Sex Advice

Dear Dr. Locker: Can a teenager get an STD test without getting parental consent first?

Answer from Dr. Locker

Yes, in most states. The determination of a "minors’" rights to testing and treatment of STDs without parental consent is made by each state. Currently all states allow it, but some states differ in terms of what age determines a minor who can consent (such as after age 12 or 14, but 16 in South Carolina). In addition, some states have different laws regarding HIV and parental notification. (For example, Iowa requires that parents be notified if a minor's HIV test is positive.) Also, I should note that in many states the law permits (but does not require) a physician to inform parents of a positive test result. For information about your area, and to make an appointment to get tested (low cost or free), call your local health department or Planned Parenthood (1-800-230-PLAN).

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