myLAB Box Review – Are the tests safe and private?

By: Lauren Browning
Last Updated: September 25, 2018
Everly Well Home Tests

myLAB Box is the brainchild of a group of Californian entrepreneurs who were dissatisfied with the way that sexual health testing was carried out in the United States, and decided to do something about it. The service delivers affordable, highly accurate, and easy-to-use STD testing kits directly to your door, allowing you get tested in the comfort of your own home. If you test positive, you are entitled to a complimentary phone consultation with a physician and in some cases, to same-day prescriptions sent to your pharmacy of choice.

Review Summary

Pros

  • Discreet packaging and free two-way delivery
  • Ships nationwide (USA only)
  • Complimentary phone consult with a myLAB Box physician affiliate if you test positive
  • CLIA certified in every state
  • Speedy results
  • Offers tests specifically for the oral, rectal, and genital forms of Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea
  • Affordable prices (great for those who do not wish to to get tested via health insurance)

Cons

  • There seem to have been some issues with shipping errors and difficulties contacting customer service recently (although they seem to be corrected at this time).
  • There is not much information about the sample collection procedure for each test on the myLAB Box website, although this information is provided to you when you complete your order

Bottom Line

Quick, reliable, and confidential STD testing from the privacy of your own home… What’s not to like? myLAB Box is a great choice for customers who want to take control of their sexual health for reasonable prices.

Pricing and Options

The least expensive tests offered by myLAB Box are priced at $79, and mostly test for individual sexually transmitted diseases. These are; Syphilis, Hepatitis C, HIV, Mycoplasma genitalium, HPV, genital Herpes, Trichomoniasis, and Chlamydia + Gonorrhoea (which come as a pair). Tests for yeast and for bacterial vaginosis are slightly more expensive, at $99, while a test for chlamydia + gonorrhoea that will detect oral, anal, and genital chlamydia costs substantially more at $179. There are a number of ‘boxes’ available composed of different groups of tests, for example the ‘V-box’ which contains tests for 5 common causes of abnormal vaginal discharge, or the ‘Total box’, which is a comprehensive STD panel that covers all of the diseases mentioned above in detail. These boxes range in price from $189 to $499 depending on the number of tests included, the most expensive being the ‘Love Box for 2” - an 8-panel test kit for couples. If you think you may have been exposed to or are experiencing symptoms of one particular STD, certainly the cheapest option for you would be to purchase only the individual test specific to that disease. But if you haven’t had an STD panel in a while, practice unsafe sex, or are interested in a general check of your sexual health, we would recommend the Safe Box, or the Uber Box. The Safe Box covers four of the most common STDs in the USA today (chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis and HIV), while the Uber Box also includes some slightly less common diseases, such as syphilis and hepatitis C, making it the best choice for IV drug users. Two-way postage and any lab fees are included in the product prices.

If you test positive for any STD using the myLAB Box service, you are entitled to a free phone consultation with a myLAB Box physician affiliate or STD counselor. During this phone call, if appropriate, you will be evaluated for treatment for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, or trichomoniasis. Depending on what symptoms you have (if any), the physician may be able to send a prescription to your chosen pharmacy straight away.

HSA, FSA and Health Insurance

At the moment, myLAB Box does accept FSA and HSA payment cards. To pay using one of these cards, select your product and proceed to the checkout as normal, and enter your FSA/HSA card number as you would for a regular credit card. There is no guarantee that your card will be accepted as a result of the various types of regulations attached to different cards, so if you’re having trouble using your FSA/HSA card, myLAB Box provides an email address on their website that you can contact for advice. They do not however accept payment via health insurance providers. While the lack of this payment option may be annoying, it does allow myLAB Box to give you a higher level of privacy, as your test results and information won’t be shared with your insurance company and won’t appear on your medical records.

Submitting your Sample

The process of submitting a swab, urine sample, or blood sample for testing with myLAB Box is quick, simple, and convenient. Once you have ordered your testing kit or box online, it will arrive in the mail in a discreet package with a return address of ‘The Fulfillment Center”. The product name and business name are not shown anywhere on the outside of the package. myLAB Box currently only deliver within the USA, but are working to expand their reach. When your package arrives, according to myLAB Box, self-testing can be completed in ‘as little as five minutes’, and involves the collection of either a swab, small urine sample, or drop of blood, depending on the test that you have chosen. Clear instructions are included with each kit, and sample-collection can be performed painlessly in the comfort of your own home. When you are ready, return your sample in the self-addressed and pre-paid envelope provided, and you will receive an email containing a link to a secure portal containing your results in 1 - 5 days. If you test positive for an STD, you are entitled to a free phone consultation with a myLAB Box physician affiliate, and in some cases a prescription can be sent to the pharmacy of your choosing. The availability of consultation and treatment services may vary depending on your state of residence.

