At-Home STD Testing Review

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STD Testing Review

Concerned that you may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or are you wanting to test for peace of mind? 

Do you want to test for an STD in the privacy of your own home?

For those of is in the quantified self, direct access healthcare community, we are constantly looking for the most cost effective, actionable applications in the home based testing world to evaluate symptoms that can be treated by a healthcare provider. 

With so many home based testing methods on the market today, how to we know which is best to suit our unique needs?

For those interested in home based STD testing, understanding the need, symptoms and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases can be confusing and overwhelming. Understanding your risks and potential symptoms is important in determining which test would best suit your needs if you are interested in self-testing versus having tests performed through your physician’s office. 

Best At-Home Sexually Transmitted Test Review

We are here to help you better understand your body and your options so we’ve reviewed three of our favorite fertility testing companies for you! Keep reading for valuable information…


Research Table of Contents

• Why STD Testing
• Overview of common STD's
• EverlyWell Women's Fertility Test Review
• LetsGetChecked Female Hormone Test Review
• ZRT Laboratory Fertility Profile Test Review

Researcher:  Lori Smith

Date:  October 15, 2018

 Why STD testing?

Home based STD testing may be a viable option for men and women seeking insight into the status of their sexual health if they have either been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease, are at a high risk for contracting an STD or simply want to know their status.  

Sexually transmitted diseases, or STD’s, present with a wide variety of symptoms. In fact, some symptoms may be confused for varying STD’s and some people may not be symptomatic at all. 

Sexually transmitted diseases briefly covered within this review/article include:

·      HIV - human immunodeficiency virus

·      Hepatitis C (HCV)

·      Herpes - herpes simplex virus

·      Gonorrhea

·      Chlamydia

·      Trichomoniasis (“Trich”)

·      Human papillomavirus (HPV) 

·      Syphilis

 

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Explained

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) 

Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is an incurable virus that can be contracted by sexual activity, as well as through transmission of bodily fluids from an infected person. Once a person contracts HIV, the body begins to attack its own cells, including CD4 or T-cells which help the body stay free of infections. If left untreated, those infected with HIV can develop acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). 

Symptoms of HIV may vary by person and in some cases, those with HIV are not symptomatic. Some symptoms of an early HIV infection in those infected within 2 to 4 weeks include:

  • Flu-like symptoms

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Rash

  • Night sweats

  • Muscle aching

  • Sore throat

  • Fatigue

  • Lymph node swelling

  • Oral ulcers

For many the treatment of HIV includes the use of prescription antiretroviral therapy (ART). If left untreated, the disease can progress to AIDS, causing symptoms such as:

  • Rapid weight loss

  • Fever

  • Severe night sweats

  • Extreme fatigue

  • Chronic lymph node enlargement specifically in the underarms, groin or neck

  • Persistent diarrhea

  • Anal, oral or genital sores

  • Pneumonia

  • Skin rashes, including in the mouth, nose or eyelids

  • Changes in memory

  • Depression

  • Neurologic problems

 

Hepatitis C

When the liver is infected with the hepatitis C virus, a person can be infected with a short or long term viral infection. Those with an acute hepatitis C infection are noted to have been infected with the virus within 6 months and can lead to the more chronic, life-long form of the infection which affects 75-85% of those infected with an acute infection. If left untreated, an acute infection with the hepatitis c virus can lead to a lifelong and potentially serious liver infection which can lead to several health problems. For 15-25% of those infected with hepatitis C, a lifelong infection does not occur despite not receiving treatment. 

Hepatitis C is spread through sexual contact with an infected person, as well as other risky behaviors including needle sharing, needlestick injuries, birth to an infected mother, sharing razors/toothbrushes and/or getting a tattoo or body piercing in a setting not following industry regulations.

