If for some reason, you cannot or do not want to visit a laboratory to get yourself screened for sexually transmitted diseases, then myLAB Box offers you an easy-to-use, discreet home-testing kit that you can use at your convenience and privacy, without the fear of being judged.
The company claims 99% accuracy in their test results and is by far, one of the only labs that focus exclusively on STDs.
All said and done, how do they fare when compared to other leading providers of at-home STD test kits?
This review will separate the chaff from the wheat and allow you to make an informed decision.
myLAB Box is a Californian startup that was launched in 2014 by an entrepreneur named Lora Ivanova, who’s the co-founder and CEO.
They have been around for more than 5-years and usually, that’s sufficient time for users to gauge the quality of a service such as this one. The fact that they are still around speaks volumes about their service quality, responsiveness and customer service.
The idea behind forming an at-home testing service primarily for STDs stems from the fact that 1/3rd of Americans are living with a sexually transmitted infection. This alarming statistic reveals a glaring problem that we, as a society, are refusing to address.
Americans are avoiding the annually recommended STD screening by the CDC, due to time constraints, the hassles of having to seek an appointment and drive down to a lab, or just because of the stigma associated with the subject.
There are others who suffer from deep sexual trauma and fear being judged by doctors who may be ignorant, or plain insensitive.
myLAB Box delivers custom-made STD testing kits that allow you to screen any time within 5-minutes from the comfort of your home.
The easy-to-collect biosamples can be mailed back in pre-addressed envelopes included in the kit, following which they will be sent to a CLIA certified lab. If the results are positive, you are eligible for a free teleconsultation with an affiliated physician, who will then prescribe the appropriate medications without you ever having to step out of your home or office.
myLAB Box offers a total of 14 STD tests that can be selected individually as well as in convenient, affordable bundles.
If you have never tested yourself for an STD or have been sexually active recently, it is always recommended that you opt for a bundle instead of individual tests.
Almost 80% of STIs are asymptomatic anyway and a lot of them share identical symptoms, which makes it better to rule out all of them.
Having said that, let’s take a quick look at all the tests offered by myLAB Box.
There are a total of 10 individual STD tests that you can choose from.
myLAB Box’s HIV testing kit tests for antibodies and antigens to HIV1 and HIV2, in an easy and painless manner. You get a tiny safety lancet that you prick on your finger to collect a couple of droplets of blood, which should be applied on the specimen card in the kit. Mail it back to receive your HIV diagnosis in 2-5 days.
Unlike other labs that use oral fluid for HIV testing, myLAB Box uses the CDC recommended way of blood testing. It is up to 99.99% accurate and avoids false-negatives.
If you are aged 13-64 and are sexually active or have come into direct contact with products containing blood, or are an IV drug user, then you must get yourself screened for HIV regularly.
HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus if left undetected can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). To know more about this disease and the home testing kit, visit myLAB Box’s website.
Genital Herpes caused by the herpes simplex virus-2 or HSV2 is believed to be the second commonest STD in the United States with 1 in 6 people between the age of 16-49 being infected with it. What makes this so difficult to diagnose is that it’s almost asymptomatic, or the symptoms often overlap with other common infections, like the flu.
HSV can be contracted easily through body fluids via vaginal, anal or oral sex, and even if you have protected sex. Once you are diagnosed with Herpes, you become a carrier of the virus for life. It is particularly important to know if you are infected, if you are pregnant as the infection can be passed on to the child. Prenatal herpes can also be potentially fatal.
myLAB Box’s Herpes Kit is easy to use and requires a small blood sample. It is a painless and discreet way of testing for herpes.
Commonly called ‘Trich’, Trichomoniasis is the 3rd commonest STI in the United States. More than 70% of the infected patients never have any symptoms of the condition. It is more common in women than men. But men often get false-positives or false-negative test reports which may prolong accurate diagnosis.
myLAB Box’s Trich testing kit requires a genital swab that is easy to collect and comes with a pre-addressed envelope to mail it back to the lab.
Hepatitis C is a life-threatening, but curable infection of the liver that is spread through blood, or products that contain infected blood, like syringes for example. It can go undiagnosed for years with no noticeable symptoms until it gets aggravated and causes severe liver damage. It is estimated that almost 3.9 million people in the US might be living with chronic Hepatitis C.
