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ARTICLES / Emma McGowan

It’s not as scary as it sounds

Getting sexual and reproductive health services can be…awkward. The whole process of going to the doctor, getting up on that table, and talking about your sex life can be enough to make even a seasoned sex educator blush. But luckily, there’s a way you can get your birth control and sexually transmitted infection (STI) tests without having to look another person in the face: telehealth.

Telehealth options for STI testing can make life easier

No one likes getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You have to talk about your sex life with a stranger. (Or, worse, the same health care provider your mom goes to.) You have to make time for, schedule, and go to an appointment. Then you have to have swabs and/or blood taken, neither of which is at the top of anyone’s “fun things to do” list. But in the age of telemedicine, a few companies are making it easier than ever to get tested.

Telehealth providers have to abide by HIPAA just like in-person providers

You know when you go to your health care provider the first time and they make you sign that form about HIPAA? If you’re like many people, you probably didn’t take the time to read it all the way through. But HIPAA—which stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act—is actually a really important law that protects your privacy, among other things.

Many insurance plans cover telehealth, and lots of telehealth options are affordable without insurance

From rural America to the most urban cities, telehealth is gaining in popularity. People are getting skin conditions checked out, getting their birth control prescriptions filled, and even ordering tests for sexually transmitted infections. But because it’s such a new phenomenon, people have a lot of questions. Perhaps the biggest one? How much does it cost—and will insurance cover it?

Birth Control Basics