STD Screening at Home – What You Need to Know

It’s not always comfortable to talk about sex. Unfortunately, it’s even more uncomfortable to talk about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However embarrassing, they are more common than you think, and if you are tested sooner rather than later, you will receive the treatment that you need and minimize your chances of developing complications.

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Maybe you’ve heard a friend say that it’s possible to get screened for STIs from the comfort of your own home. But is it true? The answer is yes and no. For HIV / AIDs, you can use an over the counter, home testing kit. In other instances, you will need to see a doctor or visit a lab. Don’t let this discourage you – everything will still be private and confidential, and you’ll get your results fast.

Are These Things FDA Approved?

All we can say here is be careful! Yes, there are std home tests that are approved by the FDA, or Food and Drug Administration. However, there have also been cases of kits that were not approved by the FDA, including a few high profile ones. So, if you are unsure, ask!

How Does It Work?

You will receive a kit with instructions on what to do. The first step is to provide a sample of your urine or a swab of your genitals, which you will then mail off to a lab. In the case of OraQuick, a home std test that screens for HIV, you do not need to mail anything to a lab. You will only need to take a swab of your cheek, and you’ll have an answer within 40 minutes.

What About Reliability?

There are more false positives compared to conventional testing. In other words, the kit may indicate that you are infected when in fact you have not contracted anything. This means that even after a positive result, you will still need to consult with a doctor.

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What Are the Most Common STDs?

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is an infection that’s caused by the Neisseria gonorrhea bacteria. Almost half of infected women will not experience symptoms, while nearly all men who have gonorrhea do. The most common symptom is painful urination, followed by a yellow genital discharge. Antibiotics can cure gonorrhea, so make sure that you get tested, diagnosed, and treated as soon as possible. No need to let it hang around only to see complications develop.

Chlamydia

For a long time, Chlamydia was the most common STI among sexually active individuals. Unlike with gonorrhea, many men who are infected show no symptoms and do not get properly diagnosed. Many women who contract chlamydia experience discharge from the vagina, which is usually clear and similar to mucous. It can also be cured with antibiotics.

Herpes

Herpes is caused by a virus, and unlike the previous two STDs, it can be treated but not cured. The most common symptom is painful sores where sexual contact occurred, typically the genitals, anus, or mouth.

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