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Finding the Best At Home STD Test

Our experts explain everything you need to know about STD testing at home, including current discounts.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ayesha Bryant, MSPH, MD
Last Updated: Nov 20, 2020

Lets Get Checked STD Tests | Innerbody

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. When caught early, most STDs can be cured or at least managed with proper treatment.

What is the best at home STD Test?

Luckily, with the proliferation of many new direct-to-consumer STD test kit providers, screening yourself or a loved one in the privacy of your own home has never been easier. We tested and evaluated each test from the top providers. The guide below was designed to share with you what we learned and help you find the best STD test to ensure your future health!

Our Top Choice
myLAB Box Safe Box

myLAB Box Safe Box

A great value - a 5-in-1 test kit with trustworthy results in just a few days.

myLAB Box is a leading testing company. This kit tests you for chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV (I and II) and trich, which together account for 71% of STIs.

Current Deals: Save 20% with coupon code: INNERBODY20

Also Great
LetsGetChecked: Standard 5 Test

LetsGetChecked: Standard 5 Test

A solid STD test that offers the right trade-off between value and comprehensiveness.

LetsGetChecked is a highly respected at-home testing company that receives high ratings in terms of Value, Accuracy, Privacy, and Customer Support.

Current Deals: BLACK FRIDAY SALE (Till Dec 4): 40% off with coupon code: INNERBODY40

Why you should trust us

Innerbody Research recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary. Over the past two decades, we have helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions about staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles. Our testing team has purchased and compared over 500 health-related tests to date, and we are constantly updating our reviews based on the latest test advances.

This guide, like all medical-related content on our website, is thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy. Additionally, we extensively analyze each health-related service we review. We evaluate the entire customer experience from signing up to the use of the product or service, and then offer unbiased, marketing-jargon-free analysis based on the latest scientific evidence and medical standards.

Can you test for an STD at home?

Yes you can – otherwise this guide would not exist. One of the best developments over the past decade has been the advancement of testing capabilities that allow greater access to important health tests, such as those for STDs. We now have the ability to test reliably for STDs 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.

The at-home and in-lab tests rely on highly regarded methodologies and results are processed in the same certified labs. Results either way will be accurate, as long as you or the lab tech follow proper procedure while administering the tests. The procedures to conduct the testing are straightforward. And our recommended testing providers in this guide all offer very discreet tests, fully respecting your privacy at all stages of the process.

So how should you choose between testing at home or testing in a lab? Partly the choice is 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.

  Test at home Test in a lab
Routine testing to stay safe
 
Live in remote area
 
Have unusual symptoms and not sure what’s happening  
A current or former partner tested positive  
Haven’t tested in a long time / Due for a check
 
Very tight budget but want to be safe
 
In committed relationship and we want to stop using condoms
Condom broke / Had unprotected sex with someone I generally trust
Had risky sex and now I’m very nervous  
Need results ASAP  
Making sure a treated infection is gone
Want to get clean bill of health before new sexual relationship

Testing at home is a great path for producing reliable, accurate results – and with unbeatable convenience. However, you should consider having the test administered in the lab if:

  • You are testing because a recent partner tested positive for an STD.
  • You really want your results within a couple days from now, rather than several days later.
  • You’re experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety about the testing.
  • You’re unsure what your symptoms could indicate and could use advice about where to start.

Why do stress and anxiety matter? In a nutshell, it’s because we are all human. At-home STD testing can be just as accurate, but we are more capable of overlooking small details when under high stress and deeply concerned about our wellbeing or that of a loved one. Relying on a professional to conduct the test in a lab during overwhelming times like these can be useful.

Lastly, sometimes peace of mind isn’t a fully rational thing, no matter how much we want it to be. 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 you know there may otherwise be a nagging voice in the back of your mind that won’t let you relax.

If you decide to test in a lab setting, our top recommended provider is STDcheck (see our full STDcheck review to learn more).

Are at home STD tests accurate?

Yes, at-home tests are highly accurate, capable of being just as accurate as testing in a lab.

