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Getting tested for STDs is an intimidating prospect for many people. The US as a whole has a lot of strange shame issues around sexuality, and even the most confident among us cringe at the thought of a long swab inserted somewhere very sensitive (this is no longer a standard testing method). But few things in our lives could be more critical than regular STD testing, both for short-term comfort and long-term health. Luckily, with the proliferation of new direct-to-consumer STD test kits, screening yourself or a loved one in the privacy of your own home has never been easier or more comfortable.
We thoroughly tested and evaluated each offering from the top at-home testing companies. The guide below will tell you which ones excel at everything from accuracy to customer support, and it should help you decide which provider is right for you.
We believe there are four companies worth considering in the STD testing space: LetsGetChecked, Everlywell, myLAB Box, and STDcheck. Three of them allow you to collect your samples at home and mail them in, while the fourth is a hybrid model that provides anonymous in-person sample collection at any of their affiliated labs. Whichever company you choose, you’ll find friendly and efficient customer service, as well as accurate and reliable tests with results in as little as two days.
Some of these platforms test for far more than just STDs, but we limited their ratings to STD testing to make our comparison as fair as possible.
At Innerbody Research, we extensively test each health service we review, including all of these at-home STD testing services. All told, our team has spent over 90 hours testing and researching their STD test services to provide an accurate, unbiased analysis of how they compare, free of marketing jargon and gimmicks.
Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions to live healthier lifestyles. We evaluate the service based on adherence to quality, the latest medical evidence and health standards, and a simple question: would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job, and would we recommend it to family and friends?
Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.
There are certain things you can do to decrease your odds of contracting an STD. Consistent condom and dental dam use go a long way, but you shouldn’t rely on that alone. Regular testing is one of the best ways to ensure that you aren’t about to spread the infection to an intimate partner, and if they regularly test as well, you’ll be that much safer.
A staggering 50% of Americans will contract an STD by age 25. While half of the 20 million Americans who get a sexually transmitted infection this year will likely be younger than 25, this also means that roughly 10 million of those people will be older than 25. If you are sexually active, testing matters — regardless of your age.
Unfortunately, some STDs are notably on the rise in America. Cases of syphilis rose by 14% in just one year, according to recent CDC data. Cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have increased dramatically over the past five years. Cases of gonorrhea are higher now than at any time since the early 1990s.
Globally there are nearly 400 million new infections of one or more of the following STDs each year:
Now for some good news: all four of the common STDs above (chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and syphilis) are curable with readily available treatments. To get treatment, though, you need to test and discover the infection.
The sooner you know that you are infected, the sooner you can begin treatment. As with many diseases, early diagnosis of an STD means that treatment is more likely to succeed. If the infection goes undetected for extended periods, treatment becomes more challenging and complicated, and the chances of reversing the damage lessen significantly.
Many STDs go unnoticed because they are asymptomatic until the later stages of the disease. You can’t tell someone has an STD just by looking at them. For example, people with HIV may not develop symptoms for a couple of years after being infected. Forty percent of people infected with herpes simplex 1 have one or zero outbreaks their entire lives. Common and easily curable STDs like chlamydia and syphilis can have horrific long-term complications, including infertility and irreversible neurological damage. The only way to prevent future complications is to get tested regularly to ensure early detection and treatment.
Yes, you now can test reliably for all STDs either at home or in a lab. Not only are these testing options more convenient than in the past, but they’re also highly discreet and accurate.
So how should you choose between testing at home or testing in a lab? The choice is partly about personal preference and comfort, though there are situations in which we advise an in-lab testing experience. Here is a handy chart to help you decide.
As you can see, there are certain situations in which in-lab testing is ideal. Testing a lesion in the genital region for herpes is more reliable than any serological blood test will be, even though the latter is still incredibly accurate. Note that no at-home company offers every single test out there. Below, we’ll get into each potential test type and let you know where you can get it.
Relying on a professional to conduct the test in a lab can still be useful. Even though at-home test kits use the same methods with comparable accuracy, you may prefer to have the test administered in a lab if there’s a nagging voice in the back of your mind that doesn’t entirely trust you to collect your sample.
If you decide to test in a lab setting, our top recommended provider is STDcheck (see our full review to learn more).
While we ranked these companies according to our overall impression of their performance, that doesn’t mean our top choice is right for everybody. Each company has areas in which they excel and offerings the other companies might lack. Take a look at our chart below to see which companies offer the tests or features you might need in particular.
