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The Four Best At-Home STD Tests of 2022
A sexually transmitted disease or infection (STD/STIs) are not just unpleasant, they constitute very real health risks. Many STDs go unnoticed for years as patients are asymptomatic, but continue to be transmitted and pose the risk of infertility or cancer in the long run if they are not addressed.
Having symptoms is also bothersome, but getting an STD workup takes the cake in embarrassment and discomfort. We understand your dilemma and to help out with this we've compiled the best four STD tests you can take at home.
Parameters of a Good At-Home STD Test Kit
The best at-home STD tests provide maximum privacy, ease of use, affordability, quick and authentic results, and accessibility to trustworthy physicians for further consultations. Based on these and other parameters, the top four contenders are explored below.
Best At-Home STD Tests
The LetsGetChecked packages are consistent in their high ratings. Their three tests are the Simple 2 test for gonorrhea and chlamydia (the most widespread STDs), the Standard 5 which is the Simple 2 plus syphilis, HIV, and trichomoniasis, and the Complete 8 which has add-on tests for mycoplasma, ureaplasma, Gardnerella vaginalis bacterium. They cost $99, $149, and $249 respectively. The latter two tests require a capillary blood sample and a urine sample. They provide 24/7 customer care – a nurse will call to decide further treatment options, like scheduling a virtual consultation with a designated healthcare provider for $39 extra or prescribing medications, if you test positive. Results and detailed explanations are available on a user-friendly online dashboard, which also anonymizes data to keep your details confidential. Results are received promptly within 2-5 days, and medication can be sent directly to your home. LetsGetChecked ‘s laboratories have CLIA and CAP certifications and accreditations. They provide the material for self-collection and the prepaid shipping label, making the mail-in process easier. The negatives are that doctor consultations aren’t available, nor is there insurance coverage.
Everlywell’s USP lies in providing a single test kit for the six most common STDs namely, chlamydia, syphilis, trichomoniasis, HIV, gonorrhea, and hepatitis C. There are separate kits for women and men, catering to distinct needs. Men need to provide a urine sample with a finger prick, and women give a vaginal swab. Individual tests for specific STDs like Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 are also available.
The Everlywell tests also facilitate easy mailing with two-way shipping labels. The company has a secure platform to check your results, in digital or printable format. If your result is positive, you can address your queries with a certified member of the Everywell physician network for no additional costs. Everywell delivers results between 3-5 days. All the tests are additionally vetted by an independent physician with board certification, lending their results more credibility.
On the downside, there is no insurance coverage, although you can use the pre-taxation income segments like Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) if you are eligible and your provider covers these tests.
Self-collection can be haphazard and not as organized as lab collection, so NURX does you one better. It collects more extensive samples such as vaginal, throat, and rectal swabs, in addition to blood and urine samples to avoid underdiagnosis. This is available in their Full Control Kit, which costs $220, plus an additional $75 for insurance coverage. The standard 5-test panels range in cost from $90 to $200 depending on the insurance pay-out and they all test for HIV, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Hepatitis C, and Trichomoniasis. The NURX follow-up care involves putting you in touch with their medical team and/or an in-person healthcare provider to discuss further steps. For an additional $15 you can access their entire medical team to better understand your condition(s). Their labs are also CAP-accredited and approved by CLIA.
NURX services are relatively expensive, but to be fair they are also much more thorough. Unfortunately, even though they accept insurance, they attach your identifying information for insurance purposes onto your medical records, which isn’t the most discreet arrangement. They take an entire week to deliver results, i.e., 7 business days, and aren't licensed in all states which means you have to check their availability in your area.
My Lab Box
My Lab Box offers some different services, by tapping into the needs of different demographics and the intricacies involved in self-collection. Ranging from $59 to $399, you can test for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Hepatitis C, HIV 1 and 2, Herpes 2, Syphilis, HPV, Mycoplasma, and Trichomoniasis. You can get a couples’ kit, which is quite a thoughtful arrangement considering that both partners may be infected. They offer tests for different types of vaginal discharge – a detail that many such services don’t pay heed to, but is extremely important in evaluating what the STI could be. Their PReP kit for HIV is reliable and very useful. My Lab Box allows these tests to be availed by anyone 14 years or older i.e., adolescents -which fills a crucial market gap as teenage sexual activity and health remains a matter of stigma.
Further consultations are available only through telemedicine, so choose this option only if you are comfortable with teleconsultations. The doctors will mostly help you out with prescriptions that you can buy from your local pharmacy. They also don’t have an HPV test for women under 30, which is a disappointing lapse, considering its centrality to keeping women healthy. Their 8-panel Uber-box costs $119 and the 10-panel is $139, and other options for different needs such as the V-Box for women, Love-Box for couples, and Safe-Box for a basic check. The prices are on the higher side but it may be worth not having to spend time in the waiting room. Results will be relayed back to you within 2-5 days.
All of these options provide a no muss- no-fuss solution and allow you to take charge of your sexual health. So, choose whichever one is best for you, and stay healthy!
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