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: