How To Get STD Tested In Houston Without Visiting A Doctor
Unfortunately, doctor and hospital visits often involve high costs and uncomfortable discussions. They also require you to give your name and appear in person, which can be embarrassing.
But did you know there are three other, newer, STD testing alternatives that don’t involve a visit to the doc?
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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.
All of these alternatives are cheaper than going to a doctor or a hospital, and two of them offer complete privacy (Home Test Kits and Online Labs).
Below, we look at these three alternative ways to get STD tested, detailing the pros & cons of each and showing you where you can find them online and/or locally, in Houston.
Best of luck on your test!
1. Home STD Test Kits
A home STD test is currently easiest & cheapest way to get tested for STDs. You do not have to visit a lab or a doctor to get a sample taken.
Due to their complete anonymity, home STD test kits work well for those who are shy or embarrassed by the thought of going to a doctor.
The privacy provided by home testing is one of the main reasons for its rising popularity. Cost and convenience are two more.
Home STD test kits provide anonymity as long as you do not by from places like Amazon. Such stores might not keep your identity anonymous. This can be a problem if you wanted to keep the test private even from family members.
Home tests also cost less than other means. This is the cheapest STD test you can get. Kits that test for a single STD, such as Chlamydia or Syphilis, can cost as low as 50-60 dollars. A kit that tests for a wide variety of STD starts at around $150.
You do not have to visit a lab or make a doctor appointment. The test kit is delivered to you and then you mail back the sample. Results are then made available online in 1-3 days.
That said, home test kits do have their drawbacks.
The biggest downside to home STD test kits is reliability. Errors may result from poor handling of the test kit and sample, especially during mailing, and there is no assurance that the labs used by these companies follow stringent standards such as those of a local lab. It’s important to note that the FDA has not endorsed any STD home test kit, citing their high probability of inaccuracy.
Lack of counseling
If you got a positive on the test, there is no one to provide you with guidance on next steps.
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 Houston
If you would like the accuracy of a hospital lab and the privacy of a home test kit, you may want to look at one of the newer online STD test labs that recently became available in the Houston market.
Online STD test labs involve just a little bit more work than a home test kit, but you can trust the accuracy of their results and your privacy is guaranteed.
Online test labs will cost you more than a home test kit, but they are still far below the cost of medical lab work done at a hospital. Depending on which diseases you want to screen for and how quickly you want the test results, online test labs cost between $50 and $300.
Once you buy an STD test online, you just need five minutes to provide a sample at a local lab. Results are provided online.
You identity is kept confidential throughout the entire process. The purchase process is confidential and when you visit a local lab, you provide a code instead of your name.
Testing is conducted under rigorous lab conditions, ensuring that the final results are accurate and reliable. The lab processes and standards uses in hospitals are the same ones applied here. There is little to no risk of false positives or negatives with these tests.
Counseling Is Available
Unlike the first option, you are not left to figure out the next step on your own once you test positive. In this case however, you can opt for counseling either by a local health care professional or by phone. Remember, the decision to get counseling is up to you and should you want it, it will be totally confidential.
An online test lab is more expensive than a home test kit, but still quite affordable.
In fact, some providers give you the option of billing your insurance provider for the cost of the test, leaving you to pay very little out of pocket.
How An Online STD Test Works
The process is quite simple; you buy the test, provide a urine or blood sample at a local lab and then get your results online.
Results often take several days but you can choose for a one-day turnaround for an extra fee.
This diagram explains the process in more detail (click to view):
Where To Buy an Online STD Test
- With over 4,000 locations, STDCheck is one of the most popular online STD test providers in the US.
- Save $10 now!
- STDTestExpress.com is another popular test lab network with over 4,000 locations across the country.
- They will bill your insurance for the test, if you’d prefer.
3. Free STD Testing in Houston
Being free, many people see the quality of work done at a free test clinic as being below par.
The opposite is true: Free STD test clinics provide results as accurate as any other medical lab.
The downsides to getting an STD test for free are that you have to receive mandatory counseling and you will give up your anonymity.
If you lack the money for other tests and do not mind the mandatory counseling and lack of anonymity, a Free STD Test Clinic is probably the right solution for you.
Listed below are the local government health agencies that operate free STD test clinics in the Houston metro area – call them to find the right location for you.
Houston Department of Health and Human Services
6201 Bonhomme Rd
Northside Health Center
Sunnyside Health center
Locations are open Monday to Friday and no appointment is necessary
Houston Area Community Health Center
2150 West 18th Street Houston, TX 77008
Open Monday to Friday and no appointments necessary
Harris County Health Clinics / HCPHES (Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services)
Main Office – 2223 West Loop South, Houston, TX 77027 (713) 439-6000
- Houston – 5815 Antoine, Suite A, Houston, Texas 77091 (713) 602-3300
- Baytown – 1000 Lee Drive Baytown, Texas 77520 (281) 427-5195
- Humble – 1730 Humble Place Drive, Humble, Texas 77338 (281) 446-4222
- Southeast – 3737 Red Bluff Road, Pasadena, Texas 77503 (713) 740-5000
Open 5 Days A Week, Appointment Required
Facts About STDs in Houston
Being a very large city, Houston has its fair share of STD outbreaks.
Rates of STD Infection in Houston vs. US Average
Historically, Houston has always had a higher-than-average rate of Chlamydia infections.
Since 2012, there has been a steady increase in the occurrence of Chlamydia infection in Houston, increasing from 26,807 cases in 2012 to 35,594 cases in 2016.
This corresponds to a rate of 534.7 per 100,000 in 2016, higher than the US average of 456.1. In 2012, the US average was 474.2 per 100,000.
Gonorrhea infection rates in Houston are lower than in the rest of the US, and the rate of infection is rising significantly less than the rest of the US.
Gonorrhea infections in Houston averaged 122.7 per 100,000 in 2012 and 155.9 in 2016. During this period, the US gonorrhea increased by 35.1%, from 120.0 to 162.2.
Syphilis is less common in Houston than the rest of the US, but it is on the rise. The rate per 100,000 people in 2012 was 36.4, rising to 42.3 in 2016. The US average was 22.8 in 2012 steadily rising to 36.7 in 2016.
Houston has a higher rate of HIV infection than the rest of the US, with an average infection rate of 417.5 per 100,000 people vs. the US average of 375.