  • At-home tests use the same collection methodologies.
  • At-home test samples are processed in the same kind of labs as in-lab tests and held to the same rigid quality standards.
  • The best at-home test kits (the kind we recommend) are very trustworthy. They and their components are either FDA-approved or considered by the FDA to not require redundant approval because the tests and components were designed by certified medical labs for accuracy.
  • Whether testing at home or in the lab, the accuracy of results depends on proper administration of the test.
  • Reliable results (results that give us a true reflection of our health) also require that we understand window periods of different STDs. If we don’t understand window periods, it’s more likely for us to be misled even by highly accurate tests. See the testing FAQ section in this guide for more information about testing windows.

Test procedures are thankfully very straightforward and enable at-home STD tests to produce the same reliable results as the equivalent in-lab tests.

How accurate is very accurate?

Here are just a few examples from our top choice for at-home STD testing (myLAB Box) as well as our top choice for in-lab testing (STDcheck), to give you a good idea of their commitment to accuracy and best practices.

The herpes testing offered by both of these companies is 98-99% accurate – with or without symptoms – as long as you wait 6 weeks after exposure to escape the “window period” (more on window periods in the FAQ section).

Trichomoniasis is the third most common STD in the United States today. 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 fantastic.

  • Sensitivity is how often a person who is infected tests positive.
  • Specificity is how often a person who is not infected tests negative.

STDcheck’s chlamydia and gonorrhea testing uses Gen Probe APTIMA testing technology. Don’t be disappointed if you have never heard of it, but be comforted by how accurate it is:

  • It detects chlamydia with 100% sensitivity and 99.8% specificity.
  • It detects gonorrhea with 100% sensitivity and specificity.

HIV testing performed with any of our top recommended companies is 99-100% accurate.

In short, the testing technology used by these companies and partnering labs 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. You are in good hands (even when they are actually your own).

What types of at-home STD tests are available?

Lets Get Checked STD Test | Standard 5 | Innerbody

The first thing to consider when choosing an STD home test is whether you want to take a multi-disease test or whether you want to test for a specific STD. Generally, unless you are experiencing specific symptoms or have reason to believe that you may have been exposed to a specific STD, the multi-disease tests would likely be your best option.

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 myLAB Box, LetsGetChecked, and Everlywell. You cannot go wrong with any of these companies, as they are all rated highly in terms of accuracy, privacy, and customer service.

If we were pressed to pick a favorite, we would have to choose myLAB Box. We especially like this company for three reasons:

  1. It uses the most advanced blood sampling method, capillary testing, which is painless and leads to the highest degree of accuracy.

  2. In the event that you test positive, myLAB Box has the best support, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  3. Though the testing prices among the top three providers are similar, myLAB Box is currently offering a 20% discount on all tests, which will save you a lot of money. You must use Promo Code: INNERBODY20 when checking out.

Order a Test

Multi-STD tests

All of the top providers offer single STD test kits that test for multiple STDs at once. These kits tend to be among the most popular and are often a smart choice for two reasons:

  • It is fairly common for a person to be infected with more than one STD at the same time.
  • These test panels save you money compared to buying multiple individual tests.

For instance, myLAB Box offers several popular multi-STD test kits: the Total Box, the Uber Box, the Safe Box, and the V-Box. You can see how these four tests compare below, with discounts you can get if you use our INNERBODY20 discount code.

  Total Box Uber Box Safe Box V-Box
Regular Price $369 $269 $189 $189
with Promo Code $295 $215 $151 $151
Chlamydia
Gonorrhea
Trichomoniasis
HIV (I&II)
 
Syphilis
   
Herpes (II)
   
Hepatitis C
   
HPV
     
Mycoplasma
     
Yeast      
Bacterial Vaginosis      

Sometimes the companies put numbers in the names of these test kits to indicate the number of STDs that the kit covers. But regardless of whether there’s a number in the name, all of our favorite companies make it easy to understand what you’re buying. At point of purchase, you’ll find prominent information about the tests in the kit and how you will collect your test specimen.

Which level of multi-test do we recommend? Generally speaking, the tests that cover chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV and trichomoniasis (at a minimum) are the best combination of comprehensiveness and value. They are (in order of our preference): myLAB Box’s Safe Box, LetsGetChecked’s Standard 5, and Everlywell’s Basic STD Test.

