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STD Testing in California

Getting tested for STDs in California can help you identify STDs early, protect yourself and your partners, and limit the spread of STDs – especially STDs with undetectable or mild symptoms.

STDs are a national concern, and California has an especially high rate of syphilis, ranking seventh in the country according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, the state is ranked sixth for congenital syphilis, 32nd for chlamydia, and 25th for gonorrhea.

Many STDs are curable. For those that aren’t, treatments are usually available to help manage symptoms and prevent you from passing them onto others. If you’re sexually active, regular testing is the only way you can know for sure if you have an STD and get the treatment you need to prevent potentially serious health issues and stop the spread.

There are numerous California STD testing resources where you can get answers to your questions about STDs and get tested, often for free or at a low cost. AHF offers free testing, and Planned Parenthood offers a full suite of sexual health services, along with interpreters if you let them know in advance.

California STD Testing Directory

STD Screening Recommendations and Risk Factors

If you have sex, you are at risk for getting an STD. According to the CDC, risk factors for STDs include:

  • Unprotected sex (anal, vaginal, or oral)
  • Sex with multiple partners
  • Anonymous sex partners
  • Sex under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Injection of drugs or sharing needles

Should you get tested for STDs? And how often? Talk to your doctor to be sure, but you should generally follow these CDC recommendations:

Who should get tested How often to test
Anyone who is sexually active At least once for HIV and more often if you have new partners
Sexually active women under 25 or women 25+ with new or multiple sex partners or a partner with an STD Annually for gonorrhea and chlamydia
Pregnant women During pregnancy for syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B and C, chlamydia, gonorrhea
Sexually active gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men
  • Annually for syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea (every three to six months if you have multiple or anonymous partners)
  • Annually for HIV
  • Annually for hepatitis C if living with HIV
Anyone who has unsafe sex or shares injection drug equipment Annually for HIV and Hepatitis B and C
People who have had oral or anal sex Discuss throat and rectal testing with your health care provider

STD Testing in California:

California Community STD Testing Centers

Community-based STD testing organizations generate awareness and foster social change while providing access to testing and treatment.

If you’re concerned about visiting your regular doctor or can’t afford the cost of private testing, a community testing center may be able to help. While community testing centers may charge a fee for STD testing, it’s common to find free or low-cost testing from these resources:

 

County of Los Angeles Public Health

LA County’s Division of HIV and STD Programs offers multiple STD/HIV screening and treatment resources that are available throughout Los Angeles County, and many screening sites listed are free.

600 South Commonwealth Avenue, 10th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90005
213-351-8000

Orange County Public Health Services

OC Public Health Services has STD testing and prevention services throughout the county, including free or low-cost STD testing and information, partner services, and prevention services for HIV-negative and HIV-positive individuals.

1725 West 17th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706
800-564-8448

Sacramento County Department of Health Services

Sac County DHS’ Sexual Health Clinic helps prevent the spread of HIV/STDs by promoting sexual wellness through testing, treatment, education, partner follow-up services, linkage to care, and prevention services.

4600 Broadway, Suite 1300, Sacramento, CA 95820
916-875-1551

San Bernardino County Public Health

San Bernardino County DPH has several clinic locations throughout the county that ensure access to testing, treatment, and education to help reduce STD infections within the community, especially the most impacted population groups.

351 North Mountain View Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92415
800-722-4777

San Diego County Health & Human Services Agency

San Diego County HHSA’s HIV, STD, and Hepatitis Branch provides testing and clinical services for HIV and most STDs, including treatment for most STDs, at STD clinics located throughout the county.

1600 Pacific Highway, Room 206, San Diego, CA 92101
619-293-4700

San Francisco City Clinic

SF City Clinic offers low-cost STD testing, diagnosis, and treatment of HIV and common STDs as part of the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s STD services.

356 7th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
415-487-5500

San Joaquin County Public Health Services

SJCPHS’ STD services include confidential STD testing and treatment, HIV testing, and educational STD facts sheets in English and Spanish.

1601 East Hazelton Avenue, Stockton, CA 95205
209-468-3820

Santa Clarita County Public Health

Santa Clarita County Public Health offers HIV testing, STD screening and treatment, PrEP and PEP services, and comprehensive case planning and coordination for individuals newly diagnosed with HIV.

976 Lenzen Avenue, Suite 1800, San Jose, CA 95126
408-792-3720

STD Resources in California

Learn more about STDs and the signs and symptoms that you might have contracted an STD. You’ll find numerous authoritative resources at the state and national level that provide valuable information about the most common STDs, testing procedures, and prevention.

California Department of Public Health: CDPH offers detailed information about common STDs, data and statistics, STD awareness campaign resources, and a list of local health jurisdictions.

San Francisco Department of Public Health: SFCDCP offers downloadable fact sheets on all types of infectious diseases, including common STDs.

Riverside County Department of Health: Riverside County DOH’s HIV/STD Program has a list of resources, including local, state, and national agencies, with assistance programs, adolescents’ sources, STD learning centers, treatment guidelines, and STD fact sheets.

San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency: San Diego County HHSA provides a list of phone numbers and links to authoritative web pages, along with STD facts sheets and answers to frequently asked questions about the most common STDs.

California Department of Education: CDE provides statewide and national sexual health resources for students and teachers on clinical services, medically accurate sexuality information, LGBTQ resources, HIV/STD testing resources, and 24/7 emergency hotlines.

CDC STD Fact Sheets: CDC offers basic and detailed STD fact sheets in English and Spanish and other informational documents on sexual health that can be downloaded as printable versions.

Frequently Asked Questions About STD Tests in California

Which STD has the highest number of cases in California?

Chlamydia is the most common STD in California at a rate of 452.2 cases per 100,000 people in the state. But California ranks highest for primary and secondary syphilis at seventh in the nation, though the rate of infection is lower than chlamydia at 19.5 cases per 100,000 people.

Is STD testing free in California?

There are free STD clinics in California, including the City of Los Angeles Public Health and Orange County Public Health Services.

How much does STD testing cost in California?

The cost of an STD test will vary by location and test type. Some clinics, usually community or nonprofit clinics, offer free or low-cost testing. Labs, clinics, and at-home testing companies may accept insurance to cover or lower your cost of testing.

Lab testing fees range from $8 to $150. At-home tests cost between $35 and $175 per test.

What is included in a full STD panel?

When getting a full STD panel, expect testing for HIV, herpes, hepatitis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

Is STD testing covered by insurance?

Insurance coverage depends on the clinic you visit, but most public and private STD clinics accept insurance. Contact the clinic before your visit to ask about insurance policies.

How long does it take to get STD results?

Some clinics offer rapid results, such as HIV test results within 30 minutes, but other tests may take up to a week to return results particularly bacterial testing including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020 STD Surveillance Report. Updated 2021. Accessed September 14, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/std/statistics/2020/tables/2020-STD-Surveillance-State-Ranking-Tables.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California – State Health Profile. Updated 2016. Accessed September 14, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/stateprofiles/pdf/California_profile.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) Fact Sheets. Updated January 13, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/std/healthcomm/fact_sheets.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV/AIDS & STDs Basic Fact Sheet. Updated April 12, 2022. Accessed September 14, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/std/hiv/stdfact-std-hiv.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) Which Tests Should I Get? Updated December 14, 2021. Accessed September 14, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/std/prevention/screeningreccs.htm