Most people don’t like the idea of talking about STDs, but the reality is that there has been an increase of STD cases happening all around the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control stated that 20 million new cases are occurring each year with half of them diagnosed in people between 15 and 24 years of age.
Of course, the biggest problem comes in the form of testing and treating the disease, especially in the U.S. where the cost of healthcare is extremely high.
This is why myLab Box was developed.
It means people can get tested for various STDs – HIV, HPV, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis and Herpes – without paying a lot for the test. Best of all, they can do it in the comfort of their own home and in private.
The company recently announced it was able to secure $1.56 million in seed funding, for a total of $2.1 million in funding raised.
myLab, which was developed in 2013, is based in Los Angeles. It takes just five minutes to do the test (either urine, blood or saliva), and then send the samples back in the self-addressed envelope provided in the box. Within a few days, they’ll receive an electronic notification about the results. If any results are positive, the company provides complimentary doctor consultations.
myLab Box Co-Founder and CEO Lora Ivanova said the option was created because of the unstable atmosphere in the U.S. healthcare system and the need for alternatives for it. Ivanova said by selling right to the consumers, they can provide great service at a fraction of the cost that comes with conventional lab testing while also decreasing the stigma and anxiety people face when they are tested for STIs.
She said myLab Box makes it easier for patients to afford out of pocket (without the need for health insurance to get involved). The service provides screening and doctor consultations for people who have a positive diagnosis. The latest healthcare system debacle has shaken people’s confidence, which has allowed the myLab Box option to grow into the no-hassle lab testing kit people have been yearning for.
Ivanova said the at-home testing kit would help to alleviate the widespread STD problem because more people will be able to afford to find out if they have an STI.
Each person has their own reason to do an at-home test for STDs, but it boils down to two key things:
myLab Box customers are anyone concerned about their sexual health – be it male or female, straight or gay, young or old.
The myLab STD and STI testing kit cost anywhere from $79 to $499 – half of what people would pay for a conventional doctor’s lab test. It also tests for more STIs than other at-home tests on the market, making it a comprehensive solution to the alternatives.
Ivanova said the myLab Box will test for a plethora of STDs and has many multi-panel or a la carte options to choose from. Its competitors tend to offer kits for only five or six STDs.
No information is available on how many people have used the myLab Box testing kit, but it does service individuals in the entire nation including Alaska and Hawaii. According to Ivanova, the company has seen a sharp increase in orders for the testing kit.
She said one-third of Americans have an STI, which means conventional testing methods are not working. Many infections show no symptoms at all, which is why affordable testing is such a necessity. Ivanova said, she believes the at-home kit has helped to prevent more than 100,000 new infections.
The company said the raised money is going to be used to increase its product offerings, addressing even more STDs and STIs. It will also expand its services to other health issues beyond STDs.
Ivanova would not go into further details about this but said they wanted to give customers an alternative testing method that fits their set of circumstances. She said the funding would improve the access people have about the service, making it available through other retail options. Currently, the test can be bought on the main website or at stores like Wal-Mart, Target and Amazon.
She said the company wants to improve the retail availability for people who like to make their purchases in-person rather than online. Ivanova said the company will work on its marketing campaigns so all Americans know they can test themselves at home without paying outrageous prices at the doctor’s office and still get accurate results.
Ivanova said the primary goal behind the myLab Box is to reduce the stigma tied to STD testing and boost how often Americans get tested for STIs. She said she and her partner came up with myLab Box after talking about how awkward it was to talk about sexual health with partners. The idea is to eliminate the stigma and give people a more cost-effective solution to clinical testing.
According to Ivanova, the funding is proof that consumers are looking for at-home testing services. Investors also realize that the model offers an alternative that saves people money and time. She said the company is proud to have been a leader in the movement and wants to continue offering its service to improve the lives of Americans.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
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