STI Testing Tuesdays: Free Testing for Gonorrhea & Chlamydia ONLY
* * BY ONLINE APPOINTMENT ONLY * *
Frequently Asked Questions
What are we testing for?
SHAC has partnered with the New Mexico Department of Health to offer free testing for two of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – gonorrhea and chlamydia. Both are bacteria that grow and multiply in warm, moist areas, including the mouth, throat, eyes, anus, urethra (tube carrying urine outside the body) for both sexes; and the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes in women.
These infections may cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, which increases the risk for ectopic pregnancy (when fertilized egg grows outside the uterus), and infertility. In men, they may cause epididymitis, which can cause infertility.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of gonorrhea and chlamydia are often mild and can even be absent. When a person does have symptoms they usually are:
- Burning during urination.
- Unusual or increased discharge from the vagina or penis.
- Painful or swollen testicles.
- Vaginal bleeding between periods.
- Anal discharge, itching, soreness, bleeding, or painful bowel movements due to rectal infection.
- Sore throat due to throat infection.
Who should be tested?
People get gonorrhea and chlamydia by having sex with someone who has the disease. “Having sex” means anal, vaginal, or oral sex. Both can be transmitted even if a man does not ejaculate. Persons who would benefit most from this testing program are:
- Those who are sexually active and NOT having symptoms (asymptomatic) – particularly if you have had multiple partners, or do not always use condoms.
- If you are having symptoms that might be caused by an STI, then make an appointment to be evaluated by a SHAC provider. Many of the symptoms caused by gonorrhea and chlamydia can also be caused for other reasons. You will require a more thorough evaluation.
This program only tests for infections of the female vagina/urethra and male penis/urethra. If you have engaged in either oral or anal sex, you could have an infection in one of these anatomical sites that WOULD NOT be discovered by this test.
How do I get tested?
Schedule an online appointment to provide your urine specimen:
- Testing is by online appointment only and limited to certain Tuesdays. To schedule an appointment, visit SHAC's My Health Portal. You cannot walk in or call the Reception Area to schedule testing. If you need assistance navigating the portal, please call SHAC at 277-3136 during normal business hours.
- At the time of your appointment, go directly to the SHAC Lab on the first floor. Look for the sign above the split door that says “Laboratory” near the Reception Area, sign in, and ring the bell.
- The lab technician will provide you with a urine specimen cup and specific instructions on how to collect urine for the test.
PLEASE NOTE: For this test to be accurate, you must refrain from urinating for a minimum of one hour prior to producing the specimen.
- The Lab will take your specimen and you can be on your way.
How do I obtain my results?
- Results will be available in about seven days.
- All testing-related correspondence is confidential and secure. You will be sent a generic e-mail from SHAC (email@example.com) to the e-mail address that we have on file indicating that you have a message. You will need to log into My Health Portal to read your message.
- The secure message will contain one of the following two messages:
- Your results are NEGATIVE (no sign of infection). No further follow-up is required on your part.
- Your results are POSITIVE (there is evidence that you are infected with gonorrhea and/or chlamydia). You will be instructed to call SHAC to schedule a follow-up appointment for further evaluation and treatment.
All positive results require an “in-person” visit for treatment – no one will be treated by e-mail or over the phone.
IMPORTANT: What are the limitations of the Gonorrhea/Chlamydia Urine Test?
- This program is only testing for two sexually transmitted diseases (gonorrhea and chlamydia), at one anatomical site (the female vagina/urethra and male penis/urethra). It DOES NOT test for HIV, syphilis, herpes (HSV), warts (HPV), or other STIs. This test also DOES NOT evaluate infections that might be present in the anus, mouth, or throat.
- No test is perfect. However, when you follow the directions given to you by the Lab, and collect your urine specimen exactly as directed, research shows that we can expect the following with this type of test:
- For gonorrhea, 98 out of 100 people with this infection will have a positive test. That means that on average, 2 out of 100 will be missed.
- For chlamydia, 92 out of 100 people who are infected will have a positive test, meaning that on average, 8 out of 100 people who are infected will be missed.
- What does that mean for you? If you have a negative result, but still have symptoms – even if they are slight or intermittent – it is imperative that you make an appointment to see a provider.
Some of the information in this document was derived from the American College of Physicians (ACP) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), both in the public domain.