Whatever your reason for thinking you have an STD, getting checked for a sexually transmitted disease can be an anxious experience.
There are a number of things that might have brought you to this article today:
- Maybe you consulted Dr. Google and you believe you're displaying the tell-tale symptoms of an STD.
- You have recently had unprotected sex.
- You have recently been told that an ex-partner or partner has a STD.
- You have started a new relationship.
- You want to make getting checked for STDs as regular as other parts of your health check routine.
You could go to your local physician's office or an STD clinic to checked, but often times our busy schedules and the inconvenience of visiting a clinic makes finding the time a real challenge. Not only that, but the thought of having to talk about how you think you contracted the STD may fill you with anxiety and dread.
It is not uncommon to feel like this when it comes to speaking about your sexual health and for most people, going to your local physician's to speak about your last sexual encounter isn't going to be anyone's favourite thing to do.
In cases like these, using an at home STD test could be the best option for you.
As a Consultant Physician in Genito-Urinary (Sexual Health) Medicine and Medical Director for LetsGetChecked, I have indepth insights into the processes of STD testing whether you choose to get tested at your physician's office or in the comfort of your own home.
Today, I'm going to compare at home STD testing to getting tested at your local physicians office or STD clinic, and answer all of your questions about at home STD testing so you can get tested with peace of mind and confidence.
- What Do You Need To Know About Getting Tested?
- Home STD Testing VS. Visiting Your Family Doctor or Local STD Clinic
- Which Testing Option is Right For You?
- How Do Home STD Test Kits Work?
- Home STD Test Kits Compared
- Which Home STD Test Is Right For Me?
- What Our Customers Say About Us
- Still Have Questions?
What Do You Need To Know About Getting Tested?
Thank You For Being So Mature
Before going any further, I want to acknowledge how responsible, mature and proactive you are being by getting a STD checkup, or considering an at home std test kit.
None of us should feel any stigma in being proactive when it comes to our health and getting regularly checked for sexually transmitted diseases.
With a simple urine or blood test, you can find out if you have contracted a sexually transmitted disease, in most cases you will be able to receive your results and peace of mind within one week.
Looking at the bigger picture, knowing your sexual health avoids the complications associated with STD and prevents us from being “that guy/girl” that spreads an STD to a loved one or partner.
So from everyone at LetsGetChecked, including myself, thank you for being proactive about your health.
Getting Tested Is Worth It
If you're reading this article right now there is a high probability that you’ve already Googled the symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases and have reason to believe that you might have contracted one.
That sinking feeling that accompanies the thought that you may have contracted a sexually transmitted disease is never nice, and while we don't want to tell you there is nothing to worry about, we want to tell you to try and remain calm until you have been tested and you have a better idea of what you are dealing with.
If you do test positive or receive a ractive result, again, try not to worry, sexually transmitted disease are common and in most cases can be treated with a simple course of antibiotics.
At LetsGetChecked, we’ve completed thousands of STD tests for our customers and in most cases those tests have come back negative.
However, I can't emphasize enough that this doesn’t mean you should avoid getting a checkup, especially as 50% of people under the age of 25 will contract an STD.
If you have reason to believe that you might have contracted a STD, don't put it off, act fast and don't have unprotected sex until you have received your results.
Getting Tested Keeps You Safe When There Are No Symptoms
Not only are sexually transmitted diseases increasingly common these days but STDs may have no symptoms in up to 80 % of people, particulary women. What's scarier about this number is the fact that a number of sexually transmitted diseases can remain dormant for years without showing any signs or symptoms.
Chlamydia in particular is a cause of concern as it can lead to a condition in women known as PID, or pelvic inflammatory disease. This condition can lead to the female reproductive organ becoming scarred and damaged, and in some instances leads to infertility.
In the U.S., an estimated one million women are treated for PID each year, it is etimated that 75,000 of those who suffer from PID will suffer infertility due to damage to the uterus and fallopian tubes.
These numbers are not set out to scare you, but they do illustrate the importance of knowing your sexual health, just as much as you would know and manage your general wellness.
In sum, the vast majority of cases you won’t display any symptoms if you have contracted an STD.
Even if you aren’t displaying any symptoms, STDs are still contagious and in most cases, STDs can be easily spread to your sexual partners if you engage in unprotected sex.
Getting tested early and often is so important because if we catch a sexually transmitted diseases early in most cases it can be easily treated, which minimizes the risks of the serious side effects of STDs.
The important thing to remember is that you can only get treated if you’ve been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease. So the message is simple, get a checkup early. You may not be experiencing symptoms but you could have a STD.
