How does a home STI test work?
Home STI tests don't require going to a sexual health clinic for routine screening and testing.
The market for home-based diagnostic tests is rapidly expanding. These tests allow you to screen yourself for infections at home and avoid unnecessary visits to the local sexual health clinic. Such test kits are also developed for the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
What are sexually transmitted infections?
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are transferred from one person to another through sexual contact. An STI becomes a sexually transmitted disease (STD) if the clinical signs of the disease become apparent. The common STIs are;
Human papillomavirus (causing genital warts)
The causes, signs and symptoms, treatment options and control strategies are mentioned in a book published by the National Library of Medicine. Regardless of these issues, you must identify and detect these diseases at home for timely treatment.
These diseases cause pain during sex, bleeding, discharges, sores, ulcers, itching, abdominal pain etc. They can also cause relationship issues as they can be transferred to your partner during sexual intercourse.
What are the benefits of home testing for STIs?
For the diagnosis and treatment of STIs, usually you can go to the clinic and get tested by a pathologist. However, this process may not be so appealing for some due to privacy concerns. Home-based tests provide a good alternative as they allow you to get a basic screening easily.
Moreover, these tests are also very useful for routine screening in the absence of signs, as treatment becomes very cumbersome once the disease has firmly established itself. Consequently, a wide range of home testing kits is offered for STIs. These test kits can be purchased online, or go to your nearest clinic for guidance.
However, some questions about these kits are often asked, e.g., how do these kits work? How accurate are they? What are the important points related to these kits? Let me summarise key information about these kits.
What types of home STI testing kits are available?
It is a home-based test that allows you to detect an STI and report to your doctor if you are positive. A variety of these kits are available for people who may not have any signs and symptoms of the disease but want a routine checkup within the privacy of their homes. For this purpose, two types of kits are available.
These kits allow you to collect samples at home. You will dispatch these samples to the laboratory and receive results at your home after a few days. Some laboratories also share the results through online portals for better privacy, and some even provide consultation services to their clients.
Home testing kits
These kits allow you to perform an easy test at home and get results by yourself. This article mostly deals with the second category, which you can test by yourself. However, a lab-based option is also described for your understanding.
Welzo, All in One STI Test Kit, is one such kit that allows you to test for the 6 most common STIs at home through a single blood test. Click here to order your kit.
How does a home STI test work?
The process is fairly simple. All you need to do is to follow strict hygiene protocols and the instructions provided in the user manual. These kits are designed to detect the causative agents of the disease, bacterial/viral antigens or antibodies. With minor differences, the procedure is the same for most of the tests. Let me explain the whole mechanism of the process.
The sample collection
You will order your test kit through Welzo.com after answering some questions. After this, you need to collect samples. The most common samples used for STI testing are;
Your urine contains many biological markers produced in the body and tells much about your inner health. Due to the proximity of the urinary system to the reproductive organs, many of the germs responsible for STIs, their antigens or the antibodies also appear in the urine and provide an easy diagnostic option.
You will need to pee inside the urine cup and seal the cup after collecting the sample.
Blood in the blood vessels is used for almost all samples and testing. The lancet, a sharp, pointed needle, punches a hole in your fingertip to collect the blood. This blood is placed on a blood spot card (if you are going for home testing) or injected into a blood sample tube (if you need to dispatch it to the laboratory). For more information and our comprehensive guide to blood tests, click here.
A clean cotton swab is inserted into the genitals, anus or throat (depending upon the instructions in the user manual of the testing kit). After collecting the sample, you need to place it in a sterile place to avoid contamination and ship it back to the laboratory. These swabs will contain some of your body fluids having the detectable biomarker of a sexually transmitted infection.
Often, only a single vaginal swab is enough, but some tests may require you to take more than one sample.
The testing procedure and the working principle depend on the kits you use. Let's discuss the working of common STI test kits available in the local and international markets.
Besides these products, our Sexual Health Tests page has a lot of home testing kits available for you and allows you to consult our sexual health professionals. Click here to visit the page.
What are the benefits of home testing kits?
These kits come with various benefits. Some of them are;
The test results provided by these kits are as secure and reliable as other, more expensive lab tests. The providers must also protect your personal information according to the law (data protection act, 2018).
Your busy routine may not allow you to visit labs and clinics at the cost of hours of travel. These tests prevent this need and don't require you to get an appointment with a doctor or leave your home. Even with the kits that require lab testing, you will submit your samples, and the results will be shared online with you or your healthcare provider.
Their ability to provide results from home adds extra protection to your privacy.
With traditional lab testing, you will need to pay for an appointment with the doctor or the pathologist. Some home-based kits are customized to your needs and you don't need to spend extra money from your pocket.
A variety of home testing kits for STIs are available in the market. These kits detect the presence of causative agents, their antigens or antibodies, or the other biomarkers in the body fluids, e.g., urine, blood, and vaginal and rectal secretions. The mechanisms of action of some of the common kits in the market are explained.
However, keep in mind that these kits should be used only for screening purposes, and the doctor's job is to interpret the results and provide necessary treatment.
At Welzo, we have various treatment options for genital warts and other STIs. Click here to visit our page and consult our experts. Our sexual health services page contains many individual tests for common STIs which you can order by visiting the page.
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