When a person is exposed to the hepatitis C virus, symptoms may develop within the first 2 o 12 weeks, although there may not be any reported symptoms in some individuals. Symptoms of hepatitis c may include:

  • Fever

  • Depression

  • Fatigue

  • Dark urine

  • Bowel movements that are clay-colored

  • Abdominal pain

  • Appetite changes (loss)

  • Nausea/vomiting 

  • Joint pain

  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)

  • Liver disease or cirrhosis 

Depending on the stage of hepatitis c a person has (acute vs chronic), treatment may or may not be recommended. 

 

Herpes Simplex (HSV)

Genital herpes can be caused by viral infections with the HSV-1 and/or HSV-2 virus. Although HSV-1 is typically the cause of oral herpes (cold sores), it can be spread to the genitals during oral sex. Many people are unaware that they are infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2 and do not have symptoms. This does not mean however that they won’t spread the virus which can be spread through sexual contact, saliva, contact with a herpetic skin lesion/sore even when there are no outbreaks or symptoms. 

Although not everyone develops symptoms of herpes, some may develop:

  • Oral, genital or rectal sore(s) or blister(s)

  • Flu-like symptoms

  • Body aching 

  • Enlarged, swollen glands

There is no cure for herpes, however antiviral medications may be helpful. 


Gonorrhea

The sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea, is a genital, rectal and oral infection that affects men and women, transmitted through having unprotected sexual intercourse, including oral, vaginal and rectal sex. If contracted during pregnancy or if a woman has an infection while she is pregnant, the infection can be passed to the baby during birth and potentially cause serious health problems for the infant. 

While many men and women do not have symptoms of gonorrhea, some may experience:

  • Burning with urination (men and women)

  • Vaginal discharge or bleeding between periods (women)

  • Discharge from the penis in men (white, yellow or green) 

  • Painful/swollen testicles (men)

  • Rectal discharge, anal itching, rectal pain, bleeding or painful bowel movements in men or women with a rectal infection

Gonorrhea can lead to serious health problems if left untreated or not properly treated including pelvic inflammatory disease or PID in women. In men, it can lead to a painful condition called epididymitis, an infection in the tube that sits behind the testicles. 


Chlamydia

Like gonorrhea, the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia, is a genital, rectal and oral infection that affects men and women, transmitted through having unprotected sexual intercourse, including oral, vaginal and rectal sex. Chlamydia is a disease that can be passed to a newborn during delivery if a mother is infected. 

While many men and women do not have symptoms of chlamydia, some may experience:

  • Painful, burning with urination (men and women)

  • Vaginal discharge (women)

  • Penis discharge (men)

  • Testicle swelling/enlargement (men)

  • Rectal pain, discharge or bleeding with an infection of the rectum (men and women)

Untreated chlamydia can lead to serious health problems, including an increased risk for contracting HIV, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women and epididymitis in men. 


Trichomoniasis

Caused by an infection with the parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis, trichomoniasis, is a sexually transmitted disease which affects the vulva, vagina, cervix or urethra in women and the urethra in men. Having an infection with trichomoniasis during pregnancy may increase a woman’s risk for pre-term delivery or for having a low birthweight baby. 

Symptoms may occur in the first 5-28 days following infection, although many people do not show symptoms of Trichomoniasis which may include:

  • Penile itching or irritation (men)

  • Burning with urination or ejaculation (men)

  • Penile discharge (men)

  • Genital redness, burning, itching or soreness (women)

  • Pain with urination (women)

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge (green, yellow, clear or white) with a fishy odor

Treatment with a prescription medication is needed to cure the infection. 

 

Human papillomavirus (HPV) 

Human papillomavirus or HPV is an extremely common sexually transmitted virus, in which any sexually active person is at risk for contracting through vaginal, oral or anal sex. While most often the body clears the virus on its own, in some cases HPV can lead to genital warts and increase the risk for developing cervical and/or head and neck cancers.  

Most people are unaware that they have HPV, unless they have been tested- specifically when a woman has a Pap Smear and is tested for certain strains of HPV as appropriate. 

