Syphilis Home Test

What is Syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can lead to serious health problems if it’s not treated. It’s one of the most common STDs in the world, but the wide range of symptoms often make it difficult to diagnose.

Syphilis progresses through several stages and the symptoms vary in each stage:

Primary

During this stage, a person may get one or more sores at the site where the infection occurred. Sores usually appear in or around the mouth, rectum, anus, or genitals. The sores are often, but not always, painless, firm and round. The sores may last 3-6 weeks and will heal whether or not the person has been treated. Although the sore disappears, it’s important to seek treatment so the infection doesn’t progress to the next stage.

Secondary

In this stage, symptoms include fever, weight loss, headaches, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, fatigue, a skin rash, or sores in your anus, vagina, or mouth. Rashes may appear while the sores from the primary stage are still present, or weeks after they’ve healed. The rash may have rough, red or reddish brown spots and can appear on the palms of your hands or the bottoms of your feet. As with the previous stage, the symptoms will disappear on their own, even if you don’t seek treatment, but the infection will progress to the latent stage as a result.

Latent

There are no signs or symptoms during this stage.

Tertiary

During this final stage, the infection can affect the nervous system and the brain, as well as the heart and blood vessels. Not all cases of syphilis develop into the tertiary stage. It occurs 10-30 years after the start of the infection. This stage can cause serious medical problems and even death.

Why Buy a Syphilis Home Test?

Although syphilis can be cured, the antibiotics may not be able to fix damage that’s already taken place. To avoid health problems caused by syphilis, detecting the infection early is critical. You should check for syphilis:

  • If you are sexually active
  • If you have unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex
  • If you are pregnant (you should be tested at your first prenatal visit)
  • If you have multiple sex partners
  • If you are a man who has sex with men
  • If you have HIV
  • If your partner(s) have tested positive for syphilis.

An at-home syphilis test kit allows you to check your sexual health without making a doctor’s appointment or visiting a lab. After ordering the kit, you’ll receive a discreet package and after mailing your samples back, your results will appear in a secure online account to ensure your privacy. Getting tested can help you and your partner(s) stay healthy.

What Companies Offer Syphilis Testing Kits?

Some companies who offer syphilis home test kits include:

  • Private iDNA
  • Lets Get Checked
  • STD Rapid Test Kit
  • My Lab Box
  • EverlyWell

Home test kits widely vary in price from $29-$379. This is for a couple of different reasons:

1

Lab involvement.

Some tests have immediate results and don’t require that a sample be sent to a lab.

2

Bundled STD tests vs. strictly syphilis.

Some companies only offer a syphilis test bundled with other STI/STD test kits, making the kit more expensive. If you’re looking to purchase a test kit that only checks for syphilis, the cost is about $29-$79. More expensive test kits check for 5 to 10 types of STI/STDs in addition to syphilis.

How Do I Take a Syphilis Home Test?

After ordering your kit, it will arrive at your door in plain, discreet packaging to protect your privacy. Be sure to follow any pre-testing instructions; some kits require you to activate or register your kit on the company’s website before collecting a sample.

Then it’s time to test. Read all instructions and if needed, watch any instructional videos on the company’s website before collecting your sample. Some kits recommend waiting 3-6 weeks after being exposed before you take the test. Most syphilis test kits require a blood collection.

Depending on the kit you purchase, the sample collection method may vary. If you purchase a kit with an immediate result (the sample doesn’t need to be sent to the lab), follow these instructions:

1

Cleaning and preparation.

Use the included alcohol pad to clean your pointer finger on your non-dominant hand thoroughly.

2

Properly collect a blood sample.

Use the lancet to prick your finger, then use the enclosed dropper to collect 2 drops of your blood and insert it into the test cassette.

3

Add the blood buffer liquid to test your blood.

Open the blood buffer container and use the dropper to collect 3-4 drops. Insert those drops into the test cassette’s testing well.

4

Read the resulting lines within 15 minutes.

You’ll see your test results within 15 minutes on the test cassette itself. Watch the control (C) line shoot up. This means the test is working. The second letter on the cassette is the T and is the test line. If you have a line for both the T and the C, you’ve tested positive for syphilis.

If you purchased a kit that requires you to send the sample to a lab, follow these instructions:

1

Cleaning and preparation.

Wash your hands in warm soapy water and use the 3rd or 4th finger on your non-dominant hand. Clean and dry your finger completely.

2

Collect your blood sample.

Position the lancet around the rounded edge of the finger and push. Wipe away the first drop of blood and then squeeze your finger so blood drops into the collection tube. Squeeze drops until the blood reaches the marked line on the collection tube.

Seal the tube and turn the tube over the number of times instructed. Do no shake.

3

Package and mail your sample.

Put the sample in the biohazard bag and place it in the prepaid envelope.

4

Wait a few days and get results.

Mail your sample to the lab in the prepaid envelope. Once it reaches the lab, you’ll get results in 2-5 days.

What Will the Results Indicate?

Most tests will show with 99.9% accuracy whether or not you have a syphilis infection. You’ll receive a report with your results within the testing kit company’s secure and private online portal.

If your result is negative, there aren’t any traces of syphilis in your system. If your result is positive, you may have syphilis. You’ll be able to share your report with your physician so that he or she can help you seek treatment and care. You may also want to take another test to confirm your result. If you’ve been treated for syphilis before, the test may not be able to differentiate between an active infection and previous (cured) case.

How Reliable Are the Tests?

Companies boast that their results match what you’d receive in a clinical lab setting. Most kits have a 99.9% accuracy rate. Some also have certifications that are recognized by the World Health Organization and Food and Drug Administration. The FDA doesn’t approve a home syphilis test at this time. The FDA reminds patients that while home test kits are confidential, cost-effective, and fast, they are not meant to replace a consultation or evaluation with a physician. If you receive a positive result, the FDA and all test companies recommend reaching out to your doctor to seek further treatment.

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