STD Testing NYC: STD test options in New York City

Last Updated: Apr 29, 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. In New York City, according to a recent Mayor’s Management Report, there were over 2,279 documented new cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and over 1,808 new cases of syphilis alone in 2017.

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.

Many STDs go unnoticed. You can’t tell someone has an STD just by looking at them. Most are asymptomatic, at least until the later stages of illness. For example, on average, people with HIV do not develop symptoms for a couple of years. The only way to prevent future complications is to get tested regularly to ensure early detection is more likely.

Summary for recommendations

  • Best for at-home STD testing in NYC: LetsGetChecked
  • Best for in-person STD testing in NYC: STDcheck Clinics
  • Best for free STD testing: NYC Dept. of Health public clinics

Your STD Testing Options in NYC

You have many options when it comes to STD testing in New York City, 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 aprivatetesting 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 NYC. STDcheck, for example, has over 70 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 X locations across the five boroughs, there is likely a testing center within a few blocks of your home or office, no matter where you live. 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. [Update: as of Spring 2019, Personalabs is no longer selling STD tests online to New York State residents.]

3. Reduced cost and free testing

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 nearest one of the eight clinics near 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 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. 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 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. If you have to go over lunch, we recommend the Jamaica location as we find that it is the least crowded at that time (though it can be out of the way).

The eight clinic locations are:

  • Central Harlem, 2238 Fifth Ave., 1st Fl., New York, NY 10037
  • Chelsea, 303 Ninth Ave., New York, NY 10025
  • Corona, 34-33 Junction Blvd., Jackson Heights, NY 11372
  • Crown Heights, 1218 Prospect Pl., 2nd Fl., Brooklyn, NY 11213
  • Fort Greene, 295 Flatbush Avenue Extension, 2nd Fl., Brooklyn, NY 11201
  • Jamaica, 90-37 Parsons Blvd, 1st Fl., Jamaica, NY 11432
  • Morrisania, 1309 Fulton Ave., 2nd Fl., Bronx, NY 10456
  • Riverside, 160 W 100th St., New York, NY 10025

For more information about clinic hours of operation, please visit the NYC Health website.