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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Ask Scarleteen » Free/affordable STD testing?

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Author Topic: Free/affordable STD testing?
Emily9997
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Hi!
So I'm 16 and I'm currently in a relationship, and would like to get tested for STDs before having sex with my partner. I've been looking online for a place to get tested for free (or relatively cheap) in my area, but I can't seem to find anywhere. My family is well off so I don't qualify for welfare, but I'm in a situation where I can't tell my parents. I don't know if I could use their insurance information without them knowing or how I'd even get it without asking them for it, so that leaves me having to pay for it myself. However, the tests are expensive, and I want to get all the tests for the diseases I could have possibly been exposed to (which I hear they tell you after interviewing you about your sexual history?). I don't have the money to pay for it myself, so I don't know what to do. I really want to be responsible about my sexual health.
Thank you!

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Robin Lee
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Hi Emily9997 and welcome to Scarleteen,

Good on you for wanting to take charge of your sexual healthcare. Can I check in about whether your partner will also get tested for STIs?
Do you have a healthcare provider you see for other concerns? If so, you could make an appointment with them to talk about your sexual healthcare and about getting tested. They could tell you whether anything would come back on your parents insurance. They're also required, if you live in the U.S., to keep your conversations with them about your health and sexual healthcare confidential.

Alternatively, have you found any clinics in your area that provide services on a sliding scale? If you'd feel comfortable sharing your zipcode here, we could also take a look for you.

If this is important to you, it could be something you save money for and have done when you're able to afford the costs at a clinic. I'd suggest exploring options with your primary healthcare provider if you have one, and saving up money (and even finding ways to make a little more money) if a clinic is your only, or your preferred, option.

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Robin

Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Emily9997
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Thank you so much for the response! Yes, my partner will also be getting tested. He is in the same situation as me, so I'm really asking for the both of us.
I do have a healthcare provider, and I should be going in again soon to get shots so I'll be able to ask then. However I'm not sure if my partner will be able to make an appointment with a doctor without raising questions from his parents.
My zipcode is 22046. I've been searching but I haven't found anything that seems reliable. Planned Parenthood looked expensive, but I'm planning on calling hopefully sometime this weekend.
I'm definitely going to start saving, though I'm not sure exactly how much I or my partner will need.

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Robin Lee
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Since you have a primary healthcare provider, that's likely your best bet for getting sexual healthcare.

If you call the Planned parenthood clinic, they'll be able to tell you if their fees are on a sliding scale, and, if so, what that scale is.

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Robin

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Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
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The only clinic options I'm finding in your area are Planned parenthood or your public Health department. You can find information for your public Health department with an Internet search. how about calling both of them and seeing what your options are?

It sounds like there's a lot of secrecy around this sexual relationship. Do you want to talk at all about what keeps you from being able to talk to your parents about wanting to get sexual healthcare?

I also want to check in with you about whether you're up to speed on the differing levels of risk different sexual activities carry with them. here's some information you mmight find it helpful to go through.

zCan I Get Pregnant, or Get or Pass On an STI From That?

STI Risk Assessment: The Cliff's Notes

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Robin

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Emily9997
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I'll definitely call both this weekend, probably, whenever I next have time.

Well, the relationship itself isn't secretive; my parents are aware that I have a boyfriend. However, they definitely don't know anything about any sexual aspects of the relationship. My parents are very religious, and while they're not necessarily about "anyone who has sex before marriage is evil" they have said (especially my mother) time and time again that anyone who has sex before marriage is /stupid./ Mostly because they both think it's something that should be only shared between the person you're going to spend the rest of your life with, and shouldn't be "cheapened" by casual sex or even sex in a loving relationship but outside of marriage... And my mom is very concerned about "power" in the relationship, saying that I need to withhold sex in order to have power (because men are physically stronger than women, as a general rule, so as a way of "balancing things out"). I get a lot of lectures frequently, and they don't usually do anything but make me feel bad about myself. And I mean it's not like our conversations don't make me think, because they do--but they usually also take all the hard work I've done trying to make myself feel better about my sexual life and sexuality and just totally make it feel obsolete.
I have a lot of issues about sex and sexuality in the first place, and I've been working really hard by myself and with my partner to resolve them. And it's a lot to do with what I feel comfortable doing sexually, and making decisions /myself/ about that rather than letting my parents make them. I don't want them to make these kinds of decisions for me, and I don't think they should.
I know that if I told them anything about wanting to get tested or having a sexual relationship, they would immediately punish me (not allowed to see my boyfriend /ever/ let alone be alone together, loss of phone/computer/any way of contacting people, grounded, etc etc) and overreact, I'd get judged by my siblings because "they never had sex in highschool", probably told by my brother that I'm going to end up screwed up because of it (he's already told me that my life is going to end up "going down the drain" because I have a boyfriend) and all in all it would be a horrible idea. I only recently convinced my mom to let me get the HPV shot, and I'm pretty sure she only agreed because married people /can/ get it if their partner has slept with other people in the past (and because it's a cancer shot)

Thank you for the articles! Those are very helpful--I've read them before but they're definitely the kind of thing I want to keep bookmarked.

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Emily9997
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(they're also not particularly happy that I have a boyfriend in the first place. They're allowing me to see him but keep pressuring me to break up with him, and have made it clear that they're not happy I have a relationship in the first place. It's not about him, he's a great guy, it's just that I have a boyfriend at all. They would rather I had short, casual relationships than a long serious one, which is what I have right now)
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Emily9997
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My boyfriend went to his healthcare provider, and after discussing his sexual history and his doctor asking him a lot of questions, his doctor told him he definitely didn't have any stds and didn't need to be tested. Also, apparently in my state parents are notified if you DO get tested. Do you think it's alright to go ahead and not get tested, since the doctor says there's no reason to?
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