At-Home STI Tests to Help You Protect and Address Your Sexual Health

At-Home STI test kits should be accurate and affordable. See below for our recommendations.

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Untreated STIs, or sexually transmitted infections, can become STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), which can cause long-term complications to fertility and overall health. As of 2018, around 20% of adults in the United States had an STI or STD. Early detection can help save lives, but some people might feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask their doctor about STI tests. When seeking out ways to check your sexual health, an at-home test can be a convenient option. 

With many at-home STI tests, you can easily collect oral fluid, blood, and other samples. These samples then get sent to a lab for analysis. At-home tests deliver discreet, prompt lab results. But each person is unique, so you should consider your priorities as you weigh your options. For example, do you prefer to take one comprehensive test that covers many different STIs? Do you plan to take an individual test, or would you rather find a program that tests you and your sexual partner(s) at the same time? Looking for the most accurate and affordable at-home STI test can be overwhelming and stressful. We chose this list of STI at-home tests based on research of over 50 products and with the help of a subject matter expert. The range of categories will hopefully point you towards one that suits your needs. 

8 At-Home STD Tests of 2023

At-Home STI Tests to Help You Protect and Address Your Sexual Health
At-Home STI Tests to Help You Protect and Address Your Sexual Health

Most Comprehensive : Next Medical



Key Specs
  • Cost: $129-$319 depending on test and insurance coverage
  • Time to Receive Results: One to two days
  • Tests Available: HIV (types 1 and 2), herpes 1 and 2, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, mycoplasma, trichomoniasis, ureaplasma 
Why We Chose It

Next Medical is one of the few companies that provides users with the choice of going to a partner lab or arranging a same-day home visit from a medical professional. Its STD Complete Test is one of the most comprehensive full-panel STI tests of those we reviewed.

Pros & Cons
  • Choose between going to a lab or arranging a home visit

  • Retesting provided to confirm positive test results

  • Insurance accepted; itemized receipt provided

  • Covers a comprehensive array of STDs and STIs

  • Home visits might be limited or delayed in rural areas

  • Basic test is more expensive than comparable services

  • Patients cannot express nursing preferences or needs until after purchase


Next Medical is an all-around great option for its comprehensive panels, its affordability, and its option for home visits.

You can choose between three different kits depending on how many viral and bacterial conditions you want to test for. The most affordable option is the STD Basic Test costs $129, and assesses for UTIs, herpes 1 and 2, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. The mid-tier product is the STD Standard Test costs $139 and has additional testing for trichomoniasis, HIV, and syphilis. Next Medical’s premium choice is the STD Complete Test, for an out-of-pocket cost of $199. This test builds on the STD Standard Test with Hepatitis B and C, mycoplasma, and ureaplasma.

What really sets Next Medical apart from the competition, though, is its home visit feature. When you purchase a test online, you can request to have a trained nurse come to your home to collect your blood or urine sample. An at-home collection option might be ideal for someone who is not comfortable collecting a sample on their own but who also prefers to avoid visiting a laboratory. This more professional collection may also help reduce user error. The price for this service might vary depending on your insurance coverage, and out-of-pocket costs aren’t clearly noted on the website. There is an automatic "lab fee" starting at $70 for the basic test, if you are paying without insurance; however, it’s unclear if this fee completely covers a home visit. 

All of your test results will be sent to your digital Next Medical account. If you test positive, you’ll have the option to retest to confirm the results. You also have the ability to chat online with or call health specialists to discuss your results. 

Unlike some companies on this list, Next Medical accepts insurance or out-of-pocket payments. You can save up to $70 on the STD Basic Test off the test’s out-of-pocket $199 fee when you pay with a qualifying insurance plan. These insurance options help make Next Medical’s impressive, comprehensive tests more accessible. Even if Next Medical is out of your network, the company still includes cost-saving measures such as medication discounts, unlimited chat messaging with health specialists, and health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) eligibility. 

For Fast Results : LetsGetChecked

Let’s Get Checked

Let’s Get Checked

Use promo code HEALTH25 to receive 25% off your order.

Key Specs
  • Cost: $99 to $249
  • Time to Receive Results: Two to five days 
  • Tests Available: Chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, syphilis, trichomoniasis, gardnerella, mycoplasma, ureaplasma
Why We Chose It

Let’sGetChecked has accelerated and streamlined the process of at-home STI testing. With a powerful iOS and Android app, users have 24/7 access to their lab reports and reproductive health trackers, can track their samples in the mail, and can set up virtual medical appointments.

