The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are almost 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) each year. STD infections can persist for an extended period of time, and most people are not aware they are infected until advanced symptoms appear. According to a recent CDC study , “STD screening is critical” in effectively stemming their spread.
myLAB Box is an innovative company that was founded in 2014 to make screening for STDs easier, less expensive, and more private. For the most part, we believe the company succeeded. We especially appreciate how the company chooses to focus exclusively on STD testing.
- Discreet packaging and free two-way delivery
- Includes phone consultation with a myLAB Box physician for all positive test results
- myLAB Box has CLIA certified labs in every state
- Results are sent out pretty quickly after sample is received
- Relatively affordable prices
- Currently, myLAB Box does not accept FSA and HSA payment cards.
- A small percentage of customers have complained about having to retake tests due to inconclusive results. (This can happen with any test, including ones administered by your doctor.)
We are big fans of myLAB Box and give the company the highest marks for virtually all of its STD tests. The tests are private, affordable, and accurate, and can be easily administered in your own home. We don’t think you can go wrong in choosing any one of the tests it offers.
myLAB Box Rating by Innerbody Staff
myLAB Box currently tests for many different STDs, including:
- HIV (I & II)
- Hepatitis C
- Herpes TypeII
If you take a look at a list of all the STD kits the company has available, you will notice a whopping 15 test choices. Don’t worry, we are here to help you find the one that is right for you.
For most people, we recommend starting with the Uber Box 8 Panel Test, which covers the most common STDs and provides the best overall value. (If you are looking to purchase two of these kits, you can save a little money by purchasing the cheesily named Love Box for 2.)
If you want to test for everything myLAB Box tests for, we recommend the Total Box 14 Panel Test. This is an extremely comprehensive, one-stop test, but it is expensive.
If you have reason to believe that you were exposed to a particular disease, such as genital herpes or HIV, then you can save a considerable amount of money by purchasing individual tests. This may be the best route if cost is a major concern.
Each myLAB Box kit offers from one to 14 individual tests. Below is a summary of each test, generally in order of least comprehensive (and least expensive) to most.
- HIV Test
- Trichomoniasis Test
- Hepatitis C Test
- Syphilis Test
- Mycoplasma Genitalium Test
- HPV Test
- Herpes Test
- Chlamydia & Gonorrhea Test
- V-Box 5 Panel Test
- Safe Box 5 Panel Home STD Test
- Uber Box 8 Panel Home STD Test
- Total Box 14 Panel Home STD Test
- What criteria do we use to evaluate testing companies?
- Other Considerations
- HSA, FSA, & Health Insurance
- Submitting Your Sample
myLAB Box’s HIV Test [see latest price] uses FDA-approved technology and has over 99.9% accuracy.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). People who become infected with HIV will always carry the virus and must continue antiretroviral treatment for life. Luckily, treatments have come along way over the past decade. It is now possible to bring HIV infections under control, giving patients 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. However, testing is especially important for those who engage in unprotected sex, IV drug users, those who have come into contact with blood or blood products, or people who were born to HIV-positive mothers.
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. 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.
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’s Trich Test [see latest price]. 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. For this disease, it may be possible for a physician to send you a prescription right away, depending upon your symptoms and state of residence.
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. 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 realizing 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 intravenous drug users. If you believe that you may have symptoms of hepatitis C, myLAB Box’s standalone Hepatitis C Test [see latest price] is available.
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. 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. myLAB Box recommends that you wait a minimum of 3-6 weeks after a potential exposure before taking its Syphilis Test [see latest price]. If this test comes back positive, 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 consultation if this applies to you.
Mycoplasma genitalium is a bacterial STD that has increased greatly 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. The Mycoplasma Genitalium Test [see latest price] from myLAB Box consists of a urine sample for men, and a vaginal swab for women. There are a number of different treatments available for mycoplasma genitalium infection, so if you test positive, you should consult your healthcare provider. You should also make sure you get retested one month after your treatment is completed, to ensure that the treatment has worked.
