Benefits of Taking an “At-Home” STD Test
There are many reasons sexually active young people between 16-49 opt for taking an at-home STD test. These are just a few.
Taking an at-home STD test will allow you to get your results faster. It’s very common to schedule an STD test at a public facility, and wait several weeks to get an appointment with the doctor, and then a few more days for the lab to receive, test, and send your results back.
How long do STD tests take at medical clinics?
It’s a known fact in the STD world that clinics, even parental planning organizations, can take several weeks to get you in to see the doctor. This is especially saddening because most STDs become harder to manage the longer they go untreated.
Once you’re able to actually see the doctor in person, they might ask a series of questions and perform a physical exam, pap smear, etc before examining the swab they’ve just taken. This can take several hours.
After that, someone usually needs to test the swab under a microscope, so most physicians will send your sample off to a lab.
Once it arrives at the lab, they’ll examine it and either call your doctor, or send the results by mail.
STDs like genital warts and crabs only require visual examination, which saves you some time. However, the vast majority of STD tests rely on lab testing which can have a wait time of one day to two weeks.
Even worse, most clinics will only inform you if the results come back positive. It can be an extremely stressful process because you won’t know anything, unless it’s bad – and that might even take weeks to find out.
Will I get my results back faster with an at-home STD test?
DIY STD test kits allow you to take things into your own hands. You can get them online, keep a couple stocked at your house, and get your results in as little as 3 days. Whether you need to take a swab of your genitals, a urine sample, or a prick of blood, the instructions are easy to follow, the results are quick & anonymous, and the pre-paid return envelope makes for hassle-free shipping. The at-home test takes about 15 minutes to complete.
Many companies will also send you an email notification as soon as they get your results, whether positive or negative. The average time it takes from ordering your test online to getting your results back is 3-11 days – dependent on where you live, and shipping time estimated by the post office.
Most companies that offer At-Home STD Test Kits test for everything from HIV, to chlamydia, herpes, and gonorrhea. You can pick a single test kit or multiple test kit, and they usually have packages for one or two people (so you and your partner can take the test together).
For example, a single panel, four panel, eight panel, or 13 panel test kit ranges from $79 for one test to $499 for a comprehensive test kit for you and your partner.
They’re basically the same price online and in person, but you can avoid the appointment cost, physician/office fees, remain anonymous, and save lots of time by taking a test at home.
Planned Parenthood, for example, costs about $130 for a gonorrhea/chlamydia test and $180 for a combination test for five STDs in Texas. Prices vary state to state, but are relatively similar.
People that are eligible for free STD testing, must meet certain income requirements, and must not have any health coverage. You will still be charged for additional tests/fees out-of-pocket, and getting in to see the doctor could take several weeks to one month.
Nobody Needs to Know
A lot of people are understandably nervous about testing. Often they are too shy to go to a clinic or doctor’s office in the first place. This is often true for many sexually active teens. For them, the idea that a bill from an STD testing lab might be reported on their parents’ health insurance is terrifying.
Of course, that’s still no reason to avoid testing entirely. However, this does lead to many young customers (and plenty of older folks, too) asking our customer service team “How much does a STD test cost without insurance?” myLAB Box offers a solution that totally bypasses a need for the insurance companies that would alert third parties. This means that your results remain private.
Fortunately, we have answers for that. myLAB Box’s service for STD testing at home is specifically priced to be affordable without the need for insurance. This service offers confidential, lab-certified test results that can be purchased directly out-of-pocket. So, when using myLAB Box, how much does a STD test cost without insurance? The answer is: “about half of the price you would pay out-of-pocket at a doctor’s office.”
For maximum privacy, our tests ship in discreet packaging. Typically, these require only five minutes to complete. Even better, you can administer them at any time and in any place. If you live in one of the many states that offer telemedicine, and most do, there’s more good news. If you test positive, you’ll be able to speak with a doctor and be prescribed your treatment right over the phone. This consultation is completely free of charge. Best of all, it can save you money on costly follow-up appointments. Put plainly, this is the easiest and most convenient way to screen for STDs.
You’ll Remain Anonymous
Some people prefer to keep their results to themselves. It can be an embarrassing and painful process, you’d rather not share with friends and family. But like most medical offices, STD clinics will ask for info about your medical history, an emergency contact, as well as your personal contact information to follow up with you if your results come back positive.
You can’t just waltz in and get tested either. You have to answer a series of uncomfortable questions. Questions about what sexual acts were performed, how many partners you’ve had, whether you used protection, and it may even get a little touchy feely. The nurse or physician might even hold onto your phone number and annoy the crap out of you while waiting for your results to come back (this happened to me). Most of this is common when being tested for any kind of bacteria or disease. However, sexuality is an intimate and often uncomfortable topic. It’s nice to be able to test yourself in private, and deal with your results, in private.
Is it safe?
There is nothing that puts you in danger when it comes to taking an STD test at home. It’s very similar to having a physical, seeing your doctor for strep throat symptoms, getting tested at a lab, or taking a DNA test.
Is it reliable?
If anything, it’s a bit safer because the materials are manufactured and packaged in a sterile environment far from other’s vaginal, anal, or oral test kits. The danger of being tested in an STD clinic is that your results could get contaminated (nearly had this happen to me), or the culture isn’t stored properly so you have to take the test again.
How can I trust that the results are accurate?
You can always visit your doctor after you’ve taken an at-home test for a second opinion. You should always visit your doctor if your at-home test results come back positive, or symptoms persist. In my case, it was just a bit of paranoia and exposure to new bacteria that I was experiencing. But it sure felt good to know my status.