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 10 or myLAB Box’s Total Box 14. These tests can be expensive but are actually a good deal if you take into account how much testing for each STD individually would cost.

Individual STD tests

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Test

Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are sexually transmitted viruses that can cause chronic infections and warts. Some strains can even cause cancer if left untreated. The tests you will want to take a look at include the myLAB Box Cervical Cancer Screening [see latest price], the LetsGetChecked HPV Test [see latest price], and the Everlywell HPV Test - Female [see latest price].

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a disease that affects the liver, and it can be contracted through 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. Both myLAB Box [see latest price] and Everlywell [see latest price] offer standalone hepatitis C tests.

HIV Tests

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 it can be effectively managed. 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, many providers will offer a free retest to confirm the result. Both myLAB Box [see latest price] and Everlywell [see latest price] offer standalone HIV tests.

Chlamydia Tests

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection that does not always produce symptoms. It’s important to screen for chlamydia routinely, as it can cause serious health problems, and it is thankfully very easy to test for. Both myLAB Box [see latest price] and Everlywell [see latest price] offer standalone chlamydia tests. LetsGetChecked [see latest price] offers the Simple 2 test which tests for both Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea Tests

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection that, if left untreated, can cause serious health problems, such as pelvic inflammatory disease. Both myLAB Box [see latest price] and Everlywell [see latest price] offer standalone gonorrhea tests. LetsGetChecked [see latest price] offers the Simple 2 test which tests for both Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.

Trichomoniasis Tests

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 [see latest price] and myLAB Box [see latest price] offer trichomoniasis tests.

Syphilis Tests

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that often causes sores, rashes and fever. This infection is especially dangerous to pregnant women, as it can have fatal effects on the unborn baby. Both myLAB Box [see latest price] and Everlywell [see latest price] offer standalone syphilis tests.

Herpes Tests

Herpes is a viral infection that can be caused by two types of viruses. Often referred to as oral or genital herpes, the viruses often 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. Both LetsGetChecked [see latest price] and myLAB Box [see latest price] offer standalone herpes tests (and only for genital herpes).

How we choose our recommendations

We customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related test. For STD test kits, both individual and multi-test panels, we have five areas that we use to evaluate and ultimately form our recommended tests. They are:

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?

Why test for STDs?

There are many reasons why you should get tested for STDs – and not just once, but periodically throughout life.

It is part of preventive health care

Everyone deserves a healthy body, mind, and sex life. Getting yourself tested for STDs is one of the primary things you can do to improve and protect your general health and the health of others. If not treated, some STDs can lead to serious health complications such as infertility, reproductive health problems or certain cancers.

STDs are very common

A staggering 50% of Americans will be infected by 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 the CDC’s latest 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:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis
  • Trichomoniasis

Most STDs can be treated

Now for some good news: all four of the common STDs above (chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis and syphilis) are absolutely curable with readily available treatments. In order 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 be successful. If the infection goes undetected for extended periods of time, treatment becomes more challenging and complicated, and the chances of reversing the damage are much lower.

Some STDs show no symptoms

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, on average, people with HIV do not develop symptoms for a couple of years after being infected. The only way to prevent future complications is to get tested regularly in order to ensure early detection.

How often to get tested for STDs

Periodic testing is important for all sexually active people. The CDC’s advice about how frequently we get tested varies by the type of infection and also based on sexual behavior. Here is a handy chart breaking down their advice about the minimum amount of testing. Bear in mind, this is the minimum frequency – testing more frequently is always a good thing, and if you are experiencing any unusual or unpleasant symptoms then you should get tested as soon as possible, regardless of when you previously tested.

  How often to test at minimum? CDC recommends at least these tests:
All sexually active people Yearly HIV
Sexually active women age <25 Yearly Gonorrhea and chlamydia
Women age >25 w/ mult. partners Yearly Gonorrhea and chlamydia
Women age >25 w/ at-risk or infected partner Yearly Gonorrhea and chlamydia
Pregnant women Early in pregnancy and periodically throughout Syphilis, HIV, hep B
Sexually active gay and bisexual men Yearly Syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV
Sexually active gay and bisexual men w/ mult. partners Every 3-6 months Syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV

When to test and re-test

One tricky aspect of STDs is that, even if you suspect recent sexual activity might have exposed you to infection, these diseases have different incubation periods and different window periods.

