STD Testing Austin: Guide to your best testing options

Last Updated: May 1, 2019

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are almost 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) each year in the U.S. alone. According to the STD Surveillance Report published by Texas Health and Human Services, Travis County had one of the highest STD infection rates in Texas. STDcheck ranks Austin #1 as the U.S city with the most positive STD Tests.

Austin, with its thriving music and SXSW scene, plus one of the largest universities in the US, is responsible for most of the county’s new cases. In 2017 alone Travis County saw:

  • 8,653 new chlamydia cases
  • 1,076 new syphilis cases
  • 300 new gonorrheacases
  • 221 new HIV cases

Screening for STDs regularly plays a critical role in helping detect any infection as early as possible. The sooner you know that you are infected, the sooner you can undergo treatment. As with many diseases, early diagnosis of an STD means that any treatment is more likely to be successful. If the infection goes undetected for extended periods of time, effective treatment becomes more challenging and complicated, and the chances of reversing the damage are much lower.

Summary for recommendations

  • Best for at-home STD testing in Austin: LetsGetChecked LetsGetChecked
  • Best for in-person STD testing in Austin: STDcheck Clinics
  • Best for free STD testing: Austin Public STD Health Clinic

Your STD Testing Options in Austin

You have many options when it comes to STD testing in Austin, but here are our top three:

1. Purchase test online/take test at home

How it works:

In our opinion, this first testing option is by far the most convenient. You simply choose and purchase the specific STD test that you want to take.

Next, you wait a few days until your test kit arrives in the mail [the packaging for all our recommended providers is 100% unlabeled and discreet]. Follow directions to extract a sample, usually a simple pinprick blood sample.

You then return the sample in the included, prepaid box.

Within two to five days, after a physician processes your results, you will receive the results via either a smartphone app or email. All the providers we recommend encourage you to speak with a physician, free of charge, after you review your results. We highly recommend that you take advantage of this service, especially if you test positive for any STD.

Who are these tests best for?

This testing option is our preferred method for testing for STDs since you can complete the entire test in the privacy of your own home. The tests are very confidential, and we see very little downside in selecting this method.

Which testing company do we recommend?

Our top choice for 100% at-home testing is the testing provider LetsGetChecked. We especially appreciate how the company uses the most advanced testing technology available, and how all its lab facilities are CAP or CLIA certified. LetsGetChecked is also currently giving Innerbody readers an additional 15% discount [use coupon code: INNERBODY upon checkout], which helps bring the costs down.

Our runner-up recommended test provider is myLAB Box, which is also a solid choice.

2. Purchase test online/take test at a private testing center

How it works:

As with option #1, you start this process online by selecting and purchasing the specific STD test that you want to take. After your purchase, you print out your test receipt and confirmation.

The next step is selecting a convenient testing clinic. The top providers have clinics all over Austin. STDcheck Cinics, for example, has over 20 locations. Though appointments can sometimes reduce wait times during busy periods such as lunchtime, they are not necessary. The actual testing process usually takes less than 10 minutes.

The last step is simply waiting for your results to be processed. In one to two days, the testing clinic will get back to you with the results via your choice of text, email, or phone call. All the testing companies that we recommend provide free follow-up consultations in the event of a positive test result. Again, Innerbody advises you to always take advantage of this free service.

Who are these tests best for?

This testing option is great for those who prefer the convenience of ordering a test online but would rather have a medical professional do the actual sample collection. This option is also best for those who need their results back in the fastest time possible. Many of the best providers return results within 48 hours.

Which testing company do we recommend?

Our top choice for in-person STD testing is STDcheck. With over 20 locations in the greater Austin area, there is likely a testing center within a short distance of your home or office. All STDcheck tests are FDA-approved and all of its labs are CLIA-certified. The company offers the most discreet testing available (you don’t even have to give your real name).

Our runner-up recommended test provider is Personalabs.

3. Reduced cost and free testing: visit a city-run clinic

How it works:

We are not big fans of this method for the same reason we do not like having to go to the DMV. You find the clinic nearest to you, show up, and take a number. After your number is finally called and your sample is collected by clinic staff, you have to wait two to three times as long for the city to process your sample and learn about your results. If you have insurance, you must give them all your information. Lastly, you sometimes must sit through a mandatory counseling session after you take the test.

Who are these tests best for?

The only thing we like about this testing option is that if you can demonstrate financial need, you can purchase the test at a reduced rate or even receive a free test altogether. It is important to keep in mind, however, that many clinics charge at least a $20 testing fee at minimum. Therefore, if cost is a major concern for you, and you have the extra time to spare, this option should be considered.

Which testing location do we recommend?

All of the city’s public testing clinics are more or less the same in terms of size and cleanliness, so we recommend just stopping by the one that is nearest you. However, when you go to take your test really matters, as the wait times just before lunch through 4p.m. can be long. We recommend going as early in the morning as possible.

Our top three public clinic locations are:

  • Austin Health and Human Services, 15 Waller St. Austin Tx 79702
  • Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, 9041 Research Blvd. Austin, TX78758
  • MHMR CARE Program, 1631E. Second St. Austin, TX 78702 (HIV and hepatitis C testing only)

For more information about the clinics above or STD testing in Austin, please visit the Austin Public Health website.

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