How to Get Tested For an STD

STD Testing Yale

STIs, or sexually transmitted infections, are bacteria, viruses, or parasites that can spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Symptoms vary, and some STIs are easily treated with antibiotics. However, some STIs can cause serious health problems. For example, chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.

Yale students are generally well-informed on STIs, but many don’t get tested. This is probably because of a number of factors.


There are a number of ways to get tested for STIs. Some methods require a medical professional to draw blood or urine, while others can be completed using a sterile cotton swab. Regardless of the method chosen, the test results will be available in about one to two weeks. Most STIs can be treated if caught early, and it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible after unprotected sex.

Many STIs have no symptoms, and people who are infected can unknowingly spread them to their sexual partners. This can cause serious health problems, including pelvic pain, infertility, and even cancer.

Although Yale students are known for their prowess in academics, they tend to be less diligent when it comes to STI testing. However, despite the pandemic, student groups like RALY continue to push for better STD testing among Yale students. In the past, sex education has been taught at freshman orientation, and Peer Health Educators distribute condoms throughout campus.


There are a variety of ways to get tested for an STD. You can visit your local clinic, or you can use a test kit that is sent to your home. These kits are more discreet than visiting a clinic and offer the same level of accuracy as a lab test.

Many STIs, especially if identified early, can be treated easily. Those that go untreated, however, can lead to serious health problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and heart disease. Getting regular tests is the best way to protect your sexual health and avoid transmission of STIs.

Most primary care physicians and gynecologists can perform blood tests to diagnose STIs. But specialized STI clinics are more equipped to handle urine and swab tests, which require skills or equipment not available in general practice. They also provide counseling and other services. Many of these clinics have been working to raise awareness about STI prevention during the pandemic. They have even partnered with social media platforms like TikTok to promote sex education.


While most modern STI tests are very accurate, no test is perfect. False results can occur for a variety of reasons, and there is always the possibility of misdiagnosis. If you are concerned about the accuracy of your test results, consult with your healthcare provider for more information.

A number of factors may contribute to low rates of STI screening among Yale students. For one, YUHS does not offer anonymous testing, and the results appear on students’ medical records. This can discourage some students from seeking STI testing, explains Dr. Paul Genecin, the director of YUHS.

In addition, many STIs can remain asymptomatic for several days, weeks, or even years. This can make them difficult to diagnose, especially for healthcare providers who are unfamiliar with newer tests such as combined gonorrhea and chlamydia DNA-based testing and HIV antibody tests. In contrast, home testing kits like Everlywell can be used by anyone with a vaginal discharge to help diagnose an STI.


Many STIs remain asymptomatic for days, weeks, or even years. That’s why it’s important to get regular testing to detect any infection early on and avoid passing it on to your sexual partners. Depending on the test, you will need to provide a sample of blood or urine and may also need to take a swab of affected tissue.

Getting tested for STIs isn’t always easy. There are a number of myths about STI screening that prevent people from seeking it. For example, some people mistakenly assume that their annual pap smear or “STI panel” includes testing for all STIs, when in reality it typically only tests for syphilis and herpes.

Despite these barriers, the University still makes it free for students to get tested. YUHS provides testing and condoms at Student Medicine, and a Yale-based reproductive rights advocacy group has launched a campaign called Sex Week to encourage more students to take advantage of the services.

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