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Dr. Mark Hosko, MD, January 6 2023

Can You Get STD Testing At Urgent Care?

Understand the Types of STD Diagnosis & Treatment at Urgent Care

Sexual health is a major part of healthcare, including STDs, but it's a sensitive topic. Urgent care can help without the embarrassment and provide all the information you need. Before making a decision about how to handle your sexual health, take a look at the information below to help you determine if urgent care is the right choice for you.  

Does Urgent Care handle STDs?

Yes, many consumers go to urgent care clinics rather than go to a private practice or primary care physician for routine or preventative STD tests. If you are worried you have contracted an STD and need to visit a doctor, urgent care centers are an excellent alternative. Even if you are both taking precautions to avoid catching and transmitting STDs, it's recommended practice for you and your partners to get frequent STD tests if sexually active. 

Many STDs are transmitted through bodily fluids like blood, vaginal fluids, or sperm. While condoms are 98 percent effective in preventing the transmission of STDs distributed through body fluids such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, they do not protect against STDs spread through skin-to-skin contact such as genital warts, herpes, and syphilis. In addition, because some STDs lurk in plain sight and do not cause symptoms, you may be unaware that you have one. 

To ensure that you and your partner are STD-free, you should get tested once every three to twelve months, depending on your degree of sexual activity. Urgent care centers can assist you with STD testing and treatment if you have any questions. They are much less expensive than hospitals or private offices, and they frequently have more flexible hours to accommodate anyone's schedule.

How does urgent care test for STDs?

Getting tested for sexually transmitted illnesses is typically a source of embarrassment. They do not want to ask their primary care physician to test for diseases, so they go to urgent care instead. Urgent care centers are more discreet, making testing and treatment more convenient. People also do not need to schedule an appointment at an urgent care facility. 

The first step in STD testing is to assess the symptoms. The doctor inquires if the patient has any symptoms by performing a physical exam and checking. A pelvic exam is performed on females, whereas a genital exam is performed on males. The doctor searches for symptoms of STDs such as pimples, blisters, or other issues during the examination. 

To confirm or rule out sexually transmitted illnesses, the physician needs to collect samples. A small amount of blood may be drawn, and the patient may be asked to produce a urine sample. In addition, doctors may need to swab the throat, vaginal area, and anal region. Only patients who have engaged in anal intercourse require anal swabs. 

Can you get STD results instantly?

Although an STD diagnosis may be confirmed during a physical exam, in most situations, samples must be sent to a lab for confirmation. The results from the laboratory usually take a few days to get back then the urgent care will call with the results. Therefore, patients who have been diagnosed with STDs should return to an urgent care center for treatment.

Does insurance cover STD testing at urgent care?

Yes, for most people, insurance covers testing at most facilities. Testing for STDs such as HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea is one of the preventative health benefits mandated by the Affordable Care Act. However, whether or not your plan covers a specific STD test depends on several factors, including your age, gender, risk factors, and whether or not you're pregnant.

STD testing may be fully or partially covered, depending on the sort of insurance you have. The only way to be certain is to contact your health insurance provider and inquire about coverage. If your insurance covers STD testing and you've reached your deductible, you'll only be responsible for your copay. On the other hand, you may be charged for the whole cost of STD testing in urgent care if you have not reached your deductible or if your insurance does not cover it. The good news is that an STD test at an urgent care center is still less expensive than going to the emergency room or seeing your primary care physician.

Find out what STD tests are covered for you and how much they'll cost if you have to pay out of pocket by speaking with your nurse or doctor or calling your health insurance provider.

If pregnant or at risk for an STI, Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers STI screenings for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and Hepatitis B. If you are a sexually active adult with a high risk for STIs or STDs, Medicare will even cover therapy sessions twice. Screenings are under their umbrella of care once a year or during pregnancy. 

How soon do STDs show up?

When you initially catch an STD, it takes time for your body to recognize the disease and create antibodies against it. As a result, you may not have any symptoms during this time, which is known as the incubation phase. The incubation period for STDs varies by person and specific type of illness.

If you test for an STD too soon after the incubation period has passed, you may test negative even if you have the disease. Furthermore, even after the incubation period has been completed, some STDs can take months or even years to manifest symptoms. Because most STD tests employ antibodies as a marker of disease status rather than symptoms, having symptoms is not always a good indicator of infection. That is why, even if you do not have symptoms, you should be tested for any suspected STDs.

Here are the incubation time frames for symptoms of the most common STDs:

Where to go if you think you have an STD:

You have several options for coping with potential STDs. If you are comfortable going to your primary care physician, you can schedule a visit. When you cannot get an appointment in the right timeframe, you can also visit urgent care for help, often for less out-of-pocket expense. However, while you can visit an emergency room, you will experience longer wait times and pay far more out-of-pocket costs. 

How does urgent care treat STDs?

While many STDs are treatable or curable with treatment, untreated STDs can cause several issues. If you are sexually active, it's highly suggested that you get tested for sexually transmitted diseases or infections. Even individuals who have only one sexual relationship should think about testing. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you can get tested for most STDs. 

Because infection can exist without causing clinical symptoms, many professionals prefer the term sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, as several STDs are similar, you may get tested for multiple types. From cervical cancer to birth deformities, it's critical to get tested regularly to catch any STDs that might go unnoticed otherwise. 

Unfortunately, some STIs are not curable, such as HPV and genital herpes. Others are treatable with antibiotics, such as syphilis and chlamydia. However, only a doctor can diagnose and make the correct treatment plan. At Portland Urgent Care, we will help to give you a full treatment plan to cover symptoms, and provide meds, topical creams, and other treatments recommended by our doctors. 

Can you get STD medicine over the counter?

While most viral STI therapies are only available by prescription, some over-the-counter medications are occasionally recommended. First, an over-the-counter docosanol cream can assist to decrease the duration of an asymptomatic oral herpes outbreak. Next, Oral pain medicines such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, and topical pain relievers can help you feel better during a herpes flare-up. Finally, over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, and topical creams containing capsaicin can help with headaches and body aches.

Why choose Portland Urgent Care for STD testing?

Most visits, including STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) or STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections), have a wait time of fewer than 15 minutes at Portland Urgent Care. We do rapid testing to ensure you get relief as soon as possible. The treatment for an STD or STI is determined by the diagnosis but may include antibiotics and antiviral medicines.

Portland Urgent Care is open seven days a week to give you quick diagnostics, a precise diagnosis, and a customized treatment plan. If you're experiencing signs of an illness, don't wait to seek treatment. Same-day appointments are available with no wait time, and walk-ins are always accepted. Visit Portland Urgent Care today to get a correct diagnosis.


Many patients with STDs are likely to seek treatment at an urgent care facility because the wait times are reasonable, as are the costs. In addition, urgent care locations can provide discreet, immediate diagnosis and treatment for those who do not want to visit their regular care practitioner. Come to Portland Urgent Care for your STD needs as we are ready to help you with a treatment plan designed for you, ready to make your life better.

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Written by

Dr. Mark Hosko, MD

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