There are a few different ways to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The most common way is going to the doctor’s office, but it’s now possible to collect your sample from the comfort of your own home and get any necessary treatment shipped to you. Here are some benefits of STI testing from home, and an overview of how you can test from home.
How does it work?
With Alpha, you’ll answer some questions online and choose your STI Kit. You’ll collect your sample at home and mail it to the lab for testing. Depending on the STIs you are getting tested for, your kit will include:
- Urine collection
Similar to any other urine test at a regular clinic, you would pee into the provided urine cup and seal it once your sample is collected.
- Dried blood spot test
You prick yourself with a lancet (a fine, sharply pointed needle used to prick the skin) and collect a small drop of blood from your finger. Then you carefully place the drop of blood on a blood spot card (a filter paper).
- Swab test
You insert a clean swab (like a Q tip) in your throat, anus, or genitals. The swab will collect a sample of your bodily fluids. Once inserted in the appropriate bodily area, you would put the swab in a secure vial.
Your kit may include one, two, or all three of these sample collection methods.
What are the benefits?
Your STI test kit arrives in discreet packaging. Being able to test from anywhere also adds an extra layer of privacy.
Can’t take time off from work or school? Or maybe you live far from a clinic? There’s no need for you to leave your home or schedule an appointment at the clinic or lab. You can collect your sample from the comfort of your own home, or anywhere for that matter! Once you’ve collected your sample, you’ll send it to the lab and they will prepare your lab results. Your results will be shared with your online provider, and they will discuss if any treatment is needed. Treatment can be shipped to your home for free, which adds an extra layer of convenience.
Typically you’ll have to schedule an appointment with a clinician in order to get tested, and possibly additional appointments for check-ups depending on your test results. This will usually involve a co-pay (if you have insurance) or expensive out-of-pocket costs if you are not insured. With at-home STI testing, you can avoid the burden of these additional costs.
The test results from a trusted at-home screening service are just as secure, accurate, and reliable as in-person STI testing. For example, Alpha partners with a CAP accredited and CLIA licensed laboratory. The test results are guaranteed to meet nationwide standards and are as accurate as tests done in a clinic or doctor’s office. Your personal health information is protected according to HIPAA law.
Regardless of how you choose to get tested for STIs, it’s important that you take the necessary precautions to practice safe-sex and discuss and potential concerns with your sex partner(s).