  • An incubation period is the period of time between infection and when symptoms begin.
  • Window periods are the amount of time between initial infection and when a test will produce accurate, real results.

Window periods are the most important consideration when it comes to testing and transmission to others. For some STDs, you can get an accurate test result if you take the test a week after a particular sexual encounter, but other STDs require more time before your test will be useful for determining whether you contracted an infection from that encounter.

For some STDs, it’s also important to re-test after treatment, to make sure your course of treatment successfully cleared away the infection.

The chart below outlines minimum window periods for common STDs and indicates which ones require a re-test after treatment. This information is vital for keeping you safe and making sure you can use testing to safeguard your health most effectively.

  Window period Need to retest? If retest needed, when?
Chlamydia 1-5 days
2 weeks after treatment ends
Gonorrhea 2-6 days
2 weeks after treatment ends
Syphilis 3-6 weeks
3 months after treatment ends
Hep A 2-7 weeks (28 days avg)    
Hep B 6 weeks    
Hep C 8-9 weeks
3 months after first test
Oral herpes 4-6 weeks    
Genital herpes 4-6 weeks    
HIV (antibody test) 1-3 months    
HIV (RNA test) 9-11 days    

Why you should consider testing with an at-home test kit

You can only be certain that you have been infected with an STD if you get tested. If you are worried about acquiring an STD and are too busy or embarrassed to visit a clinic to get tested, collecting a sample within the privacy of your own home could be a better option.

Convenience

By choosing an at-home test, you no longer need to book an appointment with your healthcare professional, and your sample collection kit will arrive by mail, meaning that it won’t affect your daily routine.

Privacy

Most people, especially young adults, are embarrassed about discussing STDs; others don’t want the stigma that’s associated with getting an STD test. With home test kits, anyone can collect a sample and get reliable results without involving a healthcare professional, and it can be done in the privacy of their own home.

Accuracy

According to research, home test kits are accurate and reliable with a specificity of 95% to 98% and sensitivity of 98% to 99%.

Everlywell STDTest

STD Testing Company Snapshots

After evaluating all the major at-home STD testing companies, as we have mentioned, four companies rose to the top: myLAB Box, LetsGetChecked, STDcheck, and Everlywell. Below you will find brief snapshots along with links to our full review of each of these companies.

We also wanted to mention that there are several STD testing companies that didn’t quite make it to the top of our list, but are still quality options nevertheless. Our “Honorable Mention” testing companies include Nurx, Personalabs, and Plushcare.

myLAB Box

STD testing is something of a specialty for myLAB Box, because it used to be their sole focus. Recently they have been branching out into other testing areas unrelated to STDs as well. myLAB Box is overall just a great company. It tends to be our top choice since they have always excelled with STD testing and they continue to excel.

myLAB Box kit

With myLAB Box, you can get convenient at-home testing whether your goal is testing for individual or multiple STDs. The chart earlier in this guide outlines what tests are included in their multi-test kits, which are an excellent value. All-told, myLAB Box gives you an easy way to test reliably for the following STDs:

  • HIV (I and II)
  • Chlamydia (genital, throat, rectal)
  • Syphilis
  • Gonorrhea (genital, throat, rectal)
  • Genital Herpes
  • Trichomoniasis (trich)
  • Mycoplasma genitalium
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C

Some of what we love about myLAB Box:

  • Prices are competitive and two-way shipping is free.
  • More comprehensive testing available for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Robust testing of individual STDs available.
  • Free consultation with a doctor if you test positive.
  • Packaging is very discreet, adding to your privacy.
  • Only partners with CLIA-certified labs.
  • You get a 20% discount if you use the INNERBODY20 code while purchasing.

Order a Test

Learn more at our full myLAB Box review.

