As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout the United States, many people are being forced to put their non-pressing healthcare needs on hold.
In places like New York and California, where governors have issued state-wide lockdowns, this looks like annual physicals, dentist appointments, women’s wellness check-ups, and really, any appointments that are not life-threatening, to be put on pause—or, at most, done virtually.
But what about testing for sexually transmitted infections, which amount to nearly one million new cases contracted every day, and can, in some cases, cause very painful symptoms?
If you were experiencing STI symptoms pre-pandemic, you had options: primary care doctors, testing centers like Planned Parenthood, gynecology offices, etc. But now, with the influx of patients and reduced staffing, it may be harder than ever to get an appointment when you need it most.
Luckily, there are still options for you—ones that don’t even require you leave the comfort of your home: at-home STI/STD testing kits. And yes, they’re just as accurate as your doctor’s office would be (since most of them use the same lab services, anyway).
Best for: Helpful consultation.
How it works: You request a specific test from their website (they offer a whole slew of tests, including herpes and syphilis, as well as comprehensive tests for couples) and then once you’ve provided the sample, you send it back to the 100 percent lab-certified CLIA High Complexity lab in a pre-paid protective package. Then, two to eight days later, you can review your results by logging into your profile online.
What they test: Their most popular STI kit, the Uber Box, tests for herpes, HIV, hepatitis C, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis—and it’ll put you out $269. They also offer other STI bundle boxes (ranging from $189-$369) and individual STI tests starting at $79.
Added Benefit: MyLab Box offers same-day free phone consultations with their affiliated physician network and STI experts to provide guidance and treatment options in the event that you test positive. Buy Here
Best for: Accessibility.
How does it work: Order one of the tests at their website (you can also pick one up at Target or CVS stores nationwide). Depending on the test, you may need to provide one or two of the following samples: a dried blood spot, a urine sample, or a vaginal swab. Once you mail back your sample, you should receive results within five days. Customers who test positive for an STI will be contacted by EverlyWell’s independent physician network, who can offer a free consultation with a doctor, a prescription, or a treatment.
What they test: EverlyWell’s STI test checks for chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, herpes, HIV, syphilis, and trichomoniasis for $199. Single STI tests are also available for $69.
Added Benefit: They also offer tests for your general wellness (think thyroid, your metabolism, Vitamin D levels, etc.) to monitor all facets of your health. Buy Here
Best for: Your wallet.
How does it work: The iDNA test works just like the tests from EverlyWell and myLabBox. You order a specific testing kit from their website, and then you follow the instructions for the required sample. A few days after you’ve sent off the sample, you can see your results online. The main difference is that iDNA only provides lab results. You’ll need to consult with a doctor afterward should your test come back positive.
What they test: The Complete Test Kit—their most popular offering—screens for chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, HIV, syphilis, herpes, and hepatitis C, at a price tag of $198. For one specific STI test, you’ll probably pay between $68-$98, depending on the test.
Added Benefit: iDNA offers one free re-test after a positive result (plus shipping and handling).
Let’s Get Checked
Best for: Urgency.
How does it work: They promise that the kit of your choice will arrive at your house the day after you order it online. Which is fast! Then you collect your sample, and return it using the prepaid shipping label. The nice thing is that the LetsGetChecked clinical team will give you a call when your results are ready (which should be within 2-5 days) so that they can walk you through everything and prescribe antibiotics if needed. After that, your results will be released into a secure online account and can be accessed at any time and/or shared with your primary care provider.
What they test: Opt for their most popular Standard 5 Kit, which tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, syphilis, and trichomoniasis for $179. Other bundles are available for purchase and will cost you between $99-$299.
Added Benefit: The price includes delivery, analysis, follow-up, and if required, the prescription for a positive STI test, too. Buy Here
Best for: Feeling like a doctor’s office without being a doctor’s office.
How does it work: You have the option to call them directly at 877-721-2679 and speak with a Sexual Health Advocate, or you can visit their website. The Sexual Health Advocate will evaluate your symptoms, and if they believe you have been exposed to anything besides chlamydia or gonorrhea of the throat and/or rectum, they’ll set you up with the recommended test at your local Quest Diagnostics the very same day. If they think that you need to be tested for chlamydia and/or gonorrhea, a specimen box will be discreetly sent to your home. After you collect the specimen (as in, swab the infected area), you’ll take your sample to your local Quest Diagnostics to get quality testing and accurate results. (Okay, fine, this method does require you to leave your home.) A Patient Liaison will follow up with you within 1-3 business days and if the test comes back positive, they’ll provide a treatment plan and a prescription.
What they test: The at-home specimen box tests for gonorrhea and chlamydia for $189, but you’ll still have to physically drop it off at a Quest Diagnostics Lab. For all other STI tests, they’ll set you up with an appointment at a Quest Diagnostics Lab so you can provide a blood or urine sample with a starting price of $99.
Added benefit: They’ll take care of connecting you to a nearby Quest Diagnostics Lab, which has over 2,000 patient locations in most major metropolitan areas.