Pros & Cons
  • App consolidates and stores all of your tracking, lab results, and virtual appointment details 

  • Three different testing options

  • Affordable virtual consultations with healthcare provider if a test result comes back positive 

  • Less comprehensive than competitor companies that use blood samples

  • Follow-up consultations and medications are not included in the initial kit cost

  • Inconclusive results possible if user doesn't collect enough blood to be properly analyzed


LetsGetChecked offers fast and on-demand access to more features than just lab results, thanks to its intuitive app that’s available on iOS and Android. Not only can you access your results via the app, but you can also track your sexual health over time if you decide to test more regularly. You can even sync the app with a wearable health tracker, like a Fitbit, if you want to track more of your health metrics in one place. 

LetsGetChecked has simplified the testing process by featuring “how to” videos on its website and app. These demos can help users save time because they can follow along, step-by-step, when they collect their samples at home. The most detailed (and expensive at $249) panel includes eight bacterial and viral conditions: chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, syphilis, trichomoniasis, gardnerella, mycoplasma, and ureaplasma. You can access your password-protected portal to view the results of your test or to schedule virtual consultations to discuss your test results with a health professional. The app also provides round-the-clock access to your previous results, package tracking so you aren’t left wondering when your sample will arrive at the lab, and fact sheets created by clinicians. 

LetsGetChecked could be a great option for people who cannot easily travel to a local testing lab and for people who want to gauge their risk for some of the most common STIs. However, it does not provide the most comprehensive testing options of the companies we surveyed. 

Most Affordable : Nurx



Key Specs
  • Cost: $44.50 with insurance 
  • Time to Receive Results: Within seven business days 
  • Tests Available: HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, hepatitis C
Why We Chose It

Nurx is one of the few at-home STI testing companies that accepts insurance, providing a strong service at a reasonable cost for people with insurance. Customers can send unlimited messages to the Nurx medical team for a year to discuss test results and general sexual health questions, all for one $15 consultation fee.

Pros & Cons
  • Insurance is accepted

  • Unlimited messaging with licensed providers

  • Prescriptions available when needed

  • Some customers might not feel comfortable collecting samples on their own

  • Less comprehensive results than some competitors 

  • Copays or deductibles may result in unexpected charges 


Nurx sets itself apart from other at-home STI testing companies because it’s one of the few that accepts insurance plans. Nurx offers affordable, responsive telehealth consultations that cost less than medical appointments with other competing companies. Since its founding in 2015, Nurx has served around a million patients.

Customers can choose between three STI testing options at Nurx, all of which cost $44.50 with insurance: Full Control Kit, Basics Covered Kit, and Healthy V Kit. Customers will receive a package and instructions to collect several kinds of samples that may include the following: urine sample, throat swab, vaginal swab, rectal swab, and a finger prick blood card. The Full Control Kit can test for five different STIs: HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and hepatitis C. The Basics Covered Kit tests for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis so it's a helpful option for people who want to check themselves for some common STIs. The Healthy V Kit tests for five conditions that are likely to impact uterine health, vaginal health, or fertility. You package up and mail out these samples to the Nurx testing lab, and then you’ll receive your results on the digital platform in about a week. 

While many of Nurx’s competitors offer medical consultations to patients who test positive for an STI, Nurx provides all patients who pay the initial $15 consultation fee—whether or not they test positive—free access to an entire year of unlimited chat messaging with a medical professional. Patients can discuss any questions or concerns they might have about sexual health outside of their specific test results. 

One challenge with Nurx’s collection model is that customers might not feel comfortable collecting their own rectal, vaginal, or throat swabs at home. For patients who prefer to have a trained professional take these samples in a medical lab, a testing company like HealthLabs might be a better option. 

For Lab Support : HealthLabs 

Key Specs
  • Cost: $99-$349 depending on the test
  • Time to Receive Results: One to three business days
  • Tests Available: HIV (types 1 and 2), oral herpes, genital herpes, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea 
Why We Chose It

Overall, HealthLabs is a reliable, fast, and affordable choice for people who want to get a broad snapshot of their sexual health, and prefer going to a lab to have bloodwork done. HealthLabs stands out for its partnership with 4,500 medical labs across the United States.

