At-home STI testing
Gaining acceptance and popularity are at-home test kits for certain STIs, such as HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea. For home STI testing, you collect a urine sample or an oral or genital swab and then send it to a laboratory for analysis. Some tests require more than one sample. The benefit of home testing is you're able to collect the sample in the privacy of your home without need for a pelvic exam or office visit.
However, tests done on samples you collect yourself may have a higher rate of false-positive results, meaning the test indicates you have an STI that you really don't have. If you test positive from a home test, contact your doctor or a public health clinic to confirm the test results. If your home test results are negative, but you're experiencing symptoms, contact your doctor or a public health clinic to confirm the results.
Positive test results
If you test positive for an STI, the next step is to consider further testing and then get treatment as recommended by your doctor. In addition, inform your sex partners. Your partners need to be evaluated and treated, because you can pass some infections back and forth.
Expect to feel various emotions. You may feel ashamed, angry or afraid. It may help to remind yourself that you've done the right thing by getting tested so that you can inform your partners and get treated. Talk with your doctor about your concerns.
Sep. 23, 2014
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- Swygard H, et al. Screening for sexually transmitted infections. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 21, 2014.
- USPSTF recommendations for STI screening. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf08/methods/stinfections.htm. Accessed June 23, 2014.
- Screening for cervical cancer — Clinical summary of U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf11/cervcancer/cervcancersum.htm. Accessed June 21, 2014.
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