Knowing your status doesn’t have to be scary. Find out which test you need, how often you need it, and if it actually involves peeing in a cup.

1. The most common symptom of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is feeling fine and having zero signs of a disease.

Reason #482 to get tested: Most infections come with no symptoms at all. So unless your genitals are psychic, you need regular screenings whenever you’re at risk. And just because an STI isn’t causing symptoms, that doesn’t mean it’s harmless. Untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea in cisgender women or trans men can lead to chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, and even infertility.

2. HALF of all new STIs happen to people under the age of 25.

That’s huge considering this group makes up just a quarter of the sexually active population, according to a 2013 report from the CDC.

3. You should START getting tested after your first sexual encounter — whenever and whatever that may be.

STIs can be spread through oral, anal, and vaginal sex — and sometimes just through skin-to-skin genital contact (which is the case with HPV and herpes) or sharing sex toys. So if you’re engaging in any activities that can result in transmission — even if you think your partner is STI-free — it’s time to talk to your doctor about which tests you should be getting.

4. If you’ve been exposed to an STI, it might take a little while for it to show up on a test.

Different STIs can take a matter of days or weeks to show up on a test, Dr. Peter Leone, medical director at the North Carolina HIV/STD Prevention and Control Branch, tells BuzzFeed Life. So keep that in mind when you’re getting tested (and when you’re scheduling an appointment). Plus, it can take up to 3 months to detect HIV depending on which test you get (more on that later).

 5. You can get an STI test without your parents’ consent.

Minors are allowed to consent for their own health services for STIs, anywhere in the U.S., according to the CDC. That said, they cannot stop your private insurance company from sending an explanation of benefits or a medical bill to your parents if they are the primary insurance holders (and those forms typically list the tests you had). Still, talk to your doctor if you think you may be at risk for an STI and they should be able to help you make the best decision.

6. Your insurance should cover some or all of the costs for STI testing. But if they don’t, there are always cheap or free options out there.

Any screening recommendation from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force that’s graded A or B must be covered by insurance (if you’re in the U.S.). These recommendations are pretty consistent with the ones from the CDC, which we’ll go over in detail here.

Your insurance might only cover annual screenings for certain STIs. But if you have symptoms or you’re at a higher risk, that would be considered an STI “test” rather than a “screening,” and if it’s coded correctly, your insurance should still cover it, says Leone. You can also find free or cheap testing at local health departments, health clinics, or Planned Parenthood, he says. You can also go to to find affordable testing centers in your area.

7. Ideally, you want to get tested in between partners.