Reports and Features

Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea

Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are two of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the US, and both can have serious health consequences if not treated early. The good news is, both are easily curable in most cases, and early detection and intervention is the best way to prevent long-term damage. A large proportion of people infected with chlamydia and gonorrhoea have no symptoms, so if you think you may be at risk of exposure, testing is a good idea! At the moment, you have to be 18 years or older to order a chlamydia and gonorrhoea home test with myLAB Box.

It is also possible to buy a 3-site chlamydia and gonorrhoea test that can specifically detect infections in the mouth, anus (extragenital), and genital areas. This type of kit is more expensive, and is mainly indicated for those customers who have engaged in oral or anal sex, and are worried about STD exposure. If you test positive for chlamydia or gonorrhoea using a myLAB Box test, you are entitled to a free phone consultation with an affiliated physician, and for these two diseases, it may be possible for this physician to send you a prescription straight away, dependant upon your symptoms and state of residence.

Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis (“trich”), is another of the most common curable STDs in the United States, and over 70% of affected people never develop any symptoms. It is caused by a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas, and infection is more common in women than it is in men. You must be 18 years or older for trich testing with myLAB Box. Trich testing is very accurate for women, but slightly less accurate for men, who are more likely to receive false-positive or false-negative results. If you test positive for trich using a myLAB Box test, you are entitled to a free phone consultation with an affiliated physician, and for this disease, it may be possible for a physician to send you a prescription straight away, dependant upon your symptoms and state of residence.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver caused by a virus. If left untreated, Hepatitis C can cause serious, permanent, and potentially life-threatening damage to your liver, but luckily it is now possible to treat or cure the infection in most cases. The infection is often asymptomatic for many years, with affected persons only realising they have Hepatitis C when the liver has already been damaged, sometimes significantly. The virus is spread via blood-to-blood contact, and rarely can be contracted through unprotected sex. The CDC recommends that all adults born between 1945 and 1965 be tested for Hepatitis C, as well as people with specific medical conditions, and people who are part of particular high-risk groups such as current or former IV-drug users.

Syphilis

Syphilis is an STD caused by a bacterium. It can cause serious and even life-threatening medical issues if left untreated, but affected persons will often have no symptoms in the early stages. Luckily, it can often be cured with a short course of antibiotics, so testing is a good idea if you have any reason to believe you have engaged in unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex with someone who may be infected, have come into contact with an infected sore, or are an IV drug user. It is recommended by myLAB Box that you wait a minimum of 3-6 weeks after a potential exposure before taking a syphilis test, and if this test comes back positive, that you get re-tested 3 months after your treatment has been concluded to make sure the infection hasn’t returned. Tests for syphilis involve the collection of a tiny blood sample. A definitive positive diagnosis of syphilis cannot be confirmed on the basis of the myLAB Box syphilis test alone - if your first test is positive, you must also have a TPA confirmation test to rule out other conditions (you can discuss this during your free physician consult if this applies to you).

HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). Once you become infected with HIV, you will always carry the virus, and so must continue antiretroviral treatment for life. A diagnosis of HIV would be devastating to many people, but it is important for customers to know that diagnosis with this virus is far from the death sentence it once was. Treatments have come along way over the past decade, and it is now possible to bring HIV infections under control, giving patient’s a life expectancy that is very close to that of the rest of the population. The CDC recommends that screening for HIV should be routinely performed for everyone aged 13-64, but testing is especially important for those who engage in unprotected sex, IV drug users, those who have come into contact with blood products, or persons who’s mothers were HIV positive when they were born. myLAB Box has no age restriction for HIV testing. However, the FDA does recommend that customers should be 18 or older to use this service. Testing involves the collection of a tiny blood sample; using the retractable safety lancet provided, you must prick your finger and place a couple of drops of blood on the specimen card included in the kit. myLAB Box’s HIV test is FDA-approved and more than 99.9% accurate. There is a great deal of information on HIV and HIV testing on the myLAB Box website, and we recommend you read this in full before purchasing an HIV test.

