Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Testing

Medical Services is committed to assisting students in learning about prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). 

There are medical tests for most STIs, but not all of the tests are reliable. Often, a physical examination, in combination with diagnostic screening tools such as Pap smears, is needed to make an accurate diagnosis. Medical Services believes that high-quality care for STIs also includes education about typical symptoms, the reliability of the test, treatment options, and STI transmission.

Guidance for testing for HIV and other STIs and general education related to sexual health matters are offered through Gay Health Advocacy Project. Email ghap@columbia.edu or call 212-854-6655 to make a virtual appointment with an advocate.

If you think you have been sexually assaulted, the Sexual Violence Response team can provide resources for confidential STI testing.

All services are provided in a confidential environment that respects privacy.

How do I get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)? 

If you: 

  • Are not currently experiencing STI symptoms 
  • Have not had sex with a partner that currently has an STI 
  • Have not been tested recently (within the past 4 to 8 weeks) 
  • Do not need of any additional services (e.g., birth control, Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, treatment for HIV or syphilis) 

You may be eligible for ExpressCollect STI testing. 

To confirm whether you are eligible, you can call for a phone consultation (212-854-7426) to assess your STI risk and appropriate STI testing. If you are eligible for ExpressCollect STI testing, they will make an appointment for you with the Medical Services Lab. 

Testing procedures may include collecting a urine sample; throat, cervical, vaginal, or rectal swabs; or blood work. This will depend on what is recommended based on the phone consultation. 


If you: 

  • Are currently experiencing symptoms associated with STIs 
  • Have had sex with a partner that currently has an STI 
  • Have been directed to come into any sexual health clinic for testing 
  • Are in need Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) 
  • Are seeking Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), emergency contraception, vaccines, or treatment for HIV or syphilis 
  • Have questions or need to speak with a health care provider 
  • Have been tested for STIs within the last 4 to 8 weeks 
  • Have been sexually assaulted 

You will need to make an in-person or telehealth appointment with a healthcare provider by calling 212-852-7426 or using the Patient Portal to make an appointment online. 

Your provider will speak with you to assess your risk for STIs, discuss your questions, and any needs you may have. They will then make a recommendation on what type of STI testing (including ExpressCollect) is most appropriate.  If you are not eligible for ExpressCollect STI testing, the provider may recommend an in-person appointment for STI testing and other services.  

If you’re unsure about what you’re experiencing or have more questions about either STI testing option, you can make an in-person or telehealth appointment with a provider. You can do this by calling Medical Services or scheduling an appointment online

Preventing STIs

Some important recommendations to prevent STIs include:

  • Know your sexual partner(s). Before you become intimate, have a discussion about STIs, sexual history (yours and your partners), and be honest.
  • Use a condom.
  • If you or your partner think you might have symptoms of an STI, make an appointment to see a Medical Services provider.
  • Know which sexual practices put you at greater risk of STIs.
  • Recognize that substance use increases risk of STIs.

Free Condoms and Lube

The map below provides an overview of locations at Columbia where safer sex supplies can be found. The map is updated on a regular basis.

Not every location has the same options. Check the descriptions for an overview of what’s available at each location. If you can't find what you’re looking for or to suggest a location, email alice@columbia.edu.