If you need to get tested for STDs but would rather not go to the doctor, you can test yourself using an at-home STD test
If you need to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) but would rather not go to the doctor or community health clinic, you can test yourself at home. Nowadays, there are a wide variety of at-home testing kits that can test for the following:
Self-testing home kits allow you to check for STIs on a regular basis without having to disclose your personal information to health clinics.
When should you test yourself for STDs?
STDs, also called sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are very common. According to the statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 20 million are diagnosed with STDs each year, and most of them are between the ages of 15-24.
Doctors suggest that you should get tested if you are sexually active and have had unprotected sex. Also, if one partner suspects that they may have an STI, it’s a good idea for both partners to get tested.
People who engage in high-risk sexual behaviors, such as having sex with multiple anonymous partners, having sex with sex workers, and using intravenous drugs are at a high risk of contracting an STI.
These infections, if left untreated, can impact pregnancy, cause long-term complications, and increase the risk of additional STIs, malignancies and infertility in both men and women.
How do home testing kits work?
Because most self-testing kits have a 4-month expiration date, collected samples must be sent to the lab as soon as possible:
- Finger prick sample collection: You prick the tip of your finger with a small needle and collect your blood in a container. This sample can be tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis, and syphilis.
- Urine sample collection: Once you pee into the urine sample pot, you can send it to a lab for it to be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
- Swab collection: Some kits may contain a cotton swab, which is used to collect mucus or tissue from the infected or private areas and test them for STDs.
You should wait at least 2 weeks between having sex and collecting test samples if you are getting tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea, and 12 weeks for HIV and syphilis. If you have any symptoms or suspect you have an STI, you should avoid having intercourse until you obtain the test results.
If the samples are not collected properly or submitted to a lab in enough time, there is a good probability that a false-negative result may be generated, which increases your risk of your STI going untreated.
What to do if the results are positive
If you test positive for any STIs, you should see a doctor right away.
After discussing your symptoms with your doctor and considering your medical history, your doctor can assist you in selecting the most appropriate tests to further investigate the extent of the disease and identify any underlying causes. Your doctor may also perform a physical examination to look for lesions such as genital warts, herpes or bumps on the genital area.
Your doctor may advise you to not indulge in any sexual activity, even protected sex, until the infection subsides and is treated appropriately.
Medically Reviewed on 8/27/2021
STD Screening: The Basics: https://www.onemedical.com/blog/healthy-living/std-screening