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If You Ever Plan To Have Sex, Use This Guide To Get Tested For Free

Because knowing your status should be as easy as, well, peeing in a cup.

Getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is a great way to keep yourself and others healthy when you're sexually active.

Think an STI can never happen to someone like you? Well, STI rates are currently the highest they've ever been, and more than half of those infections occur in people under the age of 25.

But don't freak out. STIs are all treatable, and many of them are even curable with a simple dose of antibiotics. The thing is, you really need to get tested to know you have one.

Luckily, getting tested is actually really quick and easy. Here's how to find free (or cheap), confidential testing near you:

Step 1: Use an online search engine to find nearby testing sites that offer free or affordable services.

Those search results will show you clinics that offer at least some STI testing services for free. But that doesn't mean that everything will be free for everyone.

The best way to find out if testing will be free and confidential is to do research online or call the clinic yourself.

Let's say you're on your parents insurance and you don't want them to find out you went for an STI test. Or maybe you have insurance but you can't afford to pay for tests at this time. You should still be able to get free testing at these sites, but you won't know for sure until you ask.

Undocumented immigrants can also seek STI services at these free clinics. "You should not be asked for documentation in clinics run by public health departments or other free STI testing clinics, that's not normal," Dr. Kathleen Page, Chief of STD/HIV/TB clinical services at the Baltimore City Health Department, tells BuzzFeed Health. But if you're worried about documentation, you can always call the clinic ahead of time and ask what kind of identification you need to present in order to get services.

You can also try these sites to find free or sliding-scale clinics in your area:

* STDcheck.org

* TeenSource.org

* FreeSTDcheck.org

* Planned Parenthood

If you already have insurance and just want to see your doctor, you may be able to get some STI tests for free (or with a copay).

Step 2: Make an appointment, and confirm whether the services you want are free beforehand.

Keep in mind when making an appointment that some STIs take a little while to show up on a test — so timing matters.

Step 3: Once you're at the clinic, you'll need to chat with the doctor or nurse to find out which STI tests you need.

During your appointment, it's important to be as open and honest as possible about your sexual behaviors.

Good news: Most STI tests are relatively quick and non-invasive.

Minors are allowed to get STI services without their parent's consent in all 50 states, but some states require minors to be of a certain age.

Heads up: If you're on your parents insurance, the STI services might still show up on the statement that comes in the mail.

If you're ever concerned about confidentiality, you can always talk to the clinic staff or your doctor.

Remember: If you're experiencing any strange symptoms or think you have a sign of an STI, go get tested immediately.

And you can always prevent STIs in the future by using condoms, getting vaccinated, and staying informed.