Order Your Own Tests for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

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Who Should Get Tested?

Anyone who is sexually active should think about testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Make it part of your regular health care and test often. Your testing options depend on whether you have symptoms of an STI.

Testing Options

  • Option One: Order your own tests. If you have no symptoms, you don’t need to see a medical provider. Use Health e-Messenger to schedule a time to go to the lab.
  • Option Two: Make an appointment with a provider. If you do have symptoms, call 831-459-2500 for an appointment or visit our Same Day Care department (see off-campus options). 
  • Option Three: Get help. If you’re not sure what tests to order or when to test, talk to a Health Educator at Student Health Outreach and Promotion (SHOP: 831-459-3772) or talk to a nurse at Student Health Services by calling 831-459-2591.

How to Order Your Own STI Tests

If you're ready to order your own STI test, here's where to start.

Determine the tests you need

  • Self-directed testing is available for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis C. 
  • A routine panel consists of testing appropriate body parts for gonorrhea and chlamydia, (urine, vagina, rectum or throat) and blood tests for HIV and syphilis. 
  • Hepatitis C: this is a blood test that should be checked at least once after age 18 as specified by the CDC.
  • If you need more information before you decide what tests you would like:

Test the right body parts

  • A urine gonorrhea and chlamydia test will only detect infections in the vagina or penis. It will not pick up a rectal or oral infection. 
  • You will swab your own body part.  Gonorrhea and chlamydia testing can be done with a urine test, a vaginal swab, or rectal swab. You do not need to do both a urine and a vaginal swab, but a vaginal swab is more accurate. 
  • Gonorrhea can be transferred with oral sex so you may want to consider testing for oral gonorrhea, even if you have no symptoms. If you have had receptive anal sex you may need to do a rectal swab.  

Test at the right time

For sexually active students we recommend you test regularly and make this testing part of your regular health care.

When you test is very important. Sometimes testing too early after sex can produce false negative results. Below is a list of approximate times it takes for an infection to show up in a test after you’ve been exposed:

Time needed for STIs to show up in test results
STI Time needed to show up in test results
Chlamydia 7–21 days
Gonorrhea 1–14 days
Hepatitis C 2–26 weeks
HIV 2–4 weeks
Syphilis 3 weeks–20 years (depending on type)

For more information about when to test, watch this video

Understand the costs

For students with UC SHIP and no symptoms, testing has no out of pocket costs and can be done as often as you like. If you do have symptoms, you will pay a 15% coinsurance.

For students with CruzCare or who have waived UC SHIP, these tests cost money. Learn more about the costs here. Fees are posted to your student account. 

Most other insurances cover the costs for routine STI testing. You can do these tests confidentially. If you need support around STI testing and off campus insurance, contact SHOP or the Insurance department at insure@ucsc.edu. 

Complete the order form

  • Go to your Health e-Messenger, click Messages on the menu, select new message, select Self Directed STI Testing.
  • Complete the questionnaire and submit.

Make an appointment or go to the lab

  • Schedule an appointment with a provider if you have symptoms or questions.
  • Check the STI Testing hours if you don’t have symptoms and you prefer to walk in. 
  • Be patient: our lab is busy and sometimes patients with serious health problems will be called into the lab before someone who is waiting for STI testing.
  • You will be able to collect your own vaginal, rectal and throat swabs in our private lab bathroom. 

Herpes: no self-ordered herpes tests

Students are not able to order their own herpes blood tests are not offered for self-directed (i.e. "order your own") testing. Herpes blood tests can be falsely positive. This means the test can indicate that a person has been exposed to herpes but the test can be wrong. For these reasons we do not recommend routine herpes blood tests. See more information about herpes.

Sexual Health Services at Student Health Outreach & Promotion (SHOP)

Get Off-Campus STI Tests