STD Testing Basics and FAQs for Patients

STD testing is a crucial aspect of maintaining sexual health for sexually active adults. If you’ve never had an STD test, don’t worry; testing is simple and generally fast and painless. Below, you’ll find more information on how STD testing works and what to expect.

When to get tested

STD testing is a big part of staying healthy. If you are a sexually active adult, you should get an STD test whenever you have a new sexual partner or at least once a year. This will help you catch any infections before they become serious and help keep your partner/s safe as well.

However, if you notice any symptoms, including pain, sores, or discharge, it’s a good idea to head to an urgent care center for same-day STD testing.

Shouldn’t I know if I have an STD?

You won’t always know if you have an STD. Some of these diseases may not cause symptoms to appear, and others may lie dormant before becoming symptomatic. Regular testing is the only way to know for sure if you do indeed have an STI/STD.

How to get an STD test

While STD tests are an important part of overall health, they aren’t always a regular part of physical exams or regular checkups. Instead, to get an STD test, you’ll have to ask your doctor. If this isn’t an option for you, STD testing can be done at your local urgent care clinic.

Which STD tests do I need?

There is no single test that can identify all types of STD. Instead, you’ll need to request specific testing based on your symptoms, your sexual activity, and the number of sexual partners you’ve had.

How do STD tests work?

Getting an STD test may be nerve-wracking, but the tests are straightforward. There are a few different types of tests that can help diagnose infections. Here are the main types of testing:

  • A cheek swab test will check for HIV. A soft cotton swab is rubbed on the inside of your cheek.
  • Urine tests require you to urinate into a cup. The urine will then be tested for the presence of infection.
  • A blood draw provides a panel of results for a variety of STDs.
  • A visual physical exam means your doctor will have a look at your genital area to check for symptoms like warts, sores, rashes, and more.
  • If sores are present, the nurse or doctor may take a sample of fluid with a cotton swab.


Depending on the type of STD testing you are having completed, results may be ready the same day, such as with HIV testing, or within a few weeks.

You will get a call from your healthcare provider to let you know your results. If you haven’t heard back from them in 2 weeks, give them a call to ask about the status of your results.

If it’s time for you to get tested, contact a nearby urgent care center to book a same-day STD testing appointment.