From a pure cost perspective, Everlywell has some of the lowest prices out there. They also have a membership program that allows you to take almost any test on their site each month for just $24.99. LetsGetChecked is a close runner up here; they offer subscription services with progressive savings, and our readers can use the promo code INNERBODY25 to take 25% off any order.
This category came down to some very fine details, but LetsGetChecked came away with the win for the quality of their kit construction — namely for their ease and cleanliness in urine collection. Their testing methods are in line with much of the competition, and where they vary, LetsGetChecked always opts for the test that is both faster and more accurate. These tests can be more expensive to perform, which might be why they lost out to Everlywell in our cost analysis, but we think this level of accuracy is well worth it.
STDcheck also delivers tremendous accuracy. To be fair, judging an in-lab collection against at-home collections is a bit imbalanced.
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No one came close to LetsGetChecked in terms of shipping speed and results turnaround. The company says most shipments will take up to five days, and they offer express 2-day shipping for an added cost. Our testers selected free standard shipping, and their tests still arrived in just two days. For the delivery of results, most companies offer 2-5-day processing for tests once they arrive at the lab, but our testers consistently had their results in 1-2 days after lab arrival. LetsGetChecked also provides tracking in both directions so that you can follow your test every step of the way.
Communication speed is also an area in which LetsGetChecked excels. They have plenty of customer service reps ready to answer the phones, and they’re all well-informed enough that none of our testers ever needed a transfer to a lab tech or manager; they were able to answer even our most complex questions with ease.
LetsGetChecked consistently found ways to show thoughtfulness and consideration for their customers. That’s not to say the other companies don’t care; they each have strengths in this department. It’s just that LetsGetChecked is a bit stronger.
For example, LetsGetChecked and Everlywell are the only two companies to give you a pipette to help you collect your urine sample without the risk of spilling. But Everlywell’s kit uses a collapsible, reusable silicone collection cup instead of the simple, plastic-lined paper cup that LetsGetChecked provides. What you’re supposed to do with a reusable cup after you submit your sample is a mystery. It seems like a waste to throw it out, but how many people are going to pop it in the dishwasher and use it as a drinking glass on their next picnic?
This is largely a category where the little things like that add up, and LetsGetChecked seems to have put the most thought into it.
Winner: myLAB Box
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This was a close one. Each company has subtle differences in their offerings, and even myLAB Box isn’t perfect (no herpes simplex 1 test or early HIV detection). Ultimately, they had more overall tests than anyone else, and they offer many of them in well-thought-out bundles. We recognize that these bundles may be overkill for some people and that the bundling does raise the price. But from a safety perspective, we can’t forget that many STIs and STDs occur concurrently and increase the risk of catching others. So, for most people, buying even a basic bundle like the Safe Box or the three-site chlamydia and gonorrhea test is a wise move.
Yes, they're highly accurate. At-home testing technology is as accurate as the tests ordered by doctors during a traditional visit, which isn’t a surprise since the tests are designed and analyzed by certified diagnostic labs. In fact, as long as you follow the instructions properly, some at-home testing can actually produce more accurate results.
How could you get even more accurate results with at-home testing than testing in a clinic? It's because both free and for-profit clinics have to keep a close eye on their bottom line, and they have higher brick-and-mortar overhead costs. Under that kind of financial pressure, some clinics turn to tests that are less reliable but significantly cheaper to process.
For example, all of the companies we’ve included in this review utilize herpes tests that look for immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies. Some clinics prefer to run tests looking for immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies. Theoretically, these tests can detect a herpes infection sooner since IgM antibodies show up before IgG antibodies. Still, the IgM tests are far less accurate in general, and you may receive false results.
Most tests associated with at-home STD testing boast 92% accuracy or better — just as accurate as testing in a lab. Here are just a few examples from some of our top choices for STD testing (LetsGetChecked and myLAB Box for at-home testing and STDcheck for in-lab testing) to give you a good idea of their commitment to accuracy and best practices.
The herpes testing offered by both LetsGetChecked and STDcheck is 98-99% accurate — with or without symptoms — as long as you wait six weeks after exposure to ensure the infection is detectable.
Trichomoniasis is the third most common STD in the United States today — and it’s curable. If untreated, it can increase your risk of contracting HIV. myLAB Box’s trich test uses SDA (strand displacement amplification) technology to yield 95% sensitivity and 99% specificity, which is really reassuring.