That’s enough about why getting tested is so important, now let’s talk about which testing option is best for you.
Home STD Testing vs Visiting Your Family Doctor or Local STD Clinic
When it comes to getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases, you really only have three options. You can:
- Visit your local physician’s office.
- Visit your local STD clinic.
- Use an at home STD test kit.
As a sexual health specialist who works both in clinic as a director for LetsGetChecked, I can safely say that the above options have their own pros and con which I will talk in this article.
1. Visit Your Physician's Office Or 2. Local STD Clinic
Up until recently the traditional way of getting checked for an STD has been to make an appointment with your local doctor or STD clinic. Both of these are great options if you want to have an STD checkup face to face with a physician, however, they do have their drawbacks.
The first and often biggest issue with visiting your local physician’s office or STD clinic is that it can be very inconvenient.
These days, between work and other commitments, most of us are so busy that taking a couple of hours out of our day to sit in an STD clinic waiting room, can really be quite a challenge.
Not only that but for a lot of people, the thought of going to an STD clinic or local physician for an STD checkup can be an uncomfortable or inconvenient experience.
There may be personal reasons that you don’t want anyone knowing that you’re getting an STD checkup. Maybe you don’t want to be judged or lectured, or you feel uncomfortable talking about STDs and the circumstances that have lead you to believe that you might have an STD.
These fears and concerns are natural. It can be very uncomfortable to discuss very intimate and often awkward topics about your personal life with a stranger, or sometimes even worse, someone who knows you. In smaller towns or for those who have a family doctor, it can be a big turn off to go and discuss your last sexual encounter, not to mind the symptoms you may be experiencing.
Now, it is important to mention that for those who feel too unwell to wait to be screened, or for those who are experiencing symptoms (which is rare but does happen), you do need to go straight to your physician's office to ensure that everything is okay.
These issues often cause people to delay getting their STD checkup. Increasing the length of time it has to harm your body and spread to a partner if an STD is present.
Luckily for consumers, another option has become available in recent years...
3. At Home STD Testing
At home STD testing offers us the best of both worlds. It gives you the ability to get highly accurate STD test results without the hassle or negative feelings of having to visit your local doctor or STD clinic, if you feel that is not an option.
At home testing options are great for those who would rather not have to deal with the potentially awkward situation of having to visit their local doctor or STD clinic, or simply for those who don’t have the time.
Here are some of the main advantages of at home STD test kits:
Fast & Accurate Results
Not only are at home STD test kits an incredibly fast way of getting an STD checkup, most test kit options are also as accurate as the tests done at your doctor's office.
It is important to do research on the provider of the STD provider to ensure this.
LetsGetChecked use the same labs as doctors and STD clinics to test your samples for sexually transmitted diseases.
Not only are at home STD tests as accurate as the tests carried out in your doctor's office, they are capable of testing for the same types of STDs as your physician woul.
In fact, the LetsGetChecked at home STD tests go further in including some bacterial infections that doctors do not test for including mycoplasma, gardnerella and trichomoniasis.
Read The Ultimate STD List to find out more about these bacterial infections along some of the more common sexually transmitted diseases that are a little more well known.
LetsGetChecked offer STD tests that examine the blood and urine for: chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis, syphilis, herpes, HIV, hepatitis B, gardnerella (a.k.a. bacterial vaginosis), mycoplasma and ureaplasma.
So in effect, the only difference between using an at home test versus getting tested in a doctor's office is that you are cutting out the middleman.
With an at home test, you can take the test whenever suits you best. You don’t have to miss work to get an appointment, and you don’t have to waste your time sitting around in a waiting room.
Once ordered, you’ll receive the test in the mail within a couple of days. Then at a time and place that suits you, you can complete the test in as little as 5 minutes.
This is one of the main advantages of at home STD tests. “All too often people put off getting tested for days or weeks just because of the inconvenience of having to find the time to book an appointment to get a checkup at their local STD clinic.
In reality, this just delays the diagnosis of their STD and its treatment if it comes back positive.
Not only is at home testing a great option if convenience is important for you, they are great if discretion is a priority. With an at home test, nobody needs to know that you are taking the STD test.
Test kits arrive through the mail in a completely unmarked package to the address that is most convenient for you. There are no markings on the packaging or signs that let anyone know what’s inside or who the sender of the package is.
Once delivered, you can take the test the test in the privacy of your own home ensuring complete discretion.
Even the return shipping labels are provided, so you can have a courier pick it up or you can slip your completed test kit in the mail without ever having to step foot in a post office, alternatively you can get the test delivered to the lab via courier.
