How Allegheny County Residents Can Receive Free STI Testing At Home

The health department's testing program for sexually transmitted infections is now available to anyone over the age of 18 as part of its expansion.
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Annual chlamydia and gonorrhea testing for sexually active individuals is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite this, many people avoid testing due to the stigma surrounding sexually transmitted diseases. 

It can be a difficult conversation to bring up with a health provider. Not to mention, at-home testing kits normally start at around $50. But, with Allegheny County Health Department and Color Health’s  pilot program, free, confidential testing is available and can be mailed right to your home.

Since its launch in November, the pilot program has distributed more than 500 tests testing kits for gonorrhea and chlamydia. With its expansion, according to a report by WESA FM, the county hopes to make the program permanent by the fall, along with options to test for HIV and syphilis.

All Allegheny County residents over the age of 18 who have not been tested in the past three months can apply online to see if you qualify to receive a free at-home test kit. Once a few health questions are answered to determine if you’re eligible, the test kit is delivered in discreet packaging within five days. 

Then, a Color account is created under your name that allows you to view your results privately online. Once you complete the test, you mail the test at your nearest USPS drop box where Color’s clinical lab will process the sample. Within a week, you will be able to view your results. 

Diagnosing early can make a huge difference in the treatment and recovery process, as it can decrease symptoms and discomfort and avoid the spread. It is important to be tested as soon as you display any symptoms, and to keep in mind that many STDs are asymptomatic. 

If your results come back positive, Color Health’s website discloses that “a health care provider from Allegheny County Health Department will call you to discuss treatment. You may also receive a call from a disease intervention specialist to discuss sexual partners who might have been exposed. Partner Services is a voluntary, free, and confidential service to locate partners.”

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