As we celebrate April as STI Awareness Month, we want to make sure you know your rights when it comes to STI prevention and treatment. STI testing is an important way to own your health.
Getting tested is 100% confidential!
If possible, it’s always a good idea to include a family member or other trusted adult in your health, but you DO NOT need permission to get tested or treated for STIs. You also don’t need permission to get the HPV Vaccine. STI testing and treatment is considered private, or confidential, and this information will not be shared without your permission.
Once school is back in person, teens can also visit a clinic during school hours without parents being notified.
STI care in California is FREE for teens.
- If you are covered by your parent’s health insurance plan you can use it to get STI testing for FREE. Learn more about protecting your privacy if you have health insurance through your parents here.
- If you have Medi-Cal, or qualify for the program, you can use your Medi-Cal coverage to get both STI testing AND treatment for FREE. Check to see if you are eligible for Medi-Cal.
- If you don’t have health insurance or are worried about using your health insurance there is a program to help you. See if you’re eligible to get FREE + CONFIDENTIAL STI services through California’s Family PACT program. Use our clinic finder to find a clinic near you to enroll in Family PACT.
- HPV is the only STI that is currently preventable with a vaccine – and for most teens, the HPV vaccine is FREE! All health insurance plans are required to cover it, and if you are uninsured or unable to pay for the vaccine, there are programs to help you. Ask your doctor or local clinic about your options to get the HPV vaccine. The HPV vaccine is also considered confidential, so a teen does not need their parent’s permission to get it.
What if I don’t want to go to a clinic?
If you are uncomfortable going to a clinic because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic or may have difficulty getting to a clinic for other reasons, there may be options for you. Many clinics are expanding their options for . and call them to ask about you options. Certain people may even be able to order STI test kits to their home. Find out if you are eligible.
If you test positive for an STI, you may even be able to get medication for your partner through a program called Patient Delivered Partner Therapy (PDPT for short), even if they don’t make their own appointment. You can learn more about that here to see if it sounds right for you. Call your doctor or a provider at a clinic near you today!
STI Prevention is Key
Not having any kind of sex is the only sure way to protect yourself from getting an STI or giving one to someone else. If and when you do engage in sexual activity, internal and external condoms can help prevent STDs! Find FREE condoms here.