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The best at-home STD tests use CLIA-certified labs and can identify many STIs, including chlamydia and HIV. Companies such as Everlywell, LetsGetChecked, and Nurx offer convenient and discreet testing services.
- Best overall: LetsGetChecked Standard 5 | Skip to review
- Best subscription service: Everlywell Syphilis Test | Skip to review
- Best for insurance coverage: Nurx STI Testing | Skip to review
- Best for comprehensive testing: myLAB Box Total Box | Skip to review
- Best HIV STI test: OraQuick In-Home HIV Test | Skip to review
Bonus: in-lab STD test
Below, we look at five of the best STI tests people can order and complete at home.
Disclaimer: All the services tested below were tried by Medical News Today and Healthline editors, who received test kits for free. All opinions are their own.
Telehealth options make it possible for a person to work directly with some labs to get an in-lab STD test. With an in-lab test STD test, a person knows their sample will be collected by a health professional and they have ready access to professional medical advice. However, in-lab STD tests also mean a person has to schedule a test, travel to the lab, and have less privacy.
Medical News Today’s methodology
MNT chooses at-home tests that meet the following criteria:
- Laboratories: Where possible, MNT will choose companies that process test samples in
- Budget: MNT chooses at-home tests that are suitable for a wide range of budgets.
- Privacy: MNT includes companies that offer robust and transparent privacy measures, such as data protection and discreet packaging.
- Test result speed: MNT selects companies that inform customers when they will receive their test results and whether they will receive them via email, app, or phone.
- Further support: MNTwill indicate whether a company offers further support, such as a follow-up phone consultation with a doctor to discuss test results.
The table below compares the STI test kit brands listed above. The prices listed in this table are for one-time purchases without insurance.
Some advantages and disadvantages of at-home STI tests, compared with lab tests, include:
- They offer greater privacy.
- They provide speedy results turnarounds and convenience.
- They can come in discreet packaging.
- They can test for multiple STIs.
- People can test regularly with STI test subscriptions.
- People can get prescription medication sent to their homes.
- People can get medical consultations included in their purchase.
- There can be potential delays in sending and receiving samples.
- Medical consultations may only be available to those with positive results.
- Some people may find results difficult to interpret.
- There may be a delay in getting treatment.
- People may not feel comfortable doing a test themselves.
- There is a risk of errors during sample collection.
- They can be expensive for those without insurance.
After receiving their test kit from an online provider, people can take the STI test with all the company’s tools. This may include needles or lancets, swabs, collection tubes, alcohol wipes, bandaids, and a prepaid envelope.
An individual might need to take a blood or urine sample or a rectal, oral, or vaginal swab, depending on the STI test. They can then return their sample to a testing center through the mail.
Typically, companies will ask people to take and return their samples on the same day.
The company will then test the sample — usually at a CLIA-certified lab — and send a person’s results through a secure online portal. People can then discuss their results with the company’s medical team or a healthcare professional.
People should not make health decisions based on the results of an at-home test without first consulting a doctor.
The accuracy of these tests may depend on the sample collection method, how quickly a person ships their sample back, and the lab that tests the sample.
However, not all online testing companies have received CLIA certification. Therefore, a person should look for this certification when buying tests to verify their accuracy and quality.
Healthcare insurance providers, including Medicare and Medicaid, typically cover some or all of the cost of STI testing. However, there are several places where a person may receive free or low cost STI screening.
Planned Parenthood is no longer eligible for federal funding through the Title X program. The organization can only offer free or low cost STI testing if it receives funding from the location state. Due to this, a person must call or otherwise contact their local center to check whether it offers affordable testing.
Community clinics and city health centers
A person’s local community clinic or city health center may offer free or low cost STI testing. These clinics may provide a mix of walk-ins or appointments.
Additionally, the CDC offers a database where people can find centers that offer free or low cost STI testing and vaccinations. People can search via their ZIP code or state.
Student health centers
Student health centers may offer low cost STI screening for students enrolled in local colleges.
A person can find their student health center through their college website or by contacting their college unions.
LGBTQ+ community centers
People who consider themselves part of the LGBTQIA+ community may prefer to visit an LGBTQIA+ community center.
These centers may be able to provide people with information on where to find low cost healthcare with an LGBTQIA+-friendly healthcare professional.