STDcheck’s chlamydia and gonorrhea tests use the FDA-cleared nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) method. This urine test is extremely accurate, and you can take it as early as 2-6 days after exposure because it detects bacteria in the urine even before you show symptoms. Don’t be disappointed if you have never heard of it, but be comforted by how accurate it is:
HIV testing performed with any of our top recommended companies is exceptionally accurate.
The first thing to consider when choosing an at home STD test is whether you want to use a multi-test panel or whether you want to test for a specific STD. Available tests cover just about any kind of infection you can imagine, from chlamydia and gonorrhea to hepatitis and HIV.
Generally, unless you are experiencing specific symptoms or have reason to believe that you may have been exposed to a particular STD, the multi-disease tests would likely be your best option. Many infections also occur concurrently, so it’s wise to check for others if you think you might have one.
However, as you might expect, the individual tests are almost always less expensive. If you are in doubt, we recommend getting advice from your physician.
Of all the companies that offer STD test kits online, our three favorites are LetsGetChecked, Everlywell, and myLAB Box. You cannot go wrong with any of these companies, as they are all rated highly in terms of accuracy, privacy, and customer service.
All of the top providers offer kits that test for multiple STDs at once. These panels tend to be among the most popular and are often a smart choice for two reasons:
For instance, LetsGetChecked offers several STD panels:
Which level of multi-test do we recommend? Usually, the tests that cover chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, and trichomoniasis (at a minimum) are the best combination of comprehensiveness and value.
If you are the type of person who requires no stone be left unturned, you may want to spring for the most comprehensive tests, mainly LetsGetChecked’s Complete 8 or myLAB Box’s Total Box. These tests can be expensive but are a good deal if you consider how much testing for each STD individually would cost.
A good multi-test kit should be comprehensive and easy to use. myLAB Box and LetsGetChecked offer several multi-test kits for you to choose from, while Everlywell and STDcheck each offer only one. If you don’t mind having your sample collected in person, we recommend STDcheck’s 10-test panel for accuracy, speed, and value. The chart below breaks down the pricing and coverage for each company’s best multi-test panel.
The myLAB Box Total Box is the only panel on this chart that tests for gonorrhea and chlamydia at three sites (oral, genital, and anal) rather than just one (genital). Also, their HPV test is an optional $30 add-on.
myLAB Box and STDcheck count HIV I and II testing as two tests in their overall count, whereas LetsGetChecked and Everlywell only count it as one.
Individual tests may be somewhat less comprehensive, and purchasing more than one or two will quickly add up to the cost of a complete test panel. But they can serve an important purpose.
Suppose you’ve recently tested negative across the board but afterward had sexual contact with someone who later tested positive for a specific STD. In that case, you may prefer to test individually for that infection. Standalone tests are also good for retesting after you complete a treatment course for a given diagnosis.
However, some test bundles don’t cover everything you need, and buying a standalone test can be a great supplement. For example, you may find that the Complete 8 panel by LetsGetChecked is the one you want, but you also want to test for herpes. LetsGetChecked screens for herpes simplexes 1 and 2, but only in their standalone Herpes Test. They don’t bundle it with any of their panels, so you’d have to buy it separately to supplement the panels they do offer.
If it’s within your budget, we almost always recommend a multi-test panel, simply because many STDs occur concurrently and because one infection almost always makes you more susceptible to another.
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Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection that does not always produce symptoms. It’s essential to screen for chlamydia routinely, as it can cause serious health problems. myLAB Box, STDcheck, and Everlywell offer standalone chlamydia tests. LetsGetChecked offers the Simple 2 test, which tests for both chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection that can cause serious health problems, such as pelvic inflammatory disease if left untreated. You can order a standalone gonorrhea test from STDcheck, and myLAB Box. Everlywell and LetsGetChecked offer combination gonorrhea and chlamydia tests. Gonorrhea and chlamydia often occur together, so we encourage you to test for both whenever possible.
Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are sexually transmitted viruses that can cause chronic infections and warts. Some strains can even cause cancer if left untreated. Men with HPV will usually show no symptoms, though oral HPV in men can lead to throat and mouth cancers. There is currently no test that can identify HPV in male samples.
A vaccine is available for women and men against the most dangerous strains of HPV. This vaccine covers more strains than the one that was available a few decades ago. If you haven’t already received it, we encourage you to contact your primary care provider and schedule an appointment.
The tests you should look at include the myLAB Box Cervical Cancer Screening Test, the LetsGetChecked HPV Test, and the Everlywell HPV Test.
