Maria Talks

Getting Tested

If you’re looking to get tested for an STI, you have a few different options.  First, if you’re comfortable seeing your doctor, and you currently have a primary care doctor, s/he can test you for STIs.

If you don’t have a doctor you regularly see, or you’re not comfortable going to your regular doctor for STI testing, there are other places you can go.  In Massachusetts, there are STI clinics and HIV/STI testing centers that provide private testing for free or low cost. All STI tests (except HIV) in Massachusetts are confidential tests except HIV which is the only STI you can get tested for anonymously. Some clinics provide both types of testing for HIV.

Confidential testing

Confidential testing means giving your name and some personal information to a clinic, but that information stays between you and the clinic unless you sign forms letting them give your information or test results to another person, like your doctor.

Anonymous testing

Anonymous testing can be done without ever giving your name at all.  When you go to the clinic, you will be identified by a code and any tests you have done will only have that code on them. This way, your name always remains unknown.

If you are under 18, you have a right to confidential STI testing.  However if you get tested using your medical insurance, it may show up on a bill your parents can see.  If you’re worried about this, you can get tested without using your insurance.

If you are in Massachusetts and want to find a testing site near you, or have questions about STIs, visit or call the Sexual Health Helpline at (877) MA-SEX-ED (877) 627-3933.

At the Clinic

When you go to get tested, you can talk to the doctor, nurse, or counselor about which tests are right for you.  For girls, the doctor might want to look at the area around the vagina, or inside the vagina using a speculum (a piece of equipment that lets the doctor see the cervix). They might use a cotton swab to collect a sample to be tested for some STIs. For guys, the doctor might want to use a cotton swab to collect a sample from inside the penis.

If you are getting tested for syphilis or hepatitis B, the doctor will draw your blood.

You can now get tested for some common STIs (chlamydia and gonorrhea) just by peeing in a cup.  Talk to your provider about whether that’s the best option for you.

If you are getting tested for HIV, there are different types of tests.  Not all clinics or doctors offer all types of tests, so if you are interested in a specific kind of test, it’s best to call first.  Visit our page on HIV testing for more information or call the Massachusetts Sexual Health Helpline at (877) MA-SEX-ED (877) 627-3933.

For sexual transmitted disease symptoms and how to treat std. Click here.