What to Know About At-Home
STD Testing

At-home STD testing is exactly what it sounds like; a test is sent to your home or preferred location with everything you need to collect a sample that is sent directly to a lab for testing. The type of sample you need to collect will depend on the specific sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) you are testing for. Most commonly, tests will require a urine or blood sample, although some may request a vaginal, anal, or oral swab. Be sure to follow the provided instructions very carefully to ensure you take your sample accurately and avoid any contamination that may compromise the accuracy of your results.

Once your sample is collected, you will need to send it back for professional lab testing. Return instructions will be provided for you and will differ depending on the testing company you choose. In any case, the labs used for at-home testing are comparable to those that are used when you visit your doctor’s office, so you can rest assured that your test is professionally analyzed.

The prices listed on each company website show out-of-pocket costs for each STD test. However, some can be covered by insurance, making it affordable and convenient.

One important piece to note when choosing an at-home STD test is that there is more potential for user error, potentially giving you incorrect results. You will also need to know what STD you need to test for, so if you are unsure of what you may have been exposed to, it’s possible you may need to purchase multiple tests. Also, because there is no doctor referral for these tests, you are responsible for contacting a physician as soon as possible for follow-up treatment if necessary.

At-Home STD Testing FAQs

As long as your sample is collected and preserved correctly, these are processed by certified laboratories, meaning results from an at-home test are comparable to those you would receive from a physician’s office.

Test prices will vary depending on the company you choose and the STDs you are testing for and can range from $50 to $500.

While there are minimal actions you need to take before testing, there are a few things to note. If your test requires a urine sample, refrain from using the restroom for two hours prior to testing. If a vaginal swab is needed, do not use any douching products or vaginal creams within 24 hours before testing. If you are on your period, its recommended to wait at least 2 days after it has ended before testing as certain samples may be contaminated by the blood. Be sure to follow all step-by-step instructions provided by the testing company for the most accurate results.

Each company will have its own results window, but in general, once the lab has received your sample, results will be shared with you 24 – 72 hours after processing. This turnaround time does not take into account how long it takes to ship your sample back to the lab. This will also depend on the type of sample taken and the type of STD being tested for.

Contact your physician right away for an appointment. Treatment for STDs will be more effective when started early. You will also need to contact all sexual partners so they may be tested, as well, to help stop any further spread.

In many states, the minimum age for ordering an at-home STD test is 18, but some allow individuals 14 years and older to order. You may need to verify your age with the at-home testing company you are ordering from prior to requesting one. If you are under the required age, contact your physician or local public health facility.

This will depend on what STD you may have been exposed to or what you are testing for. Some STDs will show up on test results within a few days, others may take a few weeks, and some, like HIV, may not show up until around three months after. If you test too soon, you may receive a false negative, in which case, another test will be needed after a few weeks for verification.

No! Many STDs can be present without exhibiting any symptoms until the disease becomes more advanced, making it more difficult to treat and potentially causing other health concerns. If you know you’ve been exposed, or simply think you may have been exposed, you should get tested as soon as possible.