STD Hotspots in New York City, and the cost of an STD test

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers


SUMMARY: How much does an STD test cost? Well, that depends. Doing our series on the cost of an STD test, we took an in-depth look at facts and figures about STD rates and testing centers in New York City. Read on for what we learned, or…



The Crotona-Tremont section of the Bronx has the highest concentration in the city of STD’s, New York City data reveals. According to the Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, that neighborhood, delineated by zip code 10457, has the highest total incidences of Hepatitis B and C, HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and tuberculosis.

Two other Bronx areas–Hunts Point-Mott Haven and Highbridge-Morrisania–also appear in the top ten. But the majority of STD hot spots are in Manhattan neighborhoods: Chelsea, Clinton, Harlem and Morningside Heights. There is also one Queens location: the zip code, 11370, reflects Rikers Island inmates.

We looked at the overall demographics of the area. According to Dept. of Health statistics, 41 percent of people in the Central Bronx live below the poverty line. That’s higher than the Bronx rate poverty rate of 31 percent and the city’s overall rate of 21 percent.

The most recent community survey, published in 2006, indicates that 46 percent of the population is below age 24. Nearly half of people aged 25 and over do not have a high school diploma. Most don’t have a regular doctor, the survey adds, and one in every three adults report that they are in fair or poor health.

Also, nearly one in three adults in the Central Bronx are uninsured or went without insurance during the past year.

According to the New York Medical Journal, Bronx residents often don’t even speak the same language as their doctor. The report also suggests that for most adolescents, the avenues of health care are school-based clinics and Planned Parenthood.

Finding out prices can be hard

Finding the cost of an STD test can be tough, as one of our acquaintances found out, a story relayed in this blog post.

We called several Bronx locations to find out how much STD tests costs. (Above is a list of prices at other STD testing locations in the New York City area, from our pricing survey; here’s a list of providers and prices from the Los Angeles area.)

HIV tests are usually free,  It’s a simple swab of the inside of the mouth. It’s  fast and doesn’t involve costly lab fees or blood work.

But other STD tests cost more.

According to a Planned Parenthood representative, a patient’s bill is based on a sliding scale. At the high end of the scale, a self-pay patient pays $175 for a well-woman exam which also includes STD tests.

Here’s the full explanation, from a press representative, about New York City Planned Parenthood charges:

Includes consultation, medical history review, pelvic exam, contraceptive counseling, urinalysis, gonorrhea and chlamydia screening, HIV testing/counseling, Pap and other lab services if indicated.
The cost of supplies such as pills are not included in the price of the visit.

GYN OFFICE VISIT  (limited gyn exam)  $90
Includes pelvic exam if applicable, lab services as indicated, STI testing and HIV testing/counseling.
The cost of supplies such as pills are not included in the price of the visit.

At the Mt. Hope Family Practice, a similar exam cost $145 and up.

At government agencies, the cost of STD tests vary widely.  At the Bronx Segundo Ruiz Belvis Diagnostic and Treatment Center (under the umbrella of the NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene) a similar test ranges from $15 to $215, depending on patient income. But at the NYC Health and Hospital Corp. facility at the Lincoln Medical Center, the test was free. Across the river, at the NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Central Harlem STD Clinic , the test was also free .

We called for information about this from NYC’s Dept. of Health clinics. This is another  list of New York City public hospitals; there is likely to be one for your city or state as well.

(We did notice that, of some online lists of Bronx STD test locations posted by various nonprofit groups, testing locations are in fact drug treatment programs and the tests are only for people enrolled,   not available to the general public.)

We also called the largest Bronx-based hospital, Montefiore Medical Center. We were transferred several times and bounced back and forth between departments. Eventually we were placed on hold for more than 20 minutes. We still haven’t found out where to go for a test at Montefiore, or how much it would cost.

Questions You Can Ask A Clinic

We don’t give medical advice but we can offer a few tips.

With any testing option, do your homework and shop around. Be careful of what you’re buying and who you’re buying it from. We’ve learned that it pays to find out what specific STD you’ve been exposed to, and to make a few phone calls to clinics.

When you call a clinic, you can:

• Ask to speak to a counselor.

• Ask: How much does each test cost individually?

• Ask: How much for a complete set of tests?

• Ask: Is a complete set of tests necessary, if I know what STD I was exposed to?

• Ask: Who will be seeing me? What are his/her credentials?.

• Ask: Will I have another checkup to be sure that I’m completely healthy?

These questions can help you save money and settle your mind.

Here’s a list of STD testing prices in the New York area. Here’s a list of STD testing prices in the Los Angeles area.

Here’s a list of STD testing prices in the Houston area. Here’s a list of STD testing prices in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

For other cities, use our search box and the search “STD test.”