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There are several low cost STI tests a person can use at home. Additionally, certain local organizations may offer free or low cost testing.
- Best for ongoing medical support: Nurx | from $44.50 | Skip to Review
- Best for the lowest price: Everlywell | from $69 | Skip to Review
- Best for free prescriptions: LetsGetChecked | from $99 | Skip to Review
- Best for a selection of STI tests: MyLabBox | from $59 | Skip to Review
- Best for lab sample collection: PrioritySTD | from $59 | Skip to Review
- Best for fast results: STDcheck | from $24 | Skip to Review
STIs are common. In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that
This article discusses what home STI testing is, how often a person should test, and where a person can go to find free or low cost STI testing.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
Some organizations may offer free or low cost STI tests.
According to Planned Parenthood, health insurance, Medicaid, and other government assistance programs can provide free STI testing. Additionally, some Planned Parenthood centers offer free or low cost testing depending on a person’s income.
Additionally, the CDC’s Get Tested tool provides a database of places that offer free or low cost STI testing, including screens for HIV and hepatitis. People can enter their state, city, or ZIP code to find local centers.
Home STI testing is similar to the testing a person receives in a doctor’s office or healthcare clinic. These tests screen for the presence of infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.
To perform a test, a person collects their sample, usually a urine, blood, or swab sample, and then sends it to a lab. Testing at home may be more convenient and private than testing in a clinic, and some companies offer care and advice if a person receives a positive test result.
While there may be some loss of accuracy when taking a home test, if a person follows the instructions on the test kit carefully, home test results are generally reliable. The
Learn more about the best at-home STI tests.
Testing for STIs is important to prevent transmitting an infection to sexual partners.
Not all STIs have symptoms. It is important for people to test regularly to ensure that they and their sexual partners receive any treatment necessary to protect their health.
Pregnant people who have an STI can
Everyone should receive testing if they believe they are at risk of contracting an STI or showing symptoms of an STI.
Symptoms may include an unusual color, odorous discharge, or urinating pain. However, people can have STIs without having symptoms.
People should receive testing if a sexual partner discloses that they have an infection. STI testing is more accurate after the infection is in the detection period.
Some populations should receive regular testing to minimize the risk of complications. We outline these groups in greater detail below.
Learn more about STI testing.
The following table describes how long after exposure STI tests generally start yielding reliable results:
|Hepatitis B||3–6 weeks|
|Hepatitis C||6 months|
|HPV||3 weeks to several months|
|HIV (mouth swab)||3 months|
|HIV (blood test)||6 weeks|
How often should you test?
|What to test for||How often to test|
|People aged 13–64 years||HIV||at least once|
|People who are pregnant||• HIV|
• hepatitis B
• hepatitis C
|Males who have sex with males||• chlamydia|
• hepatitis C
• every 3–6 months, if they have several partners
• annually for hepatitis C, if they have HIV
|Sexually active females under 25 years||• gonorrhea|
|Sexually active females over 25 years||• gonorrhea|
|annually, if they have multiple partners or a partner with an STI|
|People who inject drugs||HIV||annually|
While each company may have slightly different instructions, home STI tests generally require:
- collecting samples, which may involve a finger prick blood test, genital swab, or urine collection
- placing the samples in a prepaid envelope and sending them off to a lab
- waiting several days for the test results
Companies will provide detailed instructions on how to collect a sample correctly. If a person finds it difficult to perform a finger prick test, they may wish to ask a friend or family member for help.
Some companies will also offer follow-up care and advice if a person receives a positive test result.
Types of results
Usually, home tests will return one of the following results:
- Positive or detected: This means the lab has detected the presence of an STI in a person’s sample.
- Negative or not detected: This means the test has not detected the presence of an STI.
- Indeterminate: This may mean a person has not collected a sample correctly. People should contact the company for more advice if they receive this result.
How long do results take?
The time it takes a company to return results depends on the type of test a person takes and the company that offers it.
However, people can typically expect home STI test results around a week after the lab receives their samples.
Medical News Today’s methodology
Medical News Today chooses at-home tests that meet the following criteria:
- Laboratories: Where possible, MNT will choose companies that process test samples in
CLIA-certifiedlabs. This means they follow state and federal regulations.
- Budget: MNT chooses at-home tests that suit 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 of when they will receive their test results and whether they will receive them via email, app, or phone.
- Further support: MNT will indicate whether a company offers further support, such as a follow-up phone consultation with a doctor to discuss test results.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Below are some lower-cost home STI tests available to purchase online.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
The following table compares the home STI tests in this article.
|Nurx||$29.50 with insurance|
|discrete||7 business days||offers ongoing medical support||expensive without insurance|
|MyLabBox||$59–$399||discrete||2–5 days||offers a range of STI tests||full panels more expensive than other options|
|$99–$249||discrete||2–5 days||offers free prescriptions||free prescriptions not available in all states|
|Everlywell||$69–$169||discrete||2–5 days||accepts FSA and HSA payments||does not accept insurance|
|STDcheck||$24–$259||none||1–2 days||provides doctor consultation with a positive result||requires visiting testing centers|
|PrioritySTD||$59–$198||none||1–3 days||features more accurate sample collection||not as convenient as taking a sample at home|
Some several organizations and locations may offer free or low cost STI testing:
- Planned Parenthood health centers: Planned Parenthood may offer lower-cost testing for lower-income people. Learn more here.
- Community health centers: Community health centers may offer lower-cost testing for lower-income people. Learn more here.
- Healthcare professionals: Most doctors offer STI testing. This may be an affordable option if their insurance covers the cost of the tests and any potential treatment.
- Student centers: Student centers at colleges may offer low cost STI testing. People should view their college’s website for more information.
- Local health departments: A person’s local health department may be able to offer information about where to find low cost STI testing near a person’s home.
People should consider contacting a healthcare professional or using an at-home STI test if they have sex without a barrier method, such as a condom, with someone who may have an STI. They should also contact a doctor if they experience any symptoms of an STI.
Here we answer some common questions about STI testing.
Where can I get tested for STDs for free?
People may get free STI testing at Planned Parenthood clinics, college or university health centers, and mobile clinics.
Are at-home STI tests as accurate as testing at the doctor’s office?
If a person believes their test result is incorrect, they may wish to contact a healthcare professional for another test.
What are the signs of an STI?
Some STIs do not have any symptoms. However, if a person experiences any of the following symptoms, they should receive testing:
- unusual discharge from the penis or vagina
- bumps or sores around the genitals, buttocks, and thighs
- inflammation, swelling, pain, or itching around the genitals
Can you do STI tests yourself?
Yes, people can perform STI tests on themselves. Several companies offer at-home test kits with detailed instructions.
At-home STI testing is a convenient and private way to screen for these infections. Several companies offer lower-cost STI testing online.
People can also use local resources to find free or low cost testing. Planned Parenthood, local community centers, and student centers may offer subsidized testing for lower-income people.