The CDC recommends Hepatitis C testing for all adults born between 1945-1965 and for high risk users who might have been exposed to the virus.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that spreads through unprotected sex as well as through drug use (sharing needles). It can be potentially life-threatening if untreated. Thankfully, early diagnosis and a course of antibiotics is all that’s needed to cure it. Just like some of the other STIs listed here, Syphilis can go undetected for months due to lack of visible symptoms.
myLAB Box’s Syphilis test requires a small blood sample and it is recommended that you take the test 3-6 weeks after suspected exposure to the bacterium. If the result is positive, a physician will advise a TPA confirmation test to rule out false-positives, and will prescribe a course of antibiotics on the same day. A retest is recommended 3-months after the course is completed to check for a relapse.
These are two of the commonest STDs in the United States. Both conditions are easily curable provided diagnosis is early and this is also important in preventing the spread of infection unknowingly.
myLAB Box offers two different kits for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea screening. The standard kit is recommended as part of an annual screening for both these STDs. But if you have indulged in anal or oral sex recently, then it is recommended that you opt for the 3-site kit that tests for oral, anal and genital chlamydia + gonorrhea infections. The 3-site kit costs $179. That’s $100 more than the standard option which costs only $79.
The kits are only available to patients above 18-years of age.
HPV or the Human Papilloma Virus is the most common STD in the US that can cause genital warts, lesions and even cervical cancer if left untreated. There are 150-known strains of the virus of which 14 are considered to be high-risk conditions.
myLAB Box’s HPV test kit amplifies the target DNA with a polymerase chain reaction to detect these 14 high-risk strains of HPV. You have to be at least 30-years of age to be able to order these kits for screening.
This bacterial infection is fast becoming one of the commonest STDs being detected around the world. Completely asymptomatic, it is rarely tested for as part of a routine STD testing panel. This makes diagnosis almost impossible unless you specifically test for it.
myLAB Box makes it easy to test for Mycoplasma Genitalium with its home kit. Men need to submit a urine sample and women need to collect a genital swab.
Hepatitis B is a viral infection of the liver that can become chronic if left untreated. It is estimated that almost 2.2 million people in the United States have Hep B. You may already be vaccinated for the condition. But if you aren’t, and you have indulged in unprotected sex or have shared needles, toothbrushes or razors with an infected person, you might want to get yourself screened for it.
myLAB Box’s Hep B screening kit makes collecting the bio sample effortless.
Test bundles offer the most bang for your buck and cover a gamut of common infections that can have overlapping symptoms, or can be completely asymptomatic.
There are 6 test bundles for you to choose from.
This test bundle for females contains instructions and sample collection kits for testing for all conditions that can cause abnormal vaginal discharge. The diseases screened are Yeast, BV, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea & Trich.
A single test kit that screens you for the 5 commonest infections that account for almost 71% of all reported cases in America. You get screened for HIV-1 & 2, Trich and Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.
This is myLAB Box’s bestselling test bundle and for good reason too. It screens you for 8 STDs including HIV-1 & 2, Trich, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, Hepatitis C, Herpes & Syphilis. If you have been sexually active with unknown partners or have not screened for STDs for over a year, we highly recommend the Uber-Box panel.
The Total-Box is the most comprehensive STD test bundle from myLAB Box that screens you for all 14 of the STDs that we mentioned earlier. In addition to the tests included in the Uber-Box, you get mycoplasma genitalium, HPV & the three-site test kit for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.
Even the best of services are often marred by an unintuitive website layout and a cumbersome order process.
Thankfully, myLAB Box has a streamlined and user-friendly process from start to end.
myLAB Box accepts credit card as well as HSA/FSA cards. They do not accept health insurance at the moment, which is good for anyone who’s concerned about confidentiality. Insurance providers do report these transactions which would defeat the very purpose of opting for a service such as this.
All your personal information is held securely and myLAB Box does not share it with any third party unless they have your explicit consent.
Packages that are shipped to you are unbranded and discreet. Even the address on the return envelope is not of any of their offices.
Some state laws require that positive test results for certain ‘reportable’ STDs be reported to the department of health. In such situations, the data is reported in accordance with the HIPAA.
myLAB Box enjoys a rating of 7 out of 10 on Trustpilot. The reviews are mostly positive with the only grumble being the long turnaround time, which like we mentioned earlier is inevitable.
myLAB Box ticks all the right boxes that one looks for while selecting an at-home STD screening service.
It offers a comprehensive list of tests as well as value-for-money bundles.
Everything from the start to the end is easy.
You cannot ask for more really. If you are looking for a convenient and hassle-free way to test for STDs from home, we highly recommend myLAB Box.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD