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STDcheck.com Reviews: Is this STD testing company legit?

Our experts show you how STDcheck stacks up in terms of privacy, accuracy, and value (plus $10 off all tests)

Last Updated: Apr 7, 2021

STD Testing | STDcheck | Innerbody

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates almost 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) will occur 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. Screening is critical in effectively stemming the spread from person to person, and it’s also the first step toward getting successful treatment.

STDcheck takes some fear and shame out of the screening process by introducing a significant amount of anonymity. You won’t have to make a doctor’s appointment or spend an hour in the waiting room of a clinic. You won’t even have to use your name if you don’t want to. And their testing quality is right in line with what you would get from any major medical facility.

We’ve taken a close look at the quality of STDcheck’s offerings and operations, tested them ourselves, and broken everything down here so you can make an informed decision and do everything necessary to safeguard your health.

Editor's Summary

Overall Rating 8.2 / 10

STDcheck offers anonymous service and accurate testing. Their in-person sample collection reduces the risk of user error and gets results faster. A laser focus on STDs makes STDcheck slightly less versatile than some of their competition, but it also enhances their specialized expertise.

Review Summary

Pros

  • Discreet, anonymous testing
  • Tests are FDA-approved, and all labs that perform testing are CLIA-certified
  • Same-day testing available
  • Over 4,500 testing centers nationwide
  • Accepts FSA and HSA payment cards
  • Innerbody readers receive $10 off their order

Cons

  • Not compatible with any health insurance
  • Not all participating labs give an equally private experience
  • No options if you live too far from a partner lab
  • $95 fee to receive a prescription from an STDcheck doctor
  • No testing for trichomoniasis or Mycoplasma genitalium
Our Top Picks

STDCheck

With over 4,500 testing centers nationwide, STDcheck provides a logical alternative to inconvenient doctor visits and at-home test kits.

STDcheck specializes in STD testing, and it does it well. They offer discreet, anonymous testing at a competitive price.

10 Test Panel
Reviewed by Innerbody Research
$139
$129
Chlamydia & Gonorrhea Panel
Reviewed by Innerbody Research
$99
$89
Herpes I&II Test
Reviewed by Innerbody Research
$79
$69

How we evaluated STDcheck

We judged STDcheck based on various criteria, including cost, accuracy, customer care, and efficiency, among others. We also subjected our testers to a number of the company’s offerings. Their experiences went a long way toward adding context and specificity to everything else our research had to show us.

Cost

7/10

Most of STDcheck’s tests fall in the low-to-mid-range pricing tier among similar websites. There are also no hidden costs to worry about up front, like processing or shipping charges. STDcheck also re-tests positive HIV and syphilis samples for free.

You can choose to speak with a physician in the event of a positive test result, but this service is not free. Many of STDcheck’s competitors include consultation services without an added charge. But to speak with an STDcheck doctor, you’ll pay a $95 fee.

Now, this fee might come from the doctors themselves, and STDcheck might pass it along to their users. But it seems unfair to ask people who just found out they have an STD to pay what sometimes amounts to 200% of the cost of the test to seek out the necessary treatment. And that fee is not well advertised on the STDcheck website. We weren’t even aware of it until after our testers got their results.

The right thing to do here would have been to calculate the average cost of yearly doctor’s fees for their customer base, redistribute that cost into the prices of their tests, and then offer consultation services for free. That way, the fortunate people who test negative could bear some of that cost instead of heaping it on people who find themselves in a more difficult position.

Customer care

8.9/10

The customer care experience with STDcheck is rather pleasant. Through their live chat system, they employ a team of representatives who are chock full of answers to some of the most complicated questions you could ask. It helps that there are real humans on the other end of the line and not just bots, as well.

One of the most considerate aspects of the whole system is the lack of appointment structure. After you purchase your test, you can immediately head out the door to your nearest facility and have your sample collected. Or you can wait a few days if your schedule demands. Of course, we don’t advise putting your test off any longer than is necessary for obvious health reasons. Still, not having to take time off work or sacrifice your lunch break to squeeze in an appointment is a luxury few doctors or clinics can offer.

We do consider STDcheck’s patient contact outreach to be a cornerstone of their care. It’s hard to imagine a more difficult conversation than telling a recent sexual partner that you’ve tested positive for an STD and that they ought to get tested themselves. That’s why STDcheck does the dirty work for you, and they do it anonymously. Your partners will never have to know the test message originated from a positive result in your life unless you happen to be the only sexual partner they’ve had in recent memory.

Keep in mind that STDcheck’s customer care quality only stretches to the front door of any lab you visit. These labs aren’t STDcheck facilities; they are partners in practice, and once you’re inside one of them, you’re at their mercy. We’ve found some labs to treat customers much better than others.

Efficiency

8/10

One of the most efficient aspects of the STDcheck experience is the purchasing path. From start to finish, the website provides you with a direct route to precisely what you need, and if you don’t quite know what you need, they pack each test’s purchasing page with concise, vital information. Their representatives are there to answer any questions, too.

STDcheck advertises the average time you’ll spend in a facility at around five minutes. That includes checking in, waiting, providing whatever sample is necessary, and leaving. In our initial round of testing, however, one of our testers arrived at a Quest Diagnostics and waited an hour, only to be turned away for not having the paperwork STDcheck said they’d faxed over.

Insider Tip: Make an appointment and print out your lab work documents in advance if you can. It will save you time, ensure the lab can see you, and help protect your privacy.

Turnaround speed is still something STDcheck can boast. In part because you don’t have to worry about shipping times, STDcheck delivers their results faster than just about any at-home testing service can. You’ll usually hear from them within 1-2 business days for most tests. One of our testers submitted a sample at around 2 pm on a Monday and got their results just after 8 pm the next day for a total turnaround time of about 30 hours.

Quality and accuracy

9.0/10

Because STDcheck doesn’t provide you with a collection kit the way a typical at-home service would, there’s slightly less of a standard for quality of materials. That will depend a little more on which supplies your local facilities use. But each of those facilities is CLIA-certified and uses only FDA-approved tests, so no matter where you go, you’ll get top-quality testing.

STDcheck also recommends the most viable testing windows for each of their tests, advising their patients to wait a little longer to get tested for certain infections than their competitors might. This recommendation is an example of the company putting the accuracy of your test above your convenience or their immediate bottom line. Still, we believe both of those sacrifices to be ethically sound.

STDcheck is one of the few places where you can easily access the HIV RNA Early Detection test, as well. It’s an accurate test that can identify the virus much earlier than an antibody screening can, which is imperative with something as understandably frightening as HIV.

Why you should trust us

At Innerbody Research, we extensively test each health service we review. Our research team has spent over 85 hours testing and researching STDcheck and its close competitors in order to give you an unbiased exploration of your STD testing options.

Over the past two decades, we have helped tens of millions of readers like you make more informed decisions to live healthier lives. We try our best to give you, our readers, unbiased exploration of at-home health services, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. We evaluate the service based on our 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, this review of STDcheck, like all health-related content on this website, was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.

What exactly is STDcheck?

STDcheck is a testing company that enables you to browse a selection of STD tests and order the test that you need, anytime, from the convenience and privacy of your home. You order the test from home, submit your sample at a testing center, and review your results from anywhere.

They partner with more than 4,500 testing centers nationwide, so the chances that you live conveniently close to one are high. After any positive test, you can consult with a doctor and acquire any necessary prescriptions to treat an infection.

How does STDcheck work?

The STDcheck testing process is very straightforward and is as follows:

Step 1 - Order your STD test

Simply go to STDcheck.com and select which individual tests or test packages you want to order. You can also call them on your phone. All of these tests are FDA-approved. Pay for the testing to complete your order. If you can’t afford the test at the moment, you can opt to pay later. But you will need to pay for the test to gain access to the test results.

For many people, panels are the way to go since they offer comprehensive results for as many as 10 possible infections. Innerbody Research readers can currently take $10 off any test.

  10 Test Panel 10 Test Panel (w/ Early Detection) Chlamydia & Gonorrhea Panel Herpes I & II Panel
Regular Price $139 $258 $99 $79
with Current Deal $129 $248 $89 $69
Chlamydia
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
Gonorrhea
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
HIV (I&II)
Yes
Yes
   
Syphilis
Yes
Yes
   
Herpes (I&II)
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
Hepatitis A
Yes
Yes
   
Hepatitis B
Yes
Yes
   
Hepatitis C
Yes
Yes
   
HIV RNA  
Yes
   

Step 2: Choose a test center

You will use the STDcheck website to find a testing center that’s convenient for you. Enter your zip code or let the website search your location via GPS. The advanced matching system will show you a list of all the nearest testing centers. There are more than 4,500 testing locations nationwide, most of which are open Monday-Friday during standard business hours. Some are also open on Saturdays. Not all testing centers are created equal, so look into their ratings if you have a few options.

You may then provide some optional personal information, such as your name, gender, date of birth, etc., along with your preferred payment method and how you want to receive your test results. Finally, you will receive a personal test code to write down, which you don’t want to lose.

Insider Tip: If STDcheck offers you the option to select a better lab in your area, take them up on it. It may be a sign the lab you originally selected underperforms.

Keep in mind that STDcheck does not own or operate these centers; they partner with existing labs for collection and processing. That means it’s a good idea to check out the ratings of a given lab in your area, especially if you have more than one choice.

Step 3: Visit the test center

To get tested, visit your local lab at your convenience. There is no need for an appointment, and yet there is typically little waiting involved. You simply arrive, get tested, and leave. The entire test process can take as little as five minutes, especially if you have an appointment.

Make sure to bring your personal test code. Otherwise, the lab will not know which test results yours are. STDcheck gives you the option to print your lab order or have their system fax it directly to the lab. We highly recommend printing out your order if you can, as the fax system failed our testers twice. Also, note that the test centers do not accept payments; you must make your payment online.

Step 4: Receive your results

You can expect STDcheck to send your test results back to you within only one or two working days. Our testers saw an average turnaround of about 30 hours. These are among the fastest turnaround times available.

You can choose to receive your results via text or email. You can also opt to call in to receive your results (an especially convenient option if you share a phone or email account with someone).

You can call the company’s Care Advisors at any time, and they will answer any questions you might have concerning your testing results. The STDcheck website has a sample results image you can use for reference, but we found that it didn’t closely match the formatting of our testers’ results.

Step 5: Consult with a doctor if you test positive

If you test positive, you can schedule a consultation with one of STDcheck’s doctors, which we strongly encourage you to do. Unlike the consultations that other services offer, STDcheck’s doctor consultation is not free. To speak with a physician, the company charges an additional $95. If you have access to a doctor you trust who either costs less or accepts your insurance, feel free to pursue treatment that way. Just keep in mind that a visit to your primary care doctor or a specialist will likely end with your STD diagnosis landing in your official medical record.

Step 6 (Optional): Send anonymous notifications

One additional feature unique to STDcheck is the ability to send 100% anonymous notifications to your partner(s), alerting them about the positive result. It will advise them that they might also want to take a test without connecting the message to you in any way.

Need to cancel your order?

If you change your mind about testing, or you need to cancel for whatever reason, here are your options:

  • As long as you cancel within 21 days of purchase, you will get your money back minus a 20% cancellation fee.
  • If you cancel later than 21 days after ordering your test, then you will be given credit to order other tests at a time of your choosing rather than getting your money back.

HSA, FSA, and health insurance

At the moment, STDcheck accepts FSA and HSA payment cards. To pay using one of these cards, select your product and proceed to the checkout as usual, and enter your FSA/HSA card number as you would a regular credit card. There is no guarantee that they’ll accept this form of payment due to the various types of regulations attached to different cards.

If you’re having trouble using your FSA/HSA card, STDcheck provides an email address on their website that you can contact for advice. However, STDcheck does not accept payment via health insurance providers. While the lack of this payment option may be annoying, it does allow STDcheck 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.

Privacy

STDcheck bases their privacy standards and requirements on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and uses HIPAA web security protocols and data storage systems. They also use the industry-standard HL-7 interface and 128-bit SSL encryption to protect your data and information. You don’t need to provide a name as you order your test or submit your sample, and only you can see your test results.

STDcheck doesn’t accept health insurance, which means they can’t report your test to any insurance company. This restriction also prevents your test results from ending up in your medical records unless local or state governments mandate reporting.

Payment records are deliberately nondescript, as well. Any payments and charges appear as “HealthLabs.com,” which offers many different health tests you can read about in our HealthLabs review. Notification emails also come from “HealthLabs.com.” These messages contain no indication of the nature of the test. STDcheck will not call or text you at all unless you approve them to do so.

If you test positive for an STD, STDcheck allows you to send an anonymous, untraceable message to any prior sexual partner(s) to suggest that they get tested. The news doesn’t come from you; it comes from STDcheck. This process is entirely anonymous — by design, there is no way for the prior sexual partner(s) to identify who initiated the message.

The one place privacy protections may fall short is in the labs. Some facilities take these issues more seriously than others, and many facilities have been stretched thin by the pandemic. Our testers found several lapses in privacy protections throughout their lab visits, including a lack of private physical space and the audible — sometimes shouted — use of first and last names to call patients in from the waiting room.

Types of tests available

10-test panel

STDcheck’s 10-test panel is a comprehensive set that includes every available test on the website other than the early detection HIV screening. It still has 4th generation antibody screening for HIV, but if you’re concerned about early detection, you can easily add the RNA HIV test for an extra $119 [$109 with discount].

In addition to HIV antibody screening, the 10-test panel covers chlamydia; gonorrhea; hepatitis A, B, and C; herpes types 1 and 2; and syphilis. It’s an intelligent test to take if you’ve had unprotected sex outside of a faithful, monogamous relationship and want to make sure you didn’t contract anything. If you know that you’ve had contact with someone suffering from a specific infection, however, a more specific test might be your preferred way to go.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea panel

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the first and second most frequently transmitted infections among all STDs in the US. Both are bacterial infections, but their respective courses of treatment differ slightly. Symptoms include:

  • Painful or frequent urination
  • Yellow discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods
  • Pain or bleeding from the rectum

STDcheck offers standalone tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea, but most patients would do well to utilize the combined panel. That’s because chlamydia and gonorrhea are so commonplace that people often contract them simultaneously. By testing for both, you can ensure that you have neither or get proper treatment for either.

Herpes

Many people think of the herpes virus as occurring either orally or genitally, and they associate oral herpes with type 1 simplex (HSV-1) and genital herpes with type 2 simplex (HSV-2). While it is true that type 1 will usually present orally and type 2 genitally, both simplexes can present in the mouth and genitals. They can also lie dormant without presenting any symptoms at all. Treatment courses and risk of transmission are different for each type, so knowing what type you have is vital to understanding what you should do about it.

STDcheck uses a serological test that can successfully identify and distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2 with tremendous accuracy. When you order the combined Herpes I & II test panel, the lab will check your blood for both types. You can also order individual tests that look for either HSV-1 or HSV-2. If you’ve had sexual contact with a partner you know has one or the other, you may only need to test for that simplex. But given the modest cost difference, we believe the most responsible course is to check for both whenever possible.

Hepatitis (A, B, and C)

Hepatitis is a viral disease that causes inflammation and sometimes scarring in the liver, known as cirrhosis. There is a vaccine available for A and B, but not for C, and since C also presents one of the highest risks for developing cirrhosis, it’s hazardous. The danger with hepatitis B for unvaccinated individuals stems mainly from its persistence in the system without any symptoms. That may allow it to do significant damage to the liver before detection. Hepatitis A can be more unpleasant symptomatically than B but often resolves on its own after several weeks without serious complications.

Most hepatitis transmissions result from blood-to-blood contact through things like infusions, shared needles, and unclean tattoo or piercing practices. Rarely does transmission occur from the fluid exchange during sex, but this is not unheard of.

Testing standards for these three hepatitis viruses are slightly different. The hepatitis A test is a serological test designed to look for immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies. With hepatitis A, these are among the earliest indicators of infection and can show up in as little as two weeks after exposure. They remain present for up to six months, after which a test to look for immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies would be necessary.

For the hepatitis B test, STDcheck employs a highly accurate surface antigen test, which looks for a specific protein that lives on the surface of the hepatitis B virus. These are early indicators of infection, but they remain in the body for the duration of chronic disease, so the test is suitable well into the course of a virus.

