Most people think they would know if they had a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

The truth is many STIs have no signs or symptoms in the majority of people infected. Or they have mild signs that can be easily overlooked. This is why the term “disease” (as in STD) is starting to be replaced by infection (STI). The only way to know if you have an STI is to get tested.

Lots of people are confused about getting tested for STIs. For example, you may think your annual medical check-up will include tests for STIs, especially if your healthcare provider knows you are sexually active. The fact is that some providers might test for some infections when you come in for a regular check-up, while others do not test for any STI unless you ask them to.

If you’ve had unprotected sex, have a new partner (or more than one partner), or for any reason are worried you have been exposed to an STI, talk to your healthcare provider about getting tested.

You should get tested for the most common:

Your healthcare provider may not think you do not need to be checked for all of these, but it is important to know the most common.

Where can I get tested?

You can talk to your healthcare provider about testing, or you can search for a clinic near you using the search tool (provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

How is testing collected?

Getting tested can be quick and easy. Depending on what you are being tested for, your provider may take a blood sample, a swab, or ask you to pee in a cup.

What should you get tested for? When? How often?

Find out more about testing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While these guidelines are general ones, you are an individual. Your healthcare provider may have different recommendations based on your individual health status and history, of course.