LetsGetChecked

LetsGetChecked Simple 2 kit

Our testers are consistently impressed by LetsGetChecked. We really like this company and you can’t go wrong with them either. Like myLAB Box, they offer a multitude of tests aside from STD testing, though they do not offer the same flexibility in terms of testing for individual STDs. In terms of STD testing, you can conveniently order the following test kits from LetsGetChecked:

  • Herpes Test
  • Hepatitis B & C
  • Simple 2
  • Basic 3
  • Standard 5
  • Complete 10

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 to you when you use promo code INNERBODY during purchase):

  Complete 10 Standard 5 Basic 3 Simple 2
Current Price $269 $149 $119 $99
with Promo Code $215 $119 $95 $79
Chlamydia
Gonorrhea
Trichomoniasis
 
HIV
   
Syphilis
   
Herpes Simplex (I&II)
     
Gardnerella
     
Mycoplasma
     
Ureaplasma
     

Order a Test

Visit our full LetsGetChecked review for more details.

Everlywell

Everlywell STD kit

Everlywell is a home testing giant that offers a dizzying array of different tests, many of which we highly recommend (for more information, visit our Everlywell review). What Everlywell offers in the way of STD testing is not as extensive as other companies like myLAB Box and LetsGetChecked. 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. (Note that you can get the promo code prices if you use our INNERBODY15 code at purchase.)

  STD Test - Female STD Test - Male Chlamydia & Gonorrhea HIV Test
Regular Price $199 $199 $39 $39
with Promo Code $169 $169 $33 $33
Chlamydia
 
Gonorrhea
 
Trichomoniasis
   
HIV (I&II)
 
Syphilis
   
Herpes (II)
   
Hepatitis C
   

The male test panel utilizes urine and blood for its samples, while the female test kit relies on a vaginal swab.

Everlywell’s HIV test is less expensive than STDcheck or myLAB Box, for instance, but this test only checks for antibodies rather than the dual-action test for antibodies and antigens. It will not be useful for testing as early as the 4th generation test available from the other companies.

STDcheck

STDcheck logo

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.

They have a different model though. Rather than at-home testing with a mailed kit, you order your test at home and then come in to a local testing site that partners with STDcheck, of which there are thousands spread across the country. You then receive your results and (if positive) consult with a doctor from the convenience of home.

Most customers find that there is a very convenient testing site nearby, but you can find out for yourself first by entering your zip code into the website. For those of you who would rather get tested by quickly visiting a lab near you, STDcheck is the way to go and we could not recommend them more highly.

With STDcheck, you can test for:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Hepatitis A, B and C
  • Herpes 1 and 2
  • HIV 1 and 2
  • Syphilis

HIV testing really sets STDcheck apart from the pack. They offer two great ways to test for HIV:

  • The HIV I & II (4th generation) test works reliably as soon as a month after exposure. You’ll get results within 1-2 days and can consult with a doctor over the phone if your test is positive. This test can detect HIV infection sooner than older versions of HIV tests, because it looks not only for antibodies but also antigens. The antigens can be detected sooner, when antibody levels are still low.
  • The HIV RNA early detection test is a fantastic option for very early HIV testing, providing reliable results as soon as 11 days after exposure.

Below is a summary of what is included in the STDcheck multi-test kits.

  10 Test Panel 10 Test Panel (w/ Early Detection) Chlamydia & Gonorrhea Herpes I & II
Regular Price $198 $349 $129 $130
with Current Deal $188 $339 $119 $120
Chlamydia
 
Gonorrhea
 
HIV (I&II)
   
Syphilis
   
Herpes (I&II)
 
Hepatitis A
   
Hepatitis B
   
Hepatitis C
   
HIV RNA  
   

Please check out our full STDcheck review to learn more about the company.

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How reliable are the tests?

While some companies sell kits that are FDA-approved, others claim that although their tests aren’t FDA-approved, their tests use “FDA-approved technology.” Most companies partner with laboratories that are certified by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA) and accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP).

If your results are negative, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re STD-free. Incubation periods vary for STDs, so if you’ve recently been exposed, it may mean that the STD can’t be detected yet. This is one reason why it’s important to test for STDs regularly.