The STDcheck hepatitis C test is similar to the one performed for hepatitis A but looks for the IgG antibodies instead of IgM. That means you have to wait a little longer (6-12 weeks) after exposure for an accurate test. An IgG test for hepatitis C may come back positive even in the case of a past infection. Hence, an additional RNA test is necessary to determine if a positive result is due to an active infection.

HIV

There was a time when an HIV diagnosis was deeply and reasonably terrifying. That fear persists enough today to keep some people from testing for it, which can only contribute to spreading the virus. In addition to testing for it anonymously, you can now expect a much more comprehensive treatment regimen than was available in days past. The life expectancies of many HIV patients today are comparable with those of uninfected individuals.

Many people may not realize, but there are two strains of HIV to watch out for: HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is the most common type, accounting for around 95% of global cases. HIV-2 is more concentrated in West Africa. It’s both less infectious and slower to develop than HIV-1.

STDcheck offers two excellent HIV testing options. The more common of the two is the 4th-generation P24 test. Its sensitivity to the P24 antigen can detect both HIV-1 and HIV-2 as early as a few weeks after exposure. P24 is a viral protein that shows up in the blood well before antibodies reach a detectable level. However, the test also seeks out those antibodies; even if you’ve been infected for a while, it will still be effective.

The newer of the tests is the RNA Early Detection Test. Compared to the 4th-gen test, which requires around three weeks after exposure to produce a reliable result, the RNA test can identify an HIV infection in as little as nine days after exposure.

STDcheck understands the importance of accuracy in HIV testing. They will perform a confirmation test on the same blood sample free of charge if you receive a positive result.

Syphilis

While syphilis is a straightforward bacterial infection to treat, it can be challenging to diagnose without testing. Doctors and patients alike often confuse its symptoms for other ailments, and if it progresses to its latent stage, a patient can be asymptomatic for years on end. Tertiary syphilis — the stage that emerges after a latency period — can be extremely dangerous, causing heart and vision problems and even strokes.

If you have any reason to believe you may have contracted syphilis from a sexual partner, you should get tested. If you’ve had any unprotected sex outside a faithful, monogamous relationship, you should get tested. STDcheck offers a standalone syphilis test, but it’s also available in their 10-test panel.

The STDcheck syphilis test has two parts. First, they run a rapid plasma reagin (RPR) test to look for antibodies in your blood. If that yields a positive result, the lab will test the same sample using a treponemal palladium assay (TPA) to identify the bacteria itself.

Our Testing Experience

To get a firm grip on the STDcheck experience, we submitted some of our testers to a variety of available tests. At times their experience failed to live up to the promises STDcheck makes, while other aspects of the process were smooth and satisfying.

Purchasing process

Purchasing the test panel was incredibly easy, and the system allowed us to use fake names at our discretion. We were pleasantly surprised that the site didn’t require a name for credit card input, either.

Purchase Test

Insider Tip: For a fake name, pick something unique. No John or Jane Doe, no celebrity names, etc. Not only will that draw unwanted attention, but someone else might choose the same alias and create confusion.

We then quickly found the nearest lab and selected it. Interestingly, the site sent us to another page with the same map on it, where a prompt claimed that they’d found a better lab for us to choose. We ignored this, as our original selection was the closest, but this would turn out to be a mistake.

At the end of the process, STDcheck gave us the option to print our lab work order or have it faxed to the lab we selected automatically. We had our testers choose the fax, and the only thing they needed to take with them was the order number generated by the site — or so we were told.

In the lab

The first lab our testers visited was a Quest Diagnostics lab situated in the back of a grocery store in Hollywood. It was not a good experience. The waiting area was tiny and uncomfortable, and the only person working there had to play the roles of receptionist and sample collector simultaneously. The check-in system was tablet-based, and the interface failed to recognize their codes, so they had to input all manner of personal information to get the appointment started.

There was only one exam room, and it was right next to the waiting area. Amazingly, the lab tech never closed the door to this space, even when she had a patient. Presumably, this was so she could hear if anyone came in and needed help with the check-in process. Still, the result was that anyone in the waiting room could overhear any personal information discussed during collection. And if you have a problem with check-in or you don’t have all your paperwork, you’ll have to answer those personal questions for all to hear.

As far as we’re concerned, one of the most compelling things about STDcheck is their promise of anonymity. This Quest Diagnostics lab undercut that promise at every turn.

To make matters worse, our testers’ faxes never arrived, despite the confirmation given to us on the STDcheck website. That became a real sticking point because you can’t get tested without a physical copy of the lab order. Of course, our testers only discovered this after nearly an hour’s wait and had to return home empty-handed.

A couple of days later, they visited a different Quest Diagnostics in a more affluent part of town. This time, things went much more smoothly. The order codes were still useless as far as Quest was concerned, but the faxes went through without a hitch. The wait time was still long, however, coming in at just under an hour.

The sample collection rooms offered little privacy; in fact, every room was doorless and shared between two patients with a three-quarter wall between them. Patients could hear each other’s names and other details, but at least they couldn’t see one another. Collection was fast and painless, however, and everyone was back on the road in short order.

The lesson here, again, is to research the labs in your area. If you have a choice, go the distance to visit one with a good reputation. Also, if you can find the time to schedule an appointment instead of being a walk-in, you likely won’t have to wait as long, and you might not have to answer additional questions.

A few hours after returning to the office, no update on our account pages indicated that we submitted a sample.

Waiting for results

If you’re anxious to see your results, your account interface won’t soothe you. As far as we could tell, it doesn’t provide status updates between the time before you get your test and the arrival of your results. Twenty-four hours after submitting our samples, the site still showed that we were waiting to visit the lab. They offer an expedited 12-hour turnaround for an additional $50; whether this is worth it for you depends on how urgently you need to know your status.

We received emails telling us our results were ready about 30 hours after our testers left the lab. The results themselves are incredibly straightforward. For chlamydia and gonorrhea, you’ll receive either a ‘Not Detected’ or ‘Detected’ outcome, and for the rest, you’ll see either ‘Normal’ or ‘Abnormal.’

If you want to take a deeper dive into your results, you can download a PDF that provides more information for each test. You can see what kind of test the lab performed and get specific results where possible.

Frequently asked questions about STD testing

Do I need a doctor’s prescription or any exam to test?

No, all you need to do is order the test and visit a testing site at your convenience. STDcheck has partner physicians who can write you prescriptions after specific positive tests for an additional $95 fee.

If I’m concerned about recent sexual activity, when should I get tested for STDs?

If it’s been a while, then there’s no better time than the present. And if you have any potential symptoms — like pain while urinating, or odd rashes or bumps, or any type of pain or discharge — get tested immediately.

Is it true that different STDs have different incubation periods and window periods?

For starters, it’s helpful to know the difference between an incubation period and a window period. Incubation period is the time between infection and when symptoms first appear. Window period is the time immediately following infection, during which a test could fail to detect that you’ve got an STD. These periods are different because a disease can be present and detectable before creating noticeable symptoms. More modern and sophisticated STD tests also make shorter window periods than earlier forms of testing.

Knowing the different window periods for STD tests is essential to ensure you test properly for recent sexual activity. Below is a handy chart explaining the minimum window periods for the available STD tests.

  Window period Need to retest after positive result? If need to retest after positive result, when?
Chlamydia 5 days-2 weeks
Yes
3 months after completing treatment
Gonorrhea 5 days-2 weeks
Yes
3 months after completing treatment
Syphilis 1-3 months
Yes
3 months after completing treatment
Hep A 2-8 weeks    
Hep B 1-9 weeks    
Hep C 6-12 weeks
Yes
6 months after initial exposure to double-check the earlier results
Oral herpes 4-6 weeks    
Genital herpes 4-6 weeks No, but STDcheck retests positive HIV results for free  
HIV (antibody test) 23-90 weeks    
HIV (RNA test) 10-33 days No, but STDcheck retests positive HIV results for free  

If you’re at all concerned, then the time to get tested is now. You can and should re-test later, and it’s important to keep in mind that if you’re at risk for one STD, you’re probably at risk for others. Chlamydia and gonorrhea both are detectable via testing after seven days. So, to be safe, use protection but also get tested comprehensively and routinely.