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 genital warts (HPV6 and HPV11), cervical cancer (HPV16 and HPV18), 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 myLAB Box HPV Test [see latest price] 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. In these cases, they 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 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 to a newborn in utero (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. The myLAB Box Herpes Test [see latest price] requires collecting a small blood sample.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea 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 that both are easily curable in most cases. Early detection and intervention is the best way to prevent long-term damage. A large proportion of people infected with chlamydia and gonorrhea 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 old or older to order a Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Test [see latest price] from myLAB Box.
It is also possible to buy a three-site chlamydia and gonorrhea test that can specifically detect infections in the mouth, anus (extra genital), 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 gonorrhea using a myLAB Box test, you are entitled to a free phone consultation with an affiliated physician. For these two diseases, it may be possible for this physician to send you a prescription right away, dependent upon your symptoms and state of residence.
myLAB Box’s V-Box Panel 5 Test [see latest price] is only for women and tests for five common causes of unusual vaginal discharge, including gonorrhea, chlamydia, trich, bacterial vaginosis, and yeast infections. If you test positive for trich, gonorrhea, or chlamydia with this test, you are entitled to a free phone consultation with an affiliated physician, and you may be able to get treatment as well.
myLAB Box’s Safe Box 5 Panel Home STD Test [see latest price] tests for five STDs that, together, account for 71% of all STD cases in the U.S. It checks for HIV 1 and 2, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trich. This test is the least expensive of myLAB Box’s bundled test panels and provides a decent value. However, it is missing several common STDs. If you are strapped for cash, you could go with this test, but we would recommend the Uber Box 8 (more below).
The myLAB Box Uber Box 8 Panel Home STD Test [see latest price] tests for HIV 1 and 2, hepatitis C, herpes simplex virus-2, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and trich. In other words, this test is the Safe Box 5 plus screening for herpes simplex, hepatitis C, and syphilis. In our opinion, this particular test offers the best combination of comprehensiveness and value. This test is myLAB Box’s best-selling test for a reason.
myLAB Box’s Total Box 14 Panel Home STD Test [see latest price] checks for HIV 1 and 2, herpes simplex virus-2, hepatitis C, syphilis, HPV, mycoplasma genitalium, and trich. It also tests for oral, anal, and genital chlamydia and gonorrhea infections. This test includes everything in the Uber Box 8 plus mycoplasma genitalium, HPV, and more comprehensive versions of the gonorrhea and chlamydia tests (covering genital, throat, and rectal). This is myLAB Box’s whole enchilada test and is not inexpensive. The Uber Box 8 is the wise choice for most people. However, if you want maximum peace of mind from one convenient test, the Total Box 14 test may the best test for you. If you break down this test’s cost on a per disease tested basis, it actually presents a very solid value.
On the lighter side: here is “The Morning After,” a public contest winning video submission.
We customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related test. For most myLAB Box test kits, we have five areas that we use for our evaluations, including:
Accuracy: Do the testing companies use the latest and most accurate testing technologies available? How accurate are the tests compared to alternatives?
Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the test provider offer discounts to our readers?
Customer Support: How well does the testing company help you choose the best test? How clearly are the results presented? How well does the testing company help you understand results and get treatment if necessary?
Privacy: Are all test kits sent in discreet packaging? Will your data be stored securely? Could your data ever be shared without your permission?
Test Results Speed: How fast will you receive your test results from the moment you click “buy?” Are the waiting times stated by the testing companies accurate and consistent?
myLAB Box states that it is 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 bases its privacy standards and requirements on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and uses 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, gonorrhea, or trich, the lab is legally required to report the result to the Florida Department of Health (Florida is the state where the myLAB Box-affiliated lab is located). myLAB Box explains: “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.
At the moment, myLAB Box accepts 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, due to the various types of regulations attached to different cards. If you’re having trouble using your FSA/HSA card, myLAB Box provides an email address on its website that you can contact for advice. However, myLAB Box does not 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.
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. 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. Within 1-5 days, you will receive an email containing a link to a secure portal containing your results. 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.