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At Home and Online STD Tests (Are They Effective?)

by Robert Bergen MD in Home Health Tests 2020-08-25

They say “not knowing is the worst part”…until you realize that you do have an STD and by then it’s too late! It’s always better to be safe, use condoms, and then get tested before taking any chances. 

Now, it’s easier than ever before to get tested discreetly and in some cases, in the privacy of your own own. In this discussion, we’re going to review the top online STD testing sites, the pros and cons of each option, and why certain companies rank higher for specific reasons. 

Best STD Testing Kits You Can Get Delivered

1. STDCheck.com– Best STD Testing Site

STDCheck.com offers same-day STD testing at one of its 4,500 testing centers across the country. Results are confidential and FDA-approved. There are no waiting rooms, but rather, you get access to the same testing centers used by doctors. 

You don’t need to schedule an appointment. Just buy the test and go to the center to drop off the blood or urine sample within minutes. No paperwork is required. The 10-panel test checks for all major STDs. If you test positive the company sets you up to see a doctor immediately. 

Pros

  • Confidential, no reporting to your insurance company
  • No waiting room or appointment needed
  • Fast STD test result within 1-2 days after sample is delivered

Cons

  • No online only option, you must visit the lab

Read the full Stdcheck.com review

2. Persona Labs – Most Convenient STD Test and Prescription Option

Persona Labs offers 400 blood types of tests, including STDs, as well as immediate prescriptions ready to fill after learning of the results. With over 2,300 locations you can submit a sample in minutes and then find out the status in 24 hours.

The four-step process involves ordering the lab tests, printing the doctor’s order, finding a patient service center near you, and then delivering the order. Finally, you can view your status online. 

Pros

  • Get the doctor’s orders immediately and get prescriptions filled fast
  • No waiting, and get informed in 24 hours
  • Order additional tests related to sex or health, including erectile dysfunction, birth control, or STDs

Cons

  • No online only option, you must visit the lab

3. MyLAB Box – Best At-Home STD Testing

MyLAB Box offers at-home testing for STDs and other health issues, with fast reporting. You don’t have to visit a doctor or make a co-pay. Simply order the test online, collect and then mail in your sample, and get results in one to five days. 

LABBox has been in business since 2014 and is the longest-running at-home STD business. They work with laboratories that have all been CAP and CLIA certified for accuracy and safety. You don’t have to visit a lab and can learn your status at a reduced cost. 

If you test positive you can immediately follow up with a doctor or get a free telemedicine consultation. 

Pros

  • Order a test and get a sample kit anywhere
  • You can talk to a doctor immediately if you test positive
  • No clinic visit or onsite lab visit necessary 

Cons

  • Does not test for all STDs

4. Everlywell – Most Accurate Out-of-Clinic Results

Everlywell offers 30 tests for the most common STDs as well as other tests related to male and female health. Everlywell eliminates the in-person office or lab visit and lets its clients submit samples through mail. You even get free shipping.

Start by requesting the test kit and then wait for the kit to arrive at your front door. The test kit materials will be delivered right to your doorstep and will include pre-paid expedited shipping so you can send your sample to the lab without any other steps. 

A board-certified physician reviews the test and you get the news online within a few days. 

Pros

  • Testing is reviewed by independent physicians for accuracy
  • CLIA-certified labs ensure the highest standards
  • No need to visit an office or a lab in person

Cons

  • Some complaints of false negatives/positives

Read the full Everlywell Review

5. HealthLabs.com – Most Affordable STD Testing

HealthLabs.com offers fast, private affordable lab testing, without the need for insurance or a doctor’s referral. The site offers an affordable alternative to in-person testing that can be ordered online. 

Visit a local lab, one of 4,500 locations, and submit a blood work or urine sample without an appointment or visiting a waiting room. You can get your information within two days. All labs are CLIA-certified for the highest standards in reporting. 

What’s nice about the HealthLabs package is that you get a 110 percent price beat guarantee, making it the most affordable online/lab STD testing option. 

Pros

  • CLIA-certified labs, the highest standards in the industry
  • Status is shared within two days
  • Most affordable option, with a 110% match

Cons

  • Still requires a local lab visit

6. PlushCare – Most Comprehensive and Doctor-Supervised STD Testing

PlushCare is more than an STD testing service. The company offers virtual primary care as well as mental health, by networking you with a number of doctors and giving you access through a smartphone. 

You must book an appointment to begin. When it’s time to meet, you can chat virtually on your phone and explain any issue. You can also get an STD check and then pick up your prescription after the phone call. Most major insurers and local pharmacies also work with Plushcare.

Besides co-pay, virtual visits are only $99 a visit. Meet with a virtual doctor to discuss your symptoms and then get a lab order for official testing. The company partners with labs all over the country for convenient testing. Go to a local lab and get a sample done in less than 15 minutes, no waiting room time. STD follow up consultations are free of charge. 

Pros

  • Includes more benefits than just testing, since it’s a virtual primary care plan
  • More comprehensive service since you get to virtually chat with a doctor
  • Get STD lab results in 3-5 days

Cons

  • You must book an appointment and may be required to chat with a doctor, which could be intimidating to a shy person

7. LetsGetChecked – Best Followup STD Testing Experience

LetsGetChecked lets you avoid the clinic experience completely and actually expedite the testing process. With next day delivery, you can return your sample on the same day and use a prepaid shipping label for faster reporting. 

Lab information is available online within two to five days, and results always come from an accredited lab that’s FDA approved, CLIA and CAP certified. A team of physicians will review your order before delivering the news. 

If you test positive, a nurse is available 24-7 to discuss your options. Thanks to an automated process with stored patient IDs, the analysis goes faster than average. 