Symptoms of genital warts may include genital bumps and can be treated by a healthcare provider. 


Syphilis

Syphilis is a bacterial infection caused by Treponema pallidum, commonly spread through sexual activity through contact with an infected sore called a chancre. In some cases, syphilis can be spread during skin-to-skin or mucous membrane contact with a chancre or during pregnancy/childbirth (congenital).  

Syphilis has several stages of infection including primary, secondary, latent and tertiary; the infection has been reported to maintain a dormant status for many years, including decades. Symptoms of syphilis depend on the stage of the disease and may include things like:

  • A painless genital, rectal or mouth sore

  • Truncal rash that spreads to the entire body including the palms of the hands and soles of the feet

  • Warts/sores in the mouth or genitals 

  • Hair loss

  • Muscle aching

  • Fever 

  • Sore throat

  • Enlarged/swollen lymph nodes

The latest stage of syphilis, referred to as tertiary syphilis, can lead to significant medical problems including brain, nerve, eye, heart, blood vessel, liver, bone and joint damage. In children with congenital syphilis, a rash may be present, however more severe complications include deafness, tooth and nasal deformities. 

Speak with your healthcare provider to see if home based STD testing is right for you, how they can help to best interpret your results and prescribe any necessary treatments.

Best At Home Sexually Transmitted Test Review

We’ve reviewed our top 3 pics for home based STD testing so making your decision is easier based on your unique testing and follow-up needs.

 Lets Get Checked

Lets Get Checked

 EverlyWell

EverlyWell

 My Lab Box

My Lab Box


LetsGetChecked Home STD Testing

Price: $99 -$299

Collection: Blood and/or urine

Screening Options:

  • Simple 2: Chlamydia & Gonorrhea

  • Basic 3: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Trichomoniasis

  • Standard 5: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV, Syphilis and Trichomoniasis

  • Complete 10: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomoniasis, Gardnerella, Mycoplasma, Ureaplasma, Herpes Simplex I, Herpes Simplex II, HIV and Syphilis

Turn Around Time: 5 business days

Results: Online patient portal

Lets Get Checked STD Test Kits are an ideal home-based STD testing method for men, women and their partners wanting to confidentially and conveniently screen for infection or exposure to a variety of sexually transmitted diseases. Lets Get Checked provides:

  • App to activate kit

  • Online chat which is 24 hours hour and very responsive

  • Email support

  • Phone support: 24 hour

  • Instructional videos

  •  Major payment methods accepted including PayPal, Visa, MC, Discover, American Express, Diners Club and JCB

Counseling or Physician Referrals: Results are reviewed by medical professionals which include genetic counselors, specialists and registered nurses. LetsGetChecked offer a call from a registered nurse to talk about abnormal (positive) results to offer support and potential treatment options and offer scheduling of specialist consultations in private clinics.

Restrictions: Available only in US/EU and Canada.

PROS

Panels are ideal for those wanting a choice in which sexually transmitted diseases to test for in the privacy of their own home.

CONS

Complete panel is pricey but comprehensive

BOTTTOMS LINE

The LetsGetChecked STD panels are ideal for those wanting a choice in which sexually transmitted diseases to test for in the privacy of their own home.


EverlyWell Sexual Health Test Review

Price: $69 -$199

Collection: Blood and spot urine (male)

Blood and vaginal swab (female)

Screening Options:

  • Male/Female 7 Sexually Transmitted Infections: Chlamydia, Hepatitis C, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Herpes Type 2 (HSV Type 2), HIV (1&2), Trichomoniasis

  • Stand-alone Tests For: Chlamydia & Gonorrhea, Hepatitis C, HIV, Syphilis or Trichomoniasis Tests

Turn Around Time: 5 business days

Results: Online patient portal

The EverlyWell Sexual Health Tests is a popular option for home-based STD testing. EverlyWell offers separate panels for men and women and offer a variety of patient support services including:

  • Instructional videos

  • Itemized receipt for HSA/FSA reimbursements avaialble upon request and accept HAS/FSA payment

  • Online chat Monday-Friday from 9 am to 5 pm CST hours and very responsive

  • Email support available Sunday-Friday

  • Phone support Monday-Friday from 9 am to 5 pm CST

  • Accepts all major CC payments

  • Results reviewed by physician- no follow up available. Recommended to present results to patients own healthcare provider.