Pros & Cons
  • Easy to find a medical lab in your area 

  • Helpful information on the website about when to get tested after exposure 

  • Satisfaction guarantee and price-match guarantee 

  • Price disparities on the website

  • Website unclear on how health educators are trained or what kind of medical information these specialists are qualified to provide


While some may prefer to take a blood sample in the privacy of their home, visiting a lab has several benefits. At-home tests use tiny amounts of blood, such as from a finger prick. If a patient does not collect enough blood from a finger prick, the lab might not be able to give a conclusive result. In this situation, a customer may have to pay to take the test again and spend additional, stressful days waiting for their new test result. 

HealthLabs has provided lab testing since 2015. Its STI tests include several options. At $99, the most affordable option is a urine test that checks for two of the most common STIs: chlamydia and gonorrhea. At $349, the company’s most comprehensive test covers 11 STIs and offers early detection for HIV. 

Most customers will need to visit a lab to have their specimen collected, but HealthLabs has over 4,500 partnered labs across the U.S. so there will likely be one close to you. Patients can visit one of these testing sites, where a medical professional will collect blood or urine samples. You’ll make an online account on HealthLab’s website when you purchase your test, and you’ll receive the results of your test on that same account. You can print out those results to share with your doctor. You can also discuss positive test results with a specialist over a phone call or chat on HealthLab’s secure website. 

The “at-home” component of this company means that when the patient orders their HealthLabs test online, that patient can then simply walk into a partner lab without having a doctor’s appointment. The patient can avoid awkward medical screenings or health questions because HealthLabs prescribes the type of sample (blood, urine, etc.) that a patient needs before the patient goes in for their visit. 

This company impressed us with its convenience, high accuracy rates, and satisfaction guarantees. HealthLabs promises to match competitors’ prices and guarantees that customers won't have to pay for shipping or other hidden fees. 

For Couples : myLAB Box



Key Specs
  • Cost: $79-$399 depending on the test
  • Time to Receive Results: One to five days
  • Tests Available: Individual and couples' kits that test for chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, HIV (types 1 and 2), herpes 2, syphilis, trichomoniasis, mycoplasma genitalium, bacterial vaginosis, and yeast infections 
Why We Chose It

MyLAB Box makes the process of specimen collection easier by providing at-home kits for sexual partners to take together. These combo kits provide couples with comprehensive test results and sex ed resources at the same time, in the same place. 

Pros & Cons
  • Accepts FSA and HSA cards for payment 

  • Samples can be conveniently taken at home 

  • Free doctor consultation for patients who test positive

  • Wide variety of kits for individuals and couples

  • Some tests cannot be sent to certain states

  • Claim that finger pricks and vaginal swabs are “100% pain-free” might not be accurate for all

  • Inconclusive results possible if user doesn't collect enough blood to be properly analyzed

  • Exact timeline for receiving results is unclear 


Couples may want to take an STI test together if they want to stop using condoms, if they have an open relationship, or if they’re just becoming exclusive. MyLAB Box is a leading brand for at-home STI tests for couples: iIts Love Box offers two comprehensive, full-panel STI test kits that each test for eight common STIs including HIV, hepatitis C, herpes 2, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis, and costs $378. The tests can be purchased for two people with uteruses, two people with testicles, or one with a uterus and one with testicles.

Individuals can choose from a variety of tests, too, including one of the most comprehensive options on the market: The Total Box for $369. This box tests for 14 conditions, some of which are rarely included in home kits: HPV; chlamydia and gonorrhea in the rectum, genitals, and throat; and more. 

Many competitors sell individual testing kits, so myLAB Box is a refreshing alternative that can help partners save time and money. While partners can take the test together at the same time, each person will need their own myLAB Box online account to receive their test results. After each person registers their test on their own myLAB Box account, they will receive their individual results on their profile. 

Collecting your own urine, vaginal or rectal swabs, or blood might be an intimidating process. Fortunately, myLAB Box reassures patients that the process is quick, easy, and (mostly) painless; it provides all of the needed supplies, as well as comprehensive instructions. After following them and adding your samples to the correct vials and collection pads, all you need to do is seal your samples in myLAB Box’s hygienic packaging, add the prepaid shipping label, and send the test to a CLIA-certified lab (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments), a facility vetted by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services before it can accept or process blood, urine, or swab samples. 

The company’s main drawback is the unclear messaging on its website. For example, across different web pages, the website contradicts itself about exactly when patients can expect results. While different tests may require different processing times, it can be tricky to figure out just how long your expected processing time is for your specific test. Patients might weigh this potential con against the company’s variety of testing kits and positive customer reviews. 

