Herpes & STD Testing at the Free Clinic – Tips for Your Free Herpes Test
How to Find the Free Herpes and STD Testing Clinic Near You
Do a Google Search for:
1. Free Clinic (+ your city or state) OR
2. Public Clinic (+ your city or state) OR
3. Planned Parenthood (+ your city or state) OR
4. Community Health Center (+ your city or state)
You can also search for:
• free herpes testing (+ your city or state)
• free std testing (+ your city or state)
BUT the results often seem more confusing. You will likely find better results by finding the free clinic near you and then check on the services that they offer. Most “free clinics” offer STD testing.
Public clinics are for people who are:
• Low income
Rarely do they encourage wealthy people with insurance to use their services and take up valuable resources. However, you will find that some are free for everyone, and others you will have to “qualify for” or at least jump through a few hoops.
Here are the Pros and Cons of the Public Clinics
• These people usually know more about STDs than your regular doctor. These people are the real STD experts. It’s their business to know.
• One of the main reasons for their existence is dealing with the issues surrounding STDs. You are not going to shock them. They are not judgmental people. They are there because they want to help.
• Great price… if you can convince them you qualify.
CONS (In the “Tips” section I tell you how to get around some of these cons, so read carefully):
• Herpes blood tests are often not included in the standard panel of tests that they offer. If their website says “STD panel” make sure that herpes blood test is included in that STD panel. (As more herpes blood tests have become available, and with improved reliability, more and more public clinics seem to include herpes blood tests in their standard panel of tests.) ASK.
• It’s hard to get information over the phone and off their website. If you have done your research and you know exactly what tests you want… it can be hard to find out if that is what they will give you. Not all herpes tests are created equal. The more you learn about testing for herpes and other STDs, the more you will want to know what kind of tests they will be giving at your Public Clinic. They don’t list that kind of information on their website and they don’t have the time to talk about it over the phone. (A question to keep in mind is, why get tested for herpes if you won’t know if it’s HSV-1 or HSV-2? You want a type-specific herpes blood test.)
• Since the tests are free (or reduced cost) you may need to provide proof of residency in the community and/or show proof of income. You may need to bring a paycheck stub, a utility bill, or a tax return. Best to do your research before you get down there and wait for an hour.
• You will need to bring a photo ID. These will be confidential tests, but they most likely are not anonymous tests. Usually it will state that only “Health Department Personnel” will have access to your records. You may want to know if this becomes part of a permanent medical file. With HIV testing you often have the option of “anonymous testing,” but that may not be the option for herpes and other STD testing.
• You don’t have control over which tests will be given. They likely will want to follow “screening guidelines.” Screening guidelines outline what a person should be tested for based on the statistical probability of them being “at risk.” They will likely have a “standard STD panel of tests,” and a herpes blood test may not be considered “standard.”
• Waiting times can be long, and appointments can be few and far between. You will need to be flexible, and you may have to get this taken care of on your day off.
Tips for Getting All the STD Tests You Want Done, Including a HSV-1 AND HSV-2 Herpes Blood Test
If you are a virgin, they likely will not want to give you a complete panel of STD tests. Does that make sense? They don’t want to use valuable resources on someone who is at a very low risk.
They will ask questions for a variety of reasons. You probably know that feeling… someone asks you a question, and you hesitate because you are trying to figure out what answer will get you what you want.
When it comes to STD testing many people don’t know which way they should “slant the truth.” Should they admit that they have been reckless and irresponsible? Should they admit they are a virgin saint who “just wants to be sure?”
Which Way do you want to Slant the Truth?
When they ask you questions, many of the questions are aimed to see if you qualify for something. They are screening you.
Before you go in:
1. Plan out what tests you want
2. Make sure they offer the tests you want
3. Figure out what questions they are likely to ask
4. Figure out how you will answer their questions
Few people want to make themselves out to be completely reckless and irresponsible. Furthermore, on permanent health records, this may not be so wise. However, no signs of STDs and no legitimate concerns may disqualify you from getting all the tests you want.
It’s not you against them, but your goals may not be the same as their goals. You are concerned for your health; they are running a clinic that serves many.
Asking Questions Will Get You Tests
Maybe you have never had any sign that you have herpes, and maybe the doctor is discouraging you from getting a herpes blood test.
When you ask questions they can’t answer, they will give you the test.
“Does a pimple, or an ingrown hair, or a red bump look like herpes? Because I have had those, and I don’t know if that is herpes. Is it herpes?”
They will likely give you the test? The truth is they don’t know, so they have to test you. You have been honest, you haven’t incriminated yourself, and you will get the test you want.