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Head Down the Hill to Ensure You are STD Safe

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April is STD awareness month. Whether you’re single or in a committed relationship, there are a handful of confidential, low-cost, or free options in Washoe County to monitor sexual health and prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

If it is an emergency, Tahoe Forest Hospital and other medical facilities can perform STD tests, however it will come at a cost. But there are several low-cost, or even free, local options.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends sexually active people get tested at least once a year, and possibly more often if they are pregnant, at high risk, or depending on sexuality. The CDC recommends that gay and bisexual men get tested every 3-6 months, due to higher risk of HIV contraction.

Nicole Ross, SNC student and president of SGA says, “STDs are definitely more prevalent than most people want to believe. It is extremely important to get tested regularly if you’re sexually active so that you can protect yourself and others from something that can be potentially detrimental to your health.”

When going into a testing facility, it is best to be prepared. Many exams require a genital examination. Diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea require urinary testing, and testing facilities ask that you do not have intercourse for at least one hour before testing. In many cases, there are blood tests so make sure to stay hydrated and eat a good meal earlier in the day. Depending on the testing facilities, sometimes results can be rapid (40 minutes), whereas some facilities may require a few days to get results.

Most testing facilities will ask for a name and contact information. Confidentiality is key in this business, however. Washoe County Health Services has a protocol so patients don’t even need to use their phone numbers. Instead, the testing facility will give a patient a card with a number to call and a number that is associated with their case. e testing nurse will ask for a keyword or password, and when a patient calls, the clinic will ask for the case number and keyword before providing results.

Planned Parenthood has a location in Reno, located off 5th Street. It offers STD testing, diagnosis, and treatment for a variety of venereal diseases. It does not offer treatments for HIV/AIDS. Along with STD testing, this location offers STD prevention products like condoms, dental dams, and the HPV vaccine known by the brand name Gardasil.

The pricing structure is a sliding scale and depends on the income of the patient, so bring a pay stub to show income. Planned Parenthood’s phone number is (775) 688-5555, and patients can book an appointment online. It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Thursday, and stays open an extra 30 minutes on Fridays.

Washoe County Health Services has a community and clinical health sector that focuses on STD testing and treatment. Its location is 1001 E. 9th Street, Building B in Reno. e hours vary at this location and they recommend calling in advance. is facility also operates on a sliding scale, so bring a pay stub. The phone number is 775-328-6147.

Washoe County Health Services also partners with a handful of other organizations in the Reno area to o er free testing locations.

Our Center is an LGBTQA organization in the Reno area that offers free STD/ HIV testing on the first and third Fridays of each month from 3-6 p.m. e center is located on South Wells Avenue and all walk-ins are welcome during the allotted time.

Steve’s Bathhouse in Reno also offers free testing through its partnership with Washoe County. Patients do not need to be a guest of the bathhouse to participate. Testing is available one Wednesday per month. is spring it is testing on May 9 from 4-7 p.m.

Although they do not offer testing options, Tahoe Safe Alliance can help with prevention of STDs, as well as education. Tahoe Safe Alliance occasionally comes to campus with tabling events. Make sure to check the college’s online calendar for dates on when Tahoe Safe Alliance is available on campus.

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Head Down the Hill to Ensure You are STD Safe