Companies remind patients that tests are meant to provide information and education, not to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Tests shouldn’t replace a consultation with a healthcare provider. It’s recommended that you share your results with your doctor to obtain medical advice and treatment.

What is the at-home testing process?

The whole at-home testing process is pretty simple and straightforward.

  1. Once you choose which test to take, place the order. Your kit should arrive in 2-5 days. myLAB Box and Everlywell will get your test kit to you in 1-3 days, free of charge, while LetsGetChecked gives you two different options – Standard delivery (ground shipping) or Express (which will arrive in 2-3 days, for an additional charge).

  2. Follow the instructions carefully to collect your sample. Usually, it is either a urine sample, a pinprick blood sample, or a vaginal swab. These instructions will be very clear and easy to follow, but make sure you follow them correctly to ensure high accuracy. The testing process itself generally requires no more than 5-10 minutes.

  3. Send the sample to the lab in the pre-paid postage box that is included.

  4. Within about 2-8 business days, you will be notified that your results are ready to view online using your private, secure access. If you test positive, you can (and should) obtain a free consultation with the company’s professional medical staff to get advice about next steps.

How long in total does the at-home test process take?

For our top recommendation, myLAB Box, you can have results within 5-11 days from the moment you place your order. This is because they make fast shipping complimentary in both directions. Everlywell testing is similarly fast overall with comparable shipping speed.

The process with LetsGetChecked is comparable if you opt for the Express shipping method for an additional fee; using Standard shipping will add a few days to the timeline.

At-home testing is highly convenient and a great choice for people who are happy to have results about a week on average from ordering. This is a fast turnaround, but even the fastest at-home testing (via myLAB Box) will still not be quite as fast as in-lab testing with STDcheck. If you need your results as fast as possible and are willing and able to go to one of STDcheck’s labs without delay, then you can have results within 2 days of ordering your test.

Are there any downsides to taking an STD test at home?

Taking an at-home test ordered online is very similar to taking a test administered by a local lab clinic or your own doctor. The sample extraction process is essentially the same. In fact, in many cases, the lab that evaluates your sample could be very similar, regardless of which type of test you choose.

There are some important differences to be aware of, however. First, although many of our favorite at-home STD testing companies (LetsGetChecked, myLAB Box, Everlywell, etc.) give you “virtual” access to medical professionals throughout the purchasing and testing process, there is something to be said for speaking to someone face to face. If you are the type of person who prefers that in-person interaction, we recommend that you get tested in a physical clinic. Our top-rated in-person test provider is STDcheck, by the way. It’s outstanding and has over 4,000 testing centers throughout the U.S.

One other thing to keep in mind is that many people get tested for STDs by their own doctor (or a lab that your doctor refers you to). If you are using the convenience of testing for STDs from home as a way, consciously or subconsciously, to avoid regular check-ups with your primary care physician, we recommend that you just take the opportunity to visit your doctor.

What happens if my results come back positive?

If you test positive, first of all you should not panic. Most STDs are treatable and some of the most common ones are curable. The purpose of STD testing is to identify infections so that they can be treated. Testing is just the first step of that important process.

For those who test positive in STD testing, our top choice companies in this guide offer free consultations with health professionals to discuss next steps with you. myLAB Box, STDcheck, and Everlywell connect you with a physician – and LetsGetChecked connects you with a nurse – who will discuss what your results mean, what the likely treatment paths are and how to get started on the road to better health.

For certain infections – like chlamydia, gonorrhea and trich – the physicians at myLAB Box and STDcheck can even potentially prescribe medication for you immediately, which you could pick up at your local pharmacy.

No matter what, the service of these recommended testing companies extends beyond test-taking and into treatment planning, so that you can begin effective treatment as soon as possible, armed with the best medical advice.

While testing with these companies is discreet, you should always share your test results with your primary care provider. This is the way to ensure that you continue to get the best ongoing healthcare and access to necessary treatments and follow-up testing as needed.

Read this next

myLAB Box Reviews: Are these tests worth it?
STDcheck.com Reviews: Is this STD testing company legit?
Everlywell Reviews: Which test is right for you?
LetsGetChecked Reviews: Should you take their tests?

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