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Before the age of 25, one out of every two people will contract an STD. Furthermore, many of these people are asymptomatic and may not even know they’re infected. If you’re a sexually active adult, coming in contact with an STD is a very real threat, and getting tested regularly should be a top priority.
But constant doctor visits for sexual health checkups can be embarrassing, causing many to avoid them altogether. That’s why modern at-home STD testing is growing in popularity. A reliable STD screening no longer requires a doctor visit or a stranger swabbing your unmentionables and collecting your fluids.
Testing for most STDs can now be done in the comfort of your own home. The following list covers the best of these at-home STD test kits checking for all the most common infections.
When to Consider At-Home STD Testing
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are more common than you may think. According to the CDC, within the United States alone there are more than 20 million new infections reported annually and 110 million in total. The most common STDs include HPV, chlamydia, trichomonas, and gonorrhea.
The symptoms associated with an STD can be quite different depending on the disease you contracted. The infections you’re most likely to encounter and their symptoms include:
- HPV — This is the most common STD and many people have no symptoms when they contract it. Certain types of HPV can cause genital warts or lead to cervical cancer in women. Any sexually active woman should have a regular HPV screening for this reason.
- Chlamydia — The second most prevalent STD, chlamydia, can cause painful urination, abnormal discharge from the vagina/penis, painful sex/bleeding after sex (in women), burning/itching in the urethra (in men), and pain in the testicles (in men).
- Trichomoniasis — This is the third most commonly passed STD, and can lead to itching/irritation in the genitals, uncomfortable urination, and unusual discharge from the vagina/penis.
- Gonorrhea — Symptoms of gonorrhea include frequent urination, discharge from vagina/penis, painful urination, sore throat, pain during sex (in women), and swelling/redness at the opening of the penis (in men).
- Herpes — Found in one out of six people ages 14 to 49, herpes causes sores, ulcers, or white blisters around the mouth or genitals.
- HIV — The symptoms associated with HIV take around two to four weeks to develop and generally include flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, and mouth ulcers.
If you’re showing any of the above symptoms after a sexual encounter, it’s incredibly important that you get tested. Ruling out an STD is not only important for your own health, but also for any future partners you may have.
Furthermore, many STDs, such as hepatitis C, don’t always have clear symptoms or sometimes have none at all. At-home STD testing kits are ideal for making sure a sexual encounter didn’t leave you with a potential illness, even if you don’t have any obvious signs.
Home testing kits cover every common STD as well as those that aren’t so common. Therefore, there’s no need for an expensive doctor’s visit. However, if your symptoms are severe and you’re worried, it never hurts to see your healthcare provider to get proper treatment and medications.
The Best At-Home STD Testing Kits
EverlyWell offers comprehensive testing kits for both men and women that cover six common diseases. Both of these blood tests require a quick finger prick and a vaginal swab or urine sample.
The tests cover trichomoniasis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, HIV, and syphilis. Seeing as many of these diseases have similar or hard to recognize symptoms, this is perfect if you had a recent sexual encounter that’s left you nervous. If your results come back positive, EverlyWell will connect you with its independent physician network to discuss potential treatment options.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two incredibly common STDs. Luckily, both of these diseases are easily treated with antibiotics. If left untreated, these conditions can spread and lead to more serious complications making it vital that you identify the infection early on. The symptoms associated with these diseases can be similar, so testing for both at the same time makes sense.
With EverlyWell’s Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Test, you can quickly determine whether or not you’ve contracted either infection by submitting a urine sample. If you test positive, EverlyWell gives you a chance to speak with a physician and receive treatment. This test works for both men and women.
Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most commonly found STD in the United States with about 80% of people contracting it in their lifetime. The infection can lead to cancer in both men and women. HPV-related cancers include penis, anus, cervical, and oropharynx cancer, but women have a much higher risk of developing cancer than men. Some types of HPV can cause genital warts, however, this virus usually has no noticeable symptoms.
EverlyWell offers one of the most popular kits on the market to test for this potentially dangerous infection. The at-home kit is only available for women as there’s currently no approved HPV test for men. With the submission of a vaginal swab, you can confirm whether or not you test positive for 14 of the most dangerous HPV genotypes associated with cervical cancer. If you test positive, you can discuss the results with an EverlyWell physician.
Globally, around 67% of people under 50 have oral herpes (HSV-1) and 11% of people between the ages of 15 and 49 have genital herpes (HSV-2). Many of these people may not show symptoms for years or ever. This means it’s possible to have either HSV-1 or HSV-2 and be completely unaware that you’re infected.
LetsGetChecked’s at-home herpes test can test for the antibodies of both types of herpes viruses using a small blood sample. The test can determine if you have herpes whether or not you’re currently experiencing an outbreak. The company has physicians on staff that will review your results. If you test positive, a LetsGetChecked nurse will call you to discuss treatment options.
Trichomoniasis (276 million cases), chlamydia (106 million cases), and gonorrhea (106 million cases) are the three most common sexually transmitted diseases in the world. All three of these infections can cause an unusual discharge, painful urination, and an uncomfortable feeling in the genitals. In 80% of cases, there are no symptoms at all. Therefore, if you contract any one of them, it may be hard to determine what you have based on symptoms.
The Basic 3 test by LetsGetChecked covers all three of these prevalent STDs, eliminating any guesswork if you suspect you’ve been infected. To get your results, you only need to collect a urine sample. The test works for both men and women and positive results can be discussed with LetsGetChecked medical staff for no additional charge.
If left untreated, HIV is an incredibly deadly viral infection. While there is no cure for the disease, with proper treatment, it’s no longer the death sentence that it used to be. HIV symptoms aren’t easy to diagnose and are usually similar to those you’d associate with the flu. The only way to know for sure if you’ve contracted this STD is with proper testing after any questionable sexual encounter.
The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test lets you check if you’ve contracted this virus without having to return any samples to a lab. To take the test, all you need to do is collect a small saliva sample with a swab, insert it into the testing device, and within 20 minutes lines will appear indicating positive or negative results. OraQuick offers the only FDA-approved at-home HIV test on the market.
Hepatitis C is most commonly associated with blood transfusions (that took place prior to 1992), IV drug use, and tattooing or piercing equipment that hasn’t been properly sterilized. However, it’s also possible to contract it through any sexual contact where blood is exchanged. The virus usually doesn’t have any symptoms but can be deadly if left untreated.
Fortunately, hepatitis C can be cured, but the success of the treatment is lower after the virus has progressed to its later stages. Therefore, if you’ve engaged in any activity that could have led to contracting hepatitis C, getting tested early is of the utmost importance.
The DNA testing company myLAB Box offers an easy to take hepatitis C swab test that you can do in less than five minutes. Your results are returned within two to five days, and if they’re positive, myLAB box will help connect you with a telemedicine provider in your state.
Can You Trust At-Home STD Test Kits With Your Health?
In short, yes, you can trust any of the tests listed in this article for an STD screening. All of the sexual health testing kits included have a great track record. Every company listed uses CLIA-certified labs, other than OraQuick’s instant HIV test, which is FDA approved. Most offer a consultation with a physician upon positive results.
However, in some cases, you may need to see a doctor for additional treatment. This is especially true for HIV and hepatitis C, where a positive result should be followed by immediately contacting your healthcare provider. In the end, these kits are a great way to narrow down what infection you may have come in contact with but seeking proper treatment is still left up to you.
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