Your privacy is important and your test results will only be connected to you via alphanumeric codes only which ensures that your confidentiality is never at risk.
Giving You Control
Finally, opting to use an at home test gives you complete control over the process. Prior to testing, you’ll know exactly which STDs the kit will test for and once completed you’ll be able to see exactly what your results were.
However, if having that much control over testing is a bit daunting for you then don’t worry. LetsGetChecked have a dedicated team of doctors and nurses on call 24/7 to discuss any concerns you might have with taking the test or the test results themselves.
Find Out More About At Home Sexual Health Testing With My Colleague Dr. Robert Mordkin
Dr. Robert Mordkin Is Chief Urologist and Director Of Robotic Surgery at Virginia Hospital Center. He is also the U.S. Medical Director for LetsGetChecked.
Which Testing Option is Right For You?
Now that you have a better idea of the pros and cons of both at home STD testing and visiting your local doctor or STD clinic, let’s look at which option is right for you…
In summary, at home STD testing is great if...
Convenience is a priority for you. They are a great option for those who don’t have the time or flexibility to visit your local doctor or STD clinic.
Discretion is a priority for you. If you’re anxious about visiting a STD clinic or you’d rather not have to talk about why you're getting a STD checkup, at home testing is the solution for you.
However, visiting your local physician’s office or STD clinic is a great option if…
- You have the time and flexibility to visit your local doctor or STD clinic.
- You are okay the face to face element of visiting your doctor for a sexual health check-up.
- You’re comfortable talking about STDs and the events that have led you to wanting an STD checkup.
Ok, now that we know the benefits of at home STD test kits let’s look at what you should expect to find in your mailbox and how you use them.
How Do Home STD Test Kits Work?
The STD test kits used to test for sexually transmitted diseases at home are pretty simple.
This quick video walks you through how you can complete the STD in as little as 3 minutes.
To give you an idea of what a typical home STD test kit contains, here is a breakdown of all the elements that the LetsGetChecked STD test kit contains.
Home STD Test Kit Accuracy
It is important to recognise that all STD test kits are not created equally. Some types of test kits are more prone to accuracy errors than others.
It is important that you choose a sexual health test that has been proven to be accurate. LetsGetChecked tests are made in an ISO accredited facility and the laboratories that they use are CAP approved and CLIA accredited.
In general, different types of STD tests (blood, urine or swab) are used to test for specific sexually transmitted diseases. Certain tests achieve more/less accurate results.
This is because the signs of the infection might be found in much lower concentrations from certain sources, blood, swab or urine samples. Therefore it is important that the test you choose is best suited to STDs you want to test for. In general, a combination of blood and urine tests is the best option as they can accurately detect all types of STDs, and don’t require any invasive swaps.
When it comes to blood tests, at home test kits that use capillary testing, i.e. draw a small test-tube of blood, are more accurate than blood spot tests.
Again, this is because with blood vial tests more blood is drawn so laboratories are better able to detect the presence of sexually transmitted diseases.
In general, when it comes to STD tests, blood testing is the gold standard. With a small amount of blood we can detect the presence of sexually transmitted diseases.
Home STD Test Kits Compared
To help you pick the best test for your situation, we’ve compared all the major providers of at home sexual health tests.
Depending on your circumstances you may want to take a test that covers more or fewer potential STDs. At LetsGetChecked we have a range of tests that cover all the major types of sexually transmitted diseases.
Which Home STD Test Is Right For Me?
Good question. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all answer to this question, however, we will give you some guidelines to help you pick the test kit that best suits your needs and budget.
If You Only Want to Test for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea or Trichomoniasis or Have a Tight Budget
If you only want to test for for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea or Trichomoniasis then the LetsGetChecked Simple 2 or Basic 3 STD test kits are be a good option.
Chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis are the 3 most common STDs, representing 75% of contracted STDs in the US each year. As a result, if you’ve contracted a STD there is a high probability it is one of these 3 sexually transmitted diseases.
As a consequence, these two tests are also good for those people who are on tight budget or who has just been informed that a recent sexual partner has one of these 3 diseases.
I recommend that if you have a little more money to spend then you are better off if you take a more comprehensive test as otherwise you might miss some of the other common sexually transmitted diseases.
When Your Want A Thorough Checkup or Have Recently Had Unprotected Intercourse With A New Partner
If you have a little extra budget, the best test you can take is the LetsGetChecked Standard 5 STD Test.
