Thursday, September 29, 2011
Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3
Teens have MANY questions about Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI's). One of their most consistent themes is "do my parents have to know?" Typically, that is followed up with, "my mom would kill me if she found out..." Teens- rest assured, though your parents may not be thrilled, in 15 years of practice I have NEVER seen a truly bad outcome from a kid telling their parent that they are sexually active. Believe me, as a parent, we'd rather have the discussion about your sexual activity BEFORE you have a viral STD like HIV, herpes or warts, and BEFORE you get pregnant. So, back to the questions:
1. Do I have to tell my Mom if I had an STD? In the state of Texas, anyone can be tested & treated for STDs without parental consent. However, if your parent is paying the bill (using their insurance) the doctor cannot lie and say they are treating or testing for something else- that is fraud, and the doctor can lose their license. I would strongly encourage anyone living with their parents to share this information- your parents love you & you will get through this together.
2. Can I get tested without a doctor ordering the test, like from an online source? Yes, there are multiple labs that allow you to order STD tests yourself. You can typically choose a single test you might be worried about (like your new partner tells you they have genital herpes) or a panel, that includes multiple tests. The key here is this: if your test is POSITIVE, meaning that you do have an STD, that lab cannot treat you. You are instructed to take the results to your physician for further treatment.
3. How much does it cost to get tested for "everything" if I pay cash? This has a huge range of answers, depending on where you go for testing and how much income you have. Online tests average around $30 per test, with a full panel being roughly $200. Community clinics and Planned Parenthood offer reduced rate testing, and some places offer free HIV testing. Please do not let cost stop you from seeking testing or treatment- timing is critical!
BOTTOM LINE: There are multiple options for STD testing that will allow anonymity, and work with your financial situation. Get yourself tested!
PS. For more details, FAQ, answers & stories, check out Seductive Delusions