STD infection rates are rising among older adults. Too many sexually active seniors aren’t getting tested regularly.
Early detection of STD infection is vital, but many people feel embarrassed about visiting their doctor for testing. Home STD testing kits are a possible alternative. See our related article on Safe Sex for Seniors
STDs like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and even syphilis can be treated with antibiotics – if caught soon enough. The earlier you diagnose an STD, the easier it is to treat. And the longer left untreated, the higher the risk of long-term health complications.
Today, we’ll compare four home STD testing kits, so you can decide if it’s an option for you.
What Are STD Home Testing Kits?
Home testing kits are exactly what they sound like – kits that allow you to test for STDs in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Most kits require either a swab, a small pinprick blood test, or both.
There are two types of testing processes:
- Fully online: You order, collect your samples, then mail back to the company’s lab, and your results are posted on a secure online portal.
- Combination of online and local lab: You order the test, kit, and forms online. Then visit a local lab for the actual test.
How Accurate Are STD Home Testing Kits?
Accuracy varies. Some companies are CLIA-approved (meaning they’re regulated by The Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services) and have medical labs with highly trained professionals.
Other companies might not have technicians with the same level of training and experience, leaving more room for error.
We recommend choosing only CLIA-approved companies (all four labs in this article are).
Is It Worth Taking an At Home STD Test?
Home tests are a quick, easy, and confidential way to take care of your sexual health, but they’re not a replacement for medically supervised care.
The FDA recommends using home tests in conjunction with your regular medical care – not as a replacement. We encourage readers to use a home test as a first step. Of course, if a test comes back positive, it’s vital to see your doctor for re-testing and treatment.
If a test comes back negative, we recommend you still watch closely for any symptoms. Even if you’re symptom free but continue to worry, see your own doctor for peace of mind.
When Should I Take an STD Test?
STDs show up at different times. It’s a good idea to check 3 weeks after initial sexual contact, and then again 3 months later.
What STD Tests Are Available Online?
There are many home STD tests available today. We’ve chosen four of the most well-known, so you can compare their offerings and pricing for yourself.
|Test at Home STD Kit||Cost||Turnaround Time|
|STD Check||$24-$129||1-2 Days|
|Personal Labs||$46-$471||2 Days|
|myLab Box||$79-$369||5-11 Days|
1. STD Check
STD Check isn’t strictly a home testing service. You need to visit one of their 4,500 nationwide labs. You order the test online, print a lab form, then go to a lab. You’ll either give blood or a urine sample (technicians will advise you in what to do).
What do they test for? Hepatitis A, B and C, HIV, syphilis, herpes 1 and 2, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. They also offer a combined chlamydia and gonorrhea test.
What does it cost? Individual tests range from $24 to $129. STD Check’s website recommends their 10 panel full spectrum test for $198 for all ten tests.
What’s the turnaround time? Expect results in just one – two days.
Anything else? All STD labs are CLIA-certified. Their website states their tests are 99% accurate, making them a reliable service.
Personalabs work the same as STD Check listed above – you choose and purchase your test online, print the lab test form, and visit your nearest center for the actual test.
What do they test for? Hepatitis A, B and C, HIV, syphilis, herpes 1 and 2, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. They also offer various screening packs, from one that tests for the four most common STDs, to an 11-panel screening similar to STD Check.
What does it cost? Individual tests start at $46 while all-inclusive tests run up to $471.
What’s the turnaround time? Turnaround is as little as two days, depending on the test.
Anything else? Personalabs offers extra support in the form of physician-directed testing if you’re unsure what you need, doctor consultations regarding your results, and prescriptions for treatment (in some cases, depending on your results and where you reside.)
Everlywell is a home testing service in the truest sense. You order your kit online, take a sample following the simple instructions, post it back, and receive the results online.
What do they test for? Chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis, and trichomoniasis. They also offer combined tests for both men and women, covering the seven most common STDs.
What does it cost? Individual tests are $69, combined tests are $199.
What’s the turnaround time? Your results will be available online within five business days.
Anything else? All labs are CLIA-certified. Everlywell currently cannot accept tests from residents of New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, or Maryland.
4. myLab Box
myLab Box offers at-home testing in the same spirit as Everlywell. You simply take a quick, easy swab or blood sample at home, mail it to their lab, and receive your results online in a few days.
What do they test for? myLab Box offers a huge range of tests: Chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis, trichomoniasis, bacterial vaginosis, HPV, yeast, and mycoplasma genitalium. They offer several test packs including five, eight, and fourteen panel tests, a set of tests for couples, and one specifically for abnormal discharge.
What does it cost? Individual tests start at $79, while the panel tests run up to $369.
What’s the turnaround time? Between five and eleven days (including sending the kit to you, and assuming you send it back quickly.)
Anything else? All labs are CLIA-certified and trained STD counsellors are available in case of a positive result.
Take control of your sexual health.
Every sexually active adult, regardless of age, can take charge of their sexual health. Home STD testing offers an alternative to testing at a doctor’s office. Make sure the lab you’re using is CLIA certified. But don’t rely on home-testing alone. Visit your own physician regularly for check-ups.