  • Easy testing method with video instruction, great customer service, quick results turn around.

  • Testing only available certain US states and not abroad.

  • No app.

PROS:

Easy testing method with video instruction, great customer service, quick results turn around, Accept HSA/FSA payments.

Cost Effective Stand-alone tests.

CONS:

Testing only available certain US states and not abroad.

No app.

BOTTOM LINE:

The EverlyWell Male and Female STD testing is an ideal home-based sexually transmitted disease method for those wanting to evaluate for sexually transmitted diseases in the privacy of their own homes.


MyLabBox At-Home STD Tests Review

Price: $179 -$369

Collection: Blood, urine, genital, oral and/or anal swab

Screening Options:

  • Safe Box: Chlamydia & Gonorrhea

  • Uber Box: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Trichomoniasis

  • Total Box: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV, Syphilis and Trichomoniasis

  • Stand-alone tests for: Chlamydia & Gonorrhea, Trichomoniasis, Mycoplasma Genitalium, Herpes Simplex II HEP C, HIV and Syphilis

Turn Around Time: 5-11 days

Results: Online patient portal

My Lab Box was one of the first companies to design an at-home STD sexually transmitted testing program. Each test can be completed in less than 5 minutes and the company offers the following patient support services including FREE physician consultations: · Chat and email available 8:00AM EST - 2:00AM EST hours

· Phone hours 8:00AM EST - 4:00PM EST

· Free physician consultations (pending state by state regulations)

· Prescriptions available (pending state by state regulations)

· WN Health-authorized STD counselor consultations available

· FSA payments accepted

Physician consultation and prescriptions available based on state by state regulations. STD counselor consultations available.

 

PROS

Very comprehensive testing methods with a lot of educational materials discussing disease symptoms, offer physician and counselor consultations, prescriptions and work with FSA payments.

Ship to all US states

CONS

Fairly expensive

No international testing availability- US only

BOTTOM LINE

The MyLab STD testing panel for both men and women are extremely comprehensive and offer physician and counselor consultations, as well as prescription treatment for positive results. They additionally offer several other disease specific testing methods for a lower cost. The tests through this company are ideal for someone wanting to obtain comprehensive results and treatment for positive findings from the privacy of their own home.


References:

About HIV/AIDS. (2018, July 23). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/whatishiv.html

Chlamydia - CDC Fact Sheet. (2017, October 4) Retrieved fromhttps://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/stdfact-chlamydia.htm

Davis, CP. Epididymitis (Testicle Infection Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment). (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.emedicinehealth.com/testicle_infection_epididymitis/article_em.htm#what_is_epididymitis_testicle_infection

Genital Herpes - CDC Fact Sheet. (2017, September 1). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes.htm

Genital HPV Infection - Fact Sheet. (2017, November 16). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm

Gonorrhea - CDC Fact Sheet. (2017, October 4). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/std/gonorrhea/stdfact-gonorrhea.htm

Hepatitis C Questions and Answers for the Public. (2018, June 12). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/cfaq.htm

HPV and Head & Neck Cancer. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/kimmel_cancer_center/centers/head_neck/HPV/index.html

Mayo Clinic Staff. Syphilis. (2018, January 10).  Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/syphilis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351756

Symptoms of HIV. (2017, May 15). Retrieved from https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/about-hiv-and-aids/symptoms-of-hiv

Trichomoniasis - CDC Fact Sheet (2017, July 14). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/STDFact-Trichomoniasis.htm