In addition to the 3 STDs tested for with the Basic 3 test, the Standard 5 kit also tests for HIV (I, II, P24 antigen) and Syphilis. Two of the other most common sexually transmitted diseases.
This test will search for all the most common types of STDs, so you can be very confident that you are in the clear if you get a negative result.
When Looking For A Comprehensive STD Checkup
If you want to get the most comprehensive STD check up then the Complete 10 test kit is your best option.
It tests for all the major types of STDs in one simple test: Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Trichomoniasis, Syphilis, Herpes, HIV, Hepatitis B, Gardnerella, Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma.
This test offers the most insight into your sexual health with the added insurance of testing for testing for common bacterial infections that most doctors do not test for including gardnerella, mycoplasma and trichomoniasis.
What Our Customers Say About Us
When it comes to healthcare we believe that it is extremely important that we completely transparent when it comes to our products.
That is why we ask all our customers to rate their experience of LetsGetChecked on Trustpilot, a independent review website. Our current Trustpilot score is 9.6/10. Here are some of the reviews our customers have left us on Trustpilot:
"LetsGetChecked acts as the perfect alternative for ensuring that I can put my health first when I don’t have time to sit in waiting rooms. For me, being able to take the test at home and in my own time takes the stress out of knowing my health."
"I love that the tests are great for preventative health, offering many different options. I'm pro affordability, convenience, and a personable experience, and that's what LetsGetChecked provides."
"The test is so easy to do by yourself and the results are returned efficiently. LetsGetChecked is helping to drive easier access to better health solutions - a great step in the right direction."
We strongly recommend that you check out our reviews on Trustpilot so can see for yourself what our customers say about us.
Still Have Questions?
If you still have questions, below is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions we get about LetsGetChecked STD test kits. However, if you can’t find an answer to your questions below then please don’t hesitate to contact us or visit our Help Center.
Who are these test kits suitable for?
Regular testing is important for anyone who is sexually active, regardless of age, sexuality or relationship status. LetsGetChecked’s home diagnostic service is only available to those over the age of 18.
What STDs can I test for?
Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomoniasis, HIV, Syphilis, Mycoplasma, Ureaplasma, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Herpes Simplex 1, Herpes Simplex 2.
When can I use my test?
You should wait a minimum of 3 weeks from the time of sexual contact before taking your test. If you want to take a test for Hepatitis, the infection may not become reactive for 90 days. STDs can take a period of time to become detectable, and you must wait to ensure an accurate result. If you are sexually active, regular testing is advised.
Why do I need to activate my LetsGetChecked test?
Activating your test connects the unique barcodes on your samples to your LetsGetChecked account. This ensures that when your results are analyzed, they are uploaded to your personal account. The lab cannot process your sample if it is not activated.
What samples are required for a LetsGetChecked test?
Depending on the test that you select, you will need to collect either a urine, blood, or urine and blood sample.
How do I return my sample to the LetsGetChecked laboratory?
Each test includes a pre-paid envelope to mail your samples to the laboratory.
How do I receive my results from LetsGetChecked?
Your results will be reviewed by our medical team. Negative results are delivered securely to your online account. If your result is positive, our medical team will call you to provide support and arrange treatment.
Once you receive your results, you will have 24/7 access to your personalized dashboard. Here is an example of what it looks like:
How do I get treatment if I test positive?
If you test positive you will receive a call from LetsGetChecked’s medical team. They will explain your results and provide next steps for treatment. If it is appropriate we can also offer you a prescription.
How are my results analyzed?
All samples are analyzed in CPA accredited laboratories which are the same laboratories that clinics and hospitals use. Your test and results will be authorized by a LetsGetChecked physician.
I have no symptoms; do I still need to test?
Yes, if you are sexually active it is important to be tested regularly even if you have no symptoms. In many cases STDs can be present without any symptoms at all. The only way to know for sure is to get tested.
How often should I get tested?
The recommended frequency of testing varies depending on your lifestyle. You should be tested every time you change sexual partner or enter a new sexual relationship. If you have multiple sexual partners, you should be tested at least every 3 months.
How is my privacy protected?
Keeping your data secure is important to us. All data is complete anonymized to ensure that your privacy is maintained throughout the process. We will not share your information with any third party. All samples are disposed of following analysis.
Whatever option suits you best; an at home test, doctors office or STD clinic; just remember that the most important thing is that you get tested.
Getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases is a very quick and painless process these days, however, if you have contracted an STD but delay getting the treatment it can have a huge impact on your life.
Written by Dr. Dominic Rowley | Edited by Hannah Kingston