Should You Consider Using An At-Home STD Testing Kit

Should You Consider Using An At-Home STD Testing Kit

Roughly 20 million Americans every year are infected with some kind of sexually transmitted disease.

Diagnosing these STDs is a challenge because of the stigma associated with getting tested. However, at-home testing kits have risen in popularity, getting people the treatment they need. However, the healthcare community is still at odds on whether or not the kits are as accurate as they claim to be.

There are a host of startup companies selling these STD kits – LetsGetChecked, EverlyWell and myLab – and the costs for the kit depends on what a person is getting tested for. Most cost as low as $100.

These tests are great for teenagers, people with no health insurance or people who don’t want to talk about the condition with their doctor or other healthcare provider.

While HIV tests have been available for many years now, the mail order tests for the other STDs – syphilis, chlamydia, herpes and gonorrhea are now just becoming an option.

How Do Home Test Kits Work

Once ordered, the test kit is sent in a discreet package to a person’s home with directions on how they do the test. A typical test kit will ask for a urine sample, swab or finger prick. Once the test is done, the box is sent back. The majority of labs will take up to a week to provide a person with their results. Some companies offer treatment consultations as well as prescription services.

The Federal Drug Administration suggests the following guidelines before buying a testing kit:

  • Purchase only FDA-regulated testing kits
  • Carefully read the labels and instructions of the kit
  • Keep accurate records of the test
  • Any person concerned about the results are advised to talk to their doctor
  • Never take medications based on the testing of a home kit without first talking to a doctor

Many county public health departments across the nation offer low-to-no cost testing and consultations for STDs. This also includes partner notifications services in the event that a person tests positive for a disease.

Mark Riegel, MD

Latest Stories

Here’s what we've been up to recently.

Concerned about an STD?

Help stop the spread of STDs by knowing your status. Get tested today!