Sexually Transmitted Infection Testing

Most testing is done at low cost based on your ability to pay. Insurance may be needed to provide some testing. This is rare and usually relates to testing for herpes or hepatitis.

Women should schedule their appointment when not menstruating. Men should not urinate for several hours before their testing.

It is possible to have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) without having symptoms. Getting tested is a good idea if you are having sex. Testing for women is recommended at an annual gynecology examination. There are no specific guidelines for testing frequency in men. Testing should also be done if you have symptoms of concern or sexual practices that increase your risk of getting an STI.  Testing is best done 2 weeks after last unprotected sexual encounter if you are asymptomatic.

The best way to protect yourself against an STI is to not have sex. If you have sex, use a latex condom for all genital-to-genital contact. Barrier protection is also encouraged for oral sex. Having sex with one person, who has sex only with you, will help reduce the risk of getting an STI.

Chlamydia, herpes and HPV are the three most common STIs in Temple’s student community.


Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that has no symptoms in 80% of infected women and 50% of infected men. If left untreated chlamydia can lead to serious pelvic infections that may result in infertility. 

Genital Warts or Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV is a virus that is associated with cancers and precancers of the genital and anal areas. The cervix (the opening to a woman’s uterus) is the most common site affected. This virus is so common that approximately 20 million persons have HPV, most without symptoms. The virus is spread through skin-to-skin contact. A woman’s Pap test can help detect changes on the cervix that are caused by HPV.


Herpes is a viral infection transmitted by skin-to-skin contact.  Type 1 herpes is associated with oral cold sores but can be transmitted to the genital area during oral sex.  Type 2 herpes, “classic” genital herpes, usually has recurrent episodes.  The virus can be passed by skin-to-skin contact not only during “outbreaks” or recurrences but also when symptoms may not be present.

Remember, vaginal intercourse and/or ejaculation is not needed to spread an STI. 

Learn more about sexually transmitted infections.

Use Go Ask Alice!, a service of Columbia University’s Student Health Services to get answers to your health questions.


Students often ask if parents can find out if care has been sought for a sexually transmitted infection. The answer is no, your medical information is confidential, and can not be released without the student’s permission. 

However, if you use an insurance policy that is in a parent’s name, the insurance company may send billing information to your place of permanent residence.