Sexual Health: STD Testing

Why should I get tested? 

Getting tested is the only way for sexually active individuals to be 100% sure of their STD status and help prevent the spread of STDs. Relying on symptoms is not enough, as some patients may not present any STD symptoms or symptom onset may be delayed. Furthermore, STD symptoms can mirror other illnesses making them harder to diagnose unless they are being looked at specifically. If left untreated, STDs can have serious consequences for your health.

If I see my gynecologist, shouldn’t I be fine? 

STD checks may or may not be part of a routine well woman exam. Unless you have received this service from your doctor or clinic, you should get checked. This is especially the case for pregnant people, as many STDs can cause problems during pregnancy and/or be transmitted during delivery. 

How can I get checked today?

  1. Just let us know what test you would like. If you’re not sure, we can help you figure it out.
  2. Health information: while we may not need a complete history on your health, we may need some information in order to make sure we provide the best care possible. Before your visit, you may be asked to fill out a form regarding your information, and you may be asked more about your medical history during your visit. 
  3. Your test: based on your symptoms or preference, we will order tests for you. 

How much will my test cost? 

The Pharmacists Clinic offers a urine test for gonorrhea and chlamydia testing for $99 and a full STD panel (HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and syphilis) for $199.

Other tests may be ordered and vary in cost. 

Photo by Snapwire on

The Male Condom: A Man’s Wingman or Best Bro

Did you know there are FOUR types of male condoms?


Male condoms can be made of latex, polyurethane, polyisoprene, or sheepskin. Here’s what you need to know about each type:

  • Latex condoms are the most widely available and the most effective at preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and infections.
  • Polyurethane condoms are thinner than latex condoms so they provide increased sensitivity. These condoms also protect against STDs and are a great option if you are allergic to latex condoms.
  • Polyisoprene condoms can be used if you have an allergy to latex or polyurethane. These condoms have a softer and more natural feel compared to polyurethane while providing the same protection against STDs.
  • Sheepskin condoms transmit body heat well and prevent pregnancy but not STDs.  The pores are small enough to prevent sperm from passing through, but not small enough to keep viruses and bacteria from passing through.

While male condoms are fairly effective* as contraceptives, male condoms (other than sheepskin) are very effective at preventing transmission of diseases and infections transmitted by genital fluids, like gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis and HIV. Just remember that the condom only covers the shaft of the penis, so other infections that are primarily transmitted by skin-to-skin contact could still occur from areas not covered by a condom, such as genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis, and chancroid.

These are the most popular type of birth control currently out there. Not only are condoms readily available at your local drugstore, they are also fairly easy to use.

There is a fifth type of condom…the female condom! More to come on that product in an upcoming post.

Ask yourself! How many other names can you list for “condom”? Find out some of the condom slang in this Guy’s Guide to Condoms video:

* Male condoms are only considered fairly effective at preventing pregnancy since 18% of women relying on male condoms will have an unintended pregnancy in the first year of use.

About the Author: Kevin Vu is a third-year pharmacy student at the University of California San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Reference:  “Condom Fact Sheet In Brief.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013.  (Photo credit: meddygarnet via Flickr)