Mycoplasma genitalium

Mycoplamsa genitalium is a bacterial STD that has greatly increased in prevalence over the last decade, and is a cause for concern among global healthcare services. As with many STDs, infection with Mycoplasma genitalium is often asymptomatic, and testing for this pathogen is not always included as part of a routine STD-panel. Testing consists of a urine sample for men, and a vaginal swab for women. There are a number of different treatments available for Mycoplamsa genitalium infection, so if you test positive, you should consult your healthcare provider. You should also make sure you get tested again one month after your treatment is completed to ensure that the treatment has worked.

HPV

HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is an incredibly common virus that often generates no symptoms in infected individuals. There are over 150 different types of HPV, some of which have been strongly implicated in the development of cervical cancer (HPV16 and HPV18), genital warts (HPV6 and HPV11), and other types of cancer. HPV strains are said to be high-risk if they may cause lesions and cancers, and low-risk if they commonly cause warts. The test offered myLAB Box specifically identifies the two most common high-risk HPV types, HPV16 and HPV18. Your test results will also include an additional category “other high-risk HPV”, that identifies one or more of the 12 other high-risk types.

This test is only available for women aged 30 or over. According to myLAB Box, this is because in women who are younger than 30, high-risk HPV infections are quite common, but are usually cleared by the woman’s immune system in a couple of years, and don’t cause any lasting damage. However once a woman is 30, if a high-risk HPV infection persists, it is very useful to be aware of this and to know the specific HPV type to help healthcare professionals guide your care. If you are a woman of age 30+ and test positive for HPV16 or HPV18, you should inform your doctor, who will likely follow this up with a Pap smear to screen for abnormal cells.

Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is a very common STD caused by Herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2). Once again, it is possible to be infected with the HSV-2 virus and experience no symptoms, and the virus can be passed on to someone else even when you have no symptoms and practice safe sex. Viruses like herpes are almost impossible to cure, but there are treatments and medications that can manage outbreaks of sores and other symptoms. It is especially important to know your herpes status if you are pregnant, as it is possible for herpes to pass from a mother to a newborn (neonatal herpes simplex), and this can be fatal for the baby. Bleeding sores from HSV-2 can also increase your risk of passing on or contracting HIV when engaging in vaginal, oral, or anal sex.

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a highly treatable infection caused by excessive growth of a particular bacterial species. The most common symptom is a change in the color, odor, or amount of a woman’s vaginal discharge. The bacterium most often responsible for BV is Gardnerella vaginalis, but many other bacterial species may also be the cause, and so the myLAB Box BV kit tests not only for Gardnerella vaginalis, but for a number of other types of less-common bacterium to ensure accuracy. It is possible to get BV even if you are not sexually active (BV is not technically an STD), so it is good to get tested if you are experiencing the symptoms of BV even if you have not engaged in any recent sexual intercourse.

Yeast

Last but not least - the final pathogen myLAB Box tests for is yeast. Yeast is in incredibly common fungal infection that is the result of an overgrowth of Candida yeast in the vagina. Itching is a typical symptom along with changes in vaginal discharge, and these symptoms often get worse the longer the infection goes un-treated. Like BV, yeast infections are not really STDs and can be contracted by those who are not sexually active, although they can be transmitted during sex. The myLAB Box yeast infection test screens for many different strains of yeast to ensure the accuracy of their results.

Other Considerations

Privacy

myLAB Box states that they are highly committed to protecting your privacy. Test results are only accessible to you, although you can choose to share them with whomever you wish. myLAB Box base their privacy standards and requirements on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and use HIPAA web security protocols and data storage systems, along with SSL encryption, to protect your data.

You may wish to consider that in certain states, mandatory reporting to health departments is in effect for some diseases. For example, if you test positive for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, or Trich, the lab is legally required to report the result to the Florida Department of Health (Florida is the state in which the myLab-affiliated lab is located). myLAB Box explains that, “Both the Florida Department of Health and myLAB Box’s physician network affiliate, PWN Health, are required by law to also report the result to the health department in your state. However, all this information is completely private. No one is able to access this data, not even a spouse or family member. The data is simply collected to track the prevalence of new infections and for public health follow up where necessary.” This requirement is not specific to myLAB Box. Even though in some states mandatory reporting also exists for HIV testing, as the myLAB Box HIV test is an anonymous product, “no reporting occurs linked to any of your information. Only you will know your results.” If you access these same tests through a healthcare professional and you use your health insurance to pay, your test results will be recorded in the Medical Information Bureau (MIB) database, that is accessible to all U.S. insurance providers. For more information on this and other aspects of myLAB Box’s privacy policy, see the company website

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