Trichomoniasis is a parasitic infection that only causes symptoms in approximately 30% of infected individuals. It can also cause inflammation that makes contracting other STDs much easier. Both Everlywell and myLAB Box offer trichomoniasis tests.
Hepatitis is a disease that affects the liver, and it can spread through the exchange of bodily fluids. Hepatitis is one of the leading causes of liver cancer and can often produce no symptoms, meaning that patients can have the disease for many years before getting diagnosed. All of the companies we cover offer tests for hepatitis C. myLAB Box and LetsGetChecked also test for hepatitis B, but only STDcheck offers testing for A, B, and C strains.
HIV is a viral infection that attacks the body’s immune system. By killing off immune cells, HIV causes weakened immunity and can make the infected individual much more susceptible to other infections and diseases. HIV cannot be cured, but you can effectively manage it. It is crucial to detect the virus early to ensure that AIDS does not develop.
If you take one (or a number) of these tests and receive a positive test result, some providers will offer a free retest to confirm the result. Both myLAB Box [$79] and Everlywell [$49] offer standalone HIV tests, and STDcheck is the only company that provides an early detection RNA HIV screening.
myLAB Box is the only company to offer PrEP testing. PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, a prescription that can shield its users from an HIV infection. Ideally, you would combine this medication with safe sex practices if you engage in intercourse with an infected partner. PrEP prescriptions require regular lab work for renewal. myLAB Box can’t renew this prescription for you, but their PrEP box will provide you with the labwork your doctor needs to sign off on renewal.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that often causes sores, rashes, and fever. This infection is hazardous to pregnant women, as it can have fatal effects on the unborn baby. Left untreated, symptoms can hide for decades, only to resurface with severe complications. STDcheck, myLAB Box, and Everlywell offer standalone syphilis tests.
Herpes is a viral infection that two types of viruses can cause. Often oversimplified as oral or genital herpes, both viruses can produce cold sores in the mouth and painful blister-like sores on the genitals and anus. There is no cure for herpes, but treatment can help infected individuals cope with the virus and minimize the possibility of spreading the infection to others. LetsGetChecked screens for both HSV-1 and 2 in their Herpes Test, and the other companies offer screening for just HSV-2. Visit our guide to the best at home herpes tests for more details.
Mycoplasma and ureaplasma are bacteria among the smallest living creatures on earth, so small that they don’t even have cell walls. They aren’t hard to contract if you have unprotected contact with an infected individual, and many infections remain asymptomatic. That’s why testing is so important, especially when long-term infection can lead to things like pelvic inflammatory disease. myLAB Box has a test to detect Mycoplasma genitalium, but LetsGetChecked includes screening for both mycoplasma and ureaplasma in their Complete 8 test panel.
Gardnerella is the bacterium associated with bacterial vaginosis (BV) in women. It often results in an unpleasant discharge that can be thin and watery and grey or white. It usually produces no symptoms in men, which is all the more reason to seek testing regardless of your sex. None of the companies we’ve reviewed offer a standalone Gardnerella test. Still, myLAB Box and LetsGetChecked both include it in their respective V-Box and Complete 8 panels.
Urinary tract infections aren’t often considered STDs, but they play an interesting role here. Sexual partners can spread bacteria to one another that can cause a UTI, and it’s easy to mistake the symptoms of an STD for those of a UTI — and vice versa. If you suspect you have an STD, but your results come back negative, you might want to test for a UTI. A positive UTI test may mean you’re truly in the clear with regards to any STD infection. And if you suspect a UTI, but test negative, then you should seek out an STD test, ideally a multi-test panel. Right now, myLAB Box is the only company that offers a UTI test.
After evaluating all the major at-home STD testing companies, four companies rose to the top: LetsGetChecked, myLAB Box, STDcheck, and Everlywell. Below you will find brief snapshots along with links to our full review of each of these companies.
LetsGetChecked offers a multitude of tests in addition to STD testing. They’re a fast and reliable company with great communication, though they don’t have the same flexibility in testing for individual STDs as others.
Reliance on ECLIA and NAAT testing for optimal accuracy and speed
Thoughtfully designed kits with well-made materials
Detailed sample collection videos
Shipment tracking in both directions
Highly knowledgeable phone support
Herpes test covers both simplexes 1 and 2
Extremely fast shipping for the standard option
Free medication provided for certain infections
Save 25% with promo code INNERBODY25
No live chat features
Herpes testing not part of any panel
No home delivery confirmation
Most comprehensive test isn’t available in the US
Chlamydia and gonorrhea test only covers genital infection (excluding oral/anal)
Available tests include:
The final four tests on that list (with the numbers in their names) are LetsGetChecked’s multi-STD tests. Here is a handy chart with a breakdown of what tests these kits include (note: promo code pricing is available when you use promo code INNERBODY25 during purchase).