Do I need to get re-tested at some point after testing positive?

Whether and when you re-test depends on the STD. See the incubation chart above for more information. Your consulting physician will also have advice for you to follow. Certain positive results trigger an automatic confirmation test with the same sample you submit to your testing site. STDcheck automatically re-tests positive HIV results from either test type, and positive syphilis results from their initial RPR test automatically trigger a confirmation TPA test. The company provides these confirmation tests free of charge.

Can I get multiple STDs at the same time?

Yes. Some infections (such as herpes and syphilis, to name a couple) make you more susceptible to getting additional STDs simultaneously. Many people contract others (like gonorrhea and chlamydia) from the same partner; this is another reason to test more comprehensively rather than less.

How frequently should I get tested?

If you’ve already tested positive for certain STDs and received treatment, you’ll want to re-test at a specific time following treatment (see the chart above). We should all get tested routinely, but the recommended bare minimum testing routines can vary based on our practices and exposure. The CDC offers information based on various populations, and below we’ll summarize their advice in a chart. All sexually active people should test AT LEAST yearly. Depending on your level and type of activity, you may need to get tested more often.

Here are the suggestions for testing at a bare minimum. (Emphasis on BARE MINIMUM.)

  How often to get tested at the very least? CDC recommends at least the following tests:
All sexually active people Yearly HIV
Sexually active women age <25 Yearly Gonorrhea and chlamydia
Women age >25 with multiple partners or at-risk/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 with multiple partners Every 3-6 months Syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV

If you’re experiencing any symptoms or noticing anything odd — like pain while urinating, strange rashes or bumps, or any pain or discharge — then you should get tested immediately, rather than waiting for any sort of routine, scheduled testing.

And don’t forget: it never hurts to get tested more frequently. There are reasons why even monogamous couples should get tested at least each year.

Can I get the same STD again in the future, even after treatment?

Yes. Successful treatment doesn’t prevent you from being re-infected in the future. Also, it’s imperative to finish your treatment; otherwise, you may never successfully get rid of the initial infection. Lastly (with the exceptions of hepatitis A and B, herpes I and II, and HIV), make sure to re-test at the recommended time after completing treatment to confirm that you’ve gotten rid of the STD.

How STDcheck compares to the competition

STDcheck sits at an interesting place in between doctors’ offices and at-home testing kits. Unlike doctors’ offices, STDcheck provides you with a bit more privacy and autonomy, especially if you want to use a fake name and you’re fortunate enough to have a discreet lab in your area. You don’t have to make or keep a specific appointment. Of course, you still have to put yourself into a public space and look a few medical professionals in the eye. A more apt comparison may exist between STDcheck and at-home tests from companies like Everlywell, MyLAB Box, and LetsGetChecked.

For starters, STDcheck keeps their focus exclusively on STDs. That means their partner labs are experts and collecting samples and running the specific tests required to ensure accurate results. One downside is that their specialized labs are somewhat limited in their testing capabilities; no STDcheck lab can process anything other than a urine or blood sample. As a result, they have no means by which to test for HPV. The only FDA-approved HPV test available to individuals requires a cervical swab, and STDcheck cannot currently process those. That said, STDcheck is one of the few providers to offer the HIV RNA Early Detection Test, so anyone fearful of recent exposure would do well to use their services.

STDcheck also shares the online convenience factor with their competitors for ordering your test and receiving results. They even take it a step further by offering the ability to contact previous sexual partners in the event of a positive test on your behalf. They anonymously provide these partners with a recommendation that they, too, get tested.

For some people, not having to collect their sample is a blessing, as well. At-home kits will have you doing everything from poking yourself in the finger and drawing blood to excavating a stool sample with a plastic stick. Not only are those experiences sometimes less than desirable, but administering them yourself introduces a degree of untrained user error that you don’t have to worry about at an STDcheck lab.

Read this next

Finding the Best At Home STD Test
myLAB Box Reviews: Are these tests worth it?
LetsGetChecked Reviews: Should you take their tests?
Everlywell Reviews: Which test is right for you?
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