How and where do I get tested for STIs at Harvard?

EXPERT ANSWER:

Dear Anonymous,

Thanks for asking about locations for STI testing. There are a couple of options so I’ll categorize them.

At Harvard:

  • STI testing is covered for all Harvard students under the Student Health Fee

  • Call 617-495-5711 to make an appointment OR go to huhs.harvard.edu and log into your patient portal. Make sure to click STI testing as the reason for your appointment

Outside of Harvard (fee-for-service):

  • Planned Parenthood

    • Located at 1055 Commonwealth Avenue Boston, MA 02215

Outside of Harvard (free services):

  • MGH

    • Located at MGH Cox Building, 5th Floor, 55 Fruit Street Boston, MA 02114

  • Project Trust

    • Located at 721 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA, 02118

  • Fenway Community Health Center

    • Located at 1340 Boylston Street Boston, MA 02215

If you ever have any more questions regarding getting tested please stop by our office on the 6th floor of HUHS.

Best,

Amanda Ayers, MPH

Health Educator

Health Promotion & Educatio


STUDENT ANSWER:

First off, props for trying to figure this out! Honestly the hardest part of getting tested is just taking the initiative to go do it. If you’re choosing to have sex, it’s good practice to get tested about once (or more!) a year. Thankfully, at Harvard this doesn’t have to be a huge hassle. If you just google UHS patient portal and log in you can make an appointment with University Health Services online. Under the “Primary Care” tab, select “Sexually Transmitted Infection Testing” and pick a time that works for you.

The test itself may include a genital exam, a saliva swab, and a urine or blood sample. It can definitely be awkward, but try to be as honest as possible with your provider about your sexual habits so they know what to test for. Like Amanda said, STI testing is completely free at UHS through the student health fee, and you’ll usually get your results within a week (check your secure messages on the patient portal!).

UHS doesn’t inform parents about the tests and they won’t show up on your insurance although your parents might get a notice that you had “lab work” done (this is because the testing itself is done through Quest diagnostics and though Harvard asks Quest to bill the college rather than your insurance company, occasionally mistakes do happen).

Stigma against getting help for an STI, worry about seeing someone you know at UHS, and concern about providers not being queer or trans friendly are all incredibly valid barriers to getting tested. Testing looks and feels different for everyone and if you don’t feel comfortable getting tested here at Harvard, as Amanda mentioned, there are definitely other options!

Good luck!

AG

Student