Visit our full LetsGetChecked review for more details.
STD testing is something of a specialty for myLAB Box because it used to be their sole focus. Recently they have branched out into other testing areas unrelated to STDs as well. One of their most noteworthy features is the way they bundle their various kits.
Great variety of themed panels
Most comprehensive test available (14 tests if you count oral/anal/genital gonorrhea and chlamydia individually)
Only company to offer PrEP testing
Convenient search-by-symptom feature
Boxes available at retail locations in some major cities (cuts down on shipping time)
Save 20% with promo code INNERBODY20
Reliance on ELISA testing slows down some samples
Subpar customer communication
Herpes test only screens for simplex 2
No pipette for urine sample transfer
With myLAB Box, you can get convenient at-home testing, whether your goal is to screen for individual or multiple STDs.
You can see how their multi-test kits compare below, with discounts you can get if you use our INNERBODY20 discount code.
Learn more about the company at our full myLAB Box review.
Everlywell is a home testing company that offers a wide array of tests, many of which we highly recommend (for more information, visit our Everlywell review). What Everlywell offers in STD testing is not as extensive as other companies like LetsGetChecked and myLAB Box.
Lowest prices across the board, even more so with membership
Quick email responses
Site is extremely easy to navigate
Two well-crafted membership options
Save 15% with promo code INNERBODY15
Reliance on ELISA testing slows down some samples
Subpar customer communication
Herpes test only screens for simplex 2
No pipette for urine sample transfer
Everlywell’s tests are high-quality, but you can find more thorough STD testing with the other companies. In addition to what you see in the chart below, Everlywell also offers individual testing for hepatitis C, syphilis, and trichomoniasis. (The chart below reflects 15% savings using our coupon code INNERBODY15.)
The male test panel utilizes urine and blood for its samples, while the female test kit relies on a vaginal swab and blood sample.
Everlywell’s HIV test is less expensive than those from STDcheck or myLAB Box, for instance, but this test only checks for antibodies rather than the dual-action test for antibodies and antigens.
STDcheck is one of the largest STD companies in the nation, if not the largest. And as their name implies, they focus on STD testing. This company has a different model, though. Rather than at-home testing with a mailed kit, you order your test at home and then come into a local testing site that partners with STDcheck — there are over 4,500 of these across the country. You then receive your results from the convenience of home.
Lack of shipping time makes them the fastest option
Limited opportunity for untrained human error
No need to give a real name
Automatic confirmation testing for HIV and syphilis
Live Chat with actual people who have answers to complex questions
Tests for hepatitis A, B, and C
Tests for HSV1 and HSV2
Only place to get RNA early HIV detection
Low-cost 10-test panel
Innerbody readers take $10 off your order
Minimal oversight over vast lab network creates huge disparities in quality
Lab order faxing system unreliable
Guarantees of privacy end once you walk into a given lab
Still have to go in person to get tested
Doctor consultation costs an absurd and unforgivable $95
No status updates between initial order and arrival of results
For those of you who would rather get tested by quickly visiting a lab near you, STDcheck is the way to go.
HIV testing sets STDcheck apart from the pack. They offer two great ways to test for HIV:
Below is a summary of what comes in the STDcheck multi-test kits.
Nurx is a massive company that offers everything from birth control to migraine relief. They have a trio of STI bundles that can look for chlamydia and gonorrhea (three-site), hepatitis C, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and HIV depending on which bundle you select. They also offer HPV screening outside of their STI bundles. Interestingly, even though the company provides treatment for herpes, they don’t have a test to detect it. Nurx accepts insurance, which can cut the cost of their bundles in half. Ultimately, we’d like to see them expand their individual test offerings and introduce screening for herpes.
Personalabs seems primed to offer thoughtful testing options beyond their current lineup, but that lineup is too limited for most people. Their primary screening interests lie in detecting hepatitis B, for which they have four different tests out of the eight they offer overall. That’s 50% of their testing dedicated to hepatitis B. It’s nice that they get into such detail and provide options for people looking to invest in different testing methods. However, they still need to add testing for herpes, gonorrhea, and syphilis and find a way to bundle their tests at a reduced cost to compete.
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