Pros

  • 24-7 followup service with nurses that can help you with a diagnosis
  • A team of physicians reviews your order for accurate reporting
  • Lab results come within five days, which is a short wait for home testing

Cons

  • Express shipping may cost extra

8. NURX – Outstanding Home Delivery for STD Prescription Medication

NURX is similar to a virtual healthcare provider and does allow you to meet with real doctors. You can make an appointment or get and fill a prescription whether you have insurance or not. 

NURX also focuses on sexual health and so provides a number of STD testing, including HPV screening at home, without an office appointment. The service also provides birth control, STI testing, treatment for a number of STDs without seeing a doctor, and even emergency contraception. 

You can also consult with a medical team, select medication, and get your request reviewed and approved by a doctor in your state. Medication is delivered to you at no extra cost with discreet packaging. You also get access to a medical team that provides a number of resources for sexual health. 

Pros

  • Access to STD prescription medications and birth control
  • Medication can be approved without a doctor’s visit and delivered to your home
  • Use your insurance provider or work without it just fine

Cons

  • Due to the boutique of services offered, not as discreet as other tests

9. PrivateiDNA – Most Risk-Free Option for STD Testing

Get an at-home STD test with PrivateiDNA, which makes screening at home easy and confidential. Use your smartphone to order a test from any location and get results back quickly, after lab testing. You can get a comprehensive STD screening or specific tests, if you prefer. 

The company ensures accurate and fast results and is available seven days a week. All testing is done is CLIA and CAP-certified labs and in a Dynamic Infectious Disease Laboratory, which is the highest standard for accuracy. 

The company also offers a money back guarantee if you are unhappy with the experience, within 30 days of the initial purchase. If you test negative or positive once and want to re-test later, you get one retest for the same disease, paying only shipping and handling. 

Pros

  • All STD tests take place at home, with results delivered to your smartphone
  • Retest at no additional charge
  • Use the pBOX urine or blood test to test for a few common STDs at once

Cons

  • Users complain that the service has no live chat and does not test minors for sexually transmitted diseases

10. QuestDirect

QuestDirect has 2,200 locations around the country so you can schedule an appointment for blood work. You can request testing and wait for a physician to approve and send the order to a Quest lab.

If you don’t have a doctor you can speak to PWN doctor, part of the PWN Health network. Start the process by shopping for your test. A doctor’s visit is not required, though one does have to approve the test. Shop or pay online and then schedule a time to come in foro blood work. 

See your results on the website and then share it with your doctor for a follow up, if you choose to do so.  You must bring your order details with you to a Quest location for processing. 

Pros

  • No doctor’s appointment is necessary
  • Discreet services
  • More privacy than an in-person clinic

Cons

  • Not much in the way of home testing
  • You must contact doctors yourself and book appointments for blood work, which is a hassle

Are online STD tests accurate?

It depends on the testing process. However, since most services use FDA-approved labs that are CLIA and CAP-certified, accurate results are very likely. Some argue that home testing kits (especially the ones that avoid a clinic entirely) can lead to inaccurate results because of human error. 

However, online testing generally has the same accurate reporting as an in-person clinic, since the same exact labs are frequently used by doctors and online services alike. When reviewing a company on your own verify the procedures and make sure the labs used have a good reputation to endure accuracy. 

Can you get a false negative STD test?

According to Action Canada, a charitable organization, there is always a small chance of a false negative in STD testing, especially if not enough “bacteria or virus has accumulated” from an infection. Remember that some STDs do not show symptoms for a couple of weeks or even several weeks. 

While it’s true that some home kits can be compromised, when testing is done properly, there is a 99 percent success rate for false negatives and a 90 percent success rate of reporting STD positives

Can you test yourself for STDs at home?

With modern technology as well as more telecommunications, you can now order an STD check at home and get results back without ever setting foot in a clinic or lab. While some companies require you to come into their labs for testing, others let you order a test and return a sample through the mail. 

Using a blood, urine, or vaginal swab sample, a lab can return results for a number of STD tests. Simply use the kit as directed and then return the sample, which oftentimes comes with prepaid shipping so you never have to see anyone to get your results. 

How long does shipping take?

Results can never be instantaneous because in addition to the task of mailing samples to an FDA-approved lab, you must also wait for the USPS (or another shipping service) to deliver the test and to take the sample from you. USPS typically takes 3-5 days to ship. 

Depending on when you send the sample, that’s another 3-5 days of waiting time, though some companies request up to seven days to process the results and then notify you by email. 

What is a rapid STD test?

A rapid STD test usually refers to an online STD testing service, which eliminates the need to visit a clinic and delivers results using email or a log-in platform. However, some companies still require patients to come in and take a blood or urine test at one of their networked labs. 

Some labs can test you within minutes, forgoing the waiting period. Rapid same-day STD testing is favorable for getting treatment but also comes with a slight risk of a false negative result, which are rare but always possible. 

Can I get again an STD after I’ve been treated?

Treatment for an STD is not a cure, nor a vaccine. Once you get an STD and treat it, you can always stand a chance of being reinfected with every new partner, especially if you don’t practice safe sex. While there are some vaccines available, such as for HPV, other diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea can always return even after treatment. 

Testing Help Stops the Spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Our review of online STD test sites determined that STDCheck.com was the finest overall choice for accuracy, discretion, and thoroughness. The advantages of no paperwork and no appointment, along with the 10-panel test made the company stand out. 

Runners up like PersonaLabs and MyLABBox also scored well for their fast results and at-home testing options. Online STD testing is the most effective way to protect yourself and others from the very real threat of sexually transmitted diseases. Get peace of mind without going out of your way and always practice safe sex!

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