The CDC mentions that STI tests may benefit people with an
- sexually active people
- those who do not use barrier methods of birth control, such as condoms
- pregnant people
The CDC also states that taking an STI test during pregnancy may help prevent complications.
It is important to note that STIs do not always cause symptoms. However, people may wish to take a test if they experience:
- genital rash
- abdominal pain
- itchiness and redness around the genital area
- unusual discharge
- sores or warts in the genital area
Individuals may wish to take a test if they believe they have had exposure to an STI.
Some people may prefer to get tests done in person. This may be a more suitable option for people who do not feel comfortable collecting a sample themselves. Others may not want to have an STI test sent to their home.
Below, we list some of the best in-person STI testing options.
- QuestDirect: This company may be best suited to pregnant people, as it offers a pregnancy STI test that can identify seven STIs. Results are available within 2–5 days, and follow-up care and medication are available.
- STDCheck: This company also sells panel tests. People can choose from a 9- or 10-panel test. It also provides an early HIV detection test, which can detect HIV 11 days after exposure. People can get their results within 2 days, and follow-up consultations are available.
Some people may feel nervous talking about their STI results and may not know which questions to ask. Below are some examples that may help people discuss with a healthcare professional about their results.
- Will the STI have any short- or long-term effects on my body?
- Are there ways of managing any side effects of the STI?
- Is there any treatment for the STI?
- Do I need to take any medication, and how long must I take it if I do?
- Does the medication cause any side effects?
- How long will I have to wait before I can have sex without transmitting the infection?
- How do I reduce my risk of contracting an infection in the future?
- Are any local centers or organizations providing free or low-cost condoms?
Yes, many companies offer STI testing at home.
At-home testing often requires collecting a urine sample or a vaginal, rectal, or throat swab. People must then send these samples to the lab the company uses. Individuals will typically receive their results within 2 weeks of sending off their samples.
The Preventive Services Task Force states that at-home testing is highly accurate for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not state how accurate self-testing is, it recommends healthcare professionals use at-home HIV tests as an additional strategy to encourage testing among gay and bisexual males.
While self-testing is accurate, people need to be aware that there is always the risk of collecting a sample incorrectly, leading to a potentially inaccurate result. If a person receives a result they do not understand or were not expecting, they can contact a healthcare professional for further advice.
If a person believes they have an STI, they should contact a doctor or clinic to arrange testing or purchase an at-home test kit.
Some clinics and organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, offer free or low cost testing.
Insurance covers most STI testing, but it is always worth checking with the insurance company before making an appointment. Many companies that offer at-home testing do not accept insurance.
Different STI testing will require different samples. However, people will typically need to collect a urine sample or a throat, rectal, or vaginal swab. Then, the samples will go to a lab where technicians will test for signs of STIs.
People will often receive their results within a couple of weeks. If a person goes through a clinic or doctor’s office for testing, they will receive a prescription for medication if they receive a positive result.
Most companies offering at-home testing do not provide prescriptions with a positive result.
A full-panel STI test screens for the most common STIs. Generally, these will look for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis B and C, and HIV.
Some full panels may test for other STIs, such as trichomoniasis, herpes, and Gardnerella. However, these are likely to be more expensive.
Free or heavily discounted STI testing may be available in the U.S. People can search the CDC database to find free tests nearby.
Certain foundations and nonprofit organizations also provide free testing. For example, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation offers this in over 28 locations nationwide.
Learn more about where to get free or low cost STI testing here.
If a person gets a positive result from an STI test, the next step is to receive medical advice. A doctor can suggest a treatment plan to alleviate symptoms and prevent the infection from passing to others.
A healthcare professional can also guide any other sexual health concerns and describe ways of reducing the risk of getting or passing on STIs.
This depends on the testing company’s security and privacy measures, including HIPAA compliance. Some use internet encryption and discreet packaging and destroy samples and data after the test is complete and the person has seen their results.
An STI test can easily link back to a person through their DNA, so using a reputable service that protects personal information and healthcare data is crucial.
An at-home STI test may suit people needing convenient, discreet STI testing. Various companies offer test bundles, consultations, and retests, and the results are generally available within a few days.
Follow the company’s instructions carefully to increase the likelihood of an accurate result.