording of 458/100,000 people.
It is also slightly higher than the US average for 2014, which stands at 484/100,000 people.
Gonorrhea infections in San Diego also saw a sharp increase from a rate of 88/100,000 in 2013 to 106.5/100,000 in 2014.
Even so, San Diego’s 2014 rate was lower than the US average, at 110.7 per 100,000 of the population.
Syphilis has been gradually increasing in prevalence since 2010, when the infection rate was recorded at 19.6/100,000 people.
By 2014, the infection rate had risen to 30.7, about 50% higher than the US average of 20.1/100,000 people.
When it comes to the number of HIV infections, in 2013, San Diego saw an HIV infection rate of 550/100K citizens.
San Diego falls between metro areas with high extremes of over 1,000 infections in 2013 and those with low extremes of less than a hundred infections.
- For more information on STDs in San Diego and to find out where you can get help, visit the San Diego County Human and Health Services Agency’s website.