Most User-Friendly : Everlywell



Key Specs
  • Cost: $49-$169 depending on the test
  • Time to Receive Results: Three to five days
  • Tests Available: Chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis, trichomoniasis
Why We Chose It 

Everlywell seamlessly connects users to doctors, and it provides a range of customizable subscription plans. Each Everlywell STI test is assessed by a certified physician, who helps break down the results into an easy-to-understand digital report. Patients can consult with medical professionals to ask about their test results, discuss treatment options, pre-arrange future STI tests, and (if needed) receive prescription medications. 

Pros & Cons
  • Free medical consultations with board-certified physicians 

  • Accepts HSA/FSA payments

  • Subscription plans allow customers to sign up for future tests at discounted prices

  • Digital results and personal data are protected and encrypted 

  • Tests are advertised for men and women, which may exclude transgender and nonbinary customers

  • Comprehensive tests cover fewer STIs than some competitors 

  • Inconclusive results possible if user doesn't collect enough blood to be properly analyzed


Since its founding in 2015, the Texas-based company has made at-home testing as easy as possible. Everlywell offers subscription programs that automatically send customers STI tests in discreet packaging monthly, quarterly, and semi-annually, depending on the plan you sign up for. The most affordable test is an HPV test at $49, and the comprehensive panel (which includes HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and hepatitis C) is priced at $169. If you purchase this comprehensive panel with a subscription plan, you’ll pay $126 per monthly test; $135 per quarterly test; or $143 if you plan to take the test semi-annually. 

Everlywell provides clear instructions with each test kit to guide customers through every step of collecting a swab, urine, and/or blood prick test. Under each product listing, Everlywell also includes a labeled photograph of the materials and supplies that will come with your test. These photographs may help customers feel more at ease about collecting their sample since they know right away what supplies will come in their testing kit. 

Everlywell is a great option for customers who want to make sure that their STI tests are vetted by medical professionals. Before you receive your results, Everlywell sends your test to an independent physician. Everlywell provides your results in your patient portal via a digital account you create when you purchase your kit. Patients can also schedule consultations and follow-up appointments there to learn more about their specific test results. You’ll also be matched with a physician who is board-certified in your state, and that physician can prescribe medications you might need and discuss regional or local health resources as well. 

For Herpes Testing : iDNA



Key Specs
  • Cost: $78 for Herpes 2 kit; $298 for Complete test; $24.99-$49.99 for optional monthly subscription plans
  • Time to Receive Results: Two to seven days
  • Tests Available: Herpes 2, HPV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, syphilis, HIV (types 1 and 2), hepatitis C, mycoplasma, ureaplasma
Why We Chose It 

iDNA impressed us with its clear descriptions of herpes 1 vs. herpes 2 symptoms on its website, as well as its three different tests that test for herpes 2. Unlike some other companies, iDNA offers a subscription plan that provides monthly tests of your choice and access to virtual health consultations. 

Pros & Cons
  • Company claims a 99.9% accuracy rate

  • Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back

  • Membership plans and bundle options allow customers to order multiple tests at a discounted rate 

  • Gender-neutral packaging and labels

  • Website is text-heavy, which can make it difficult to sort through information in product descriptions

  • Customers have to navigate to the FAQ section to identify what kind of sample they’ll need for different tests

  • Medical consultations require an additional membership fee 

  • Inconclusive results possible if user doesn't collect enough blood to be properly analyzed


Herpes 2 can increase your risk of developing other STIs, such as HIV. As such, you might want to regularly test yourself for it, as well as other STIs, which is why iDNA’s subscription service is so useful. iDNA’s subscription plans are helpful, cost-saving options whether you’re keeping tabs on your sexual health after a herpes 2 diagnosis, or are just beginning to test for herpes in the first place. iDNA has a couple of tests that can help: the Complete Test ($298), which tests for 10 common STIs including herpes 2; the Standard Test ($198), which tests for seven STIs; and the Herpes 2 Kit ($78), which just tests for herpes 2.

You can sign up for a membership that includes one test of your choice per month, discounts on additional tests, and access to virtual consultations with providers, so you’ll not only be able to test often, but can ask a medical professional questions along the way. As such, the iDNA herpes 2 test is a great option for people who suspect that they may have been exposed to herpes but who are not showing symptoms that would warrant an in-person doctor’s visit.

You can opt to buy a test on its own, or you can choose between two different monthly subscription plans: iDNA+ Membership or iDNA+ Telemedicine Membership. If you want to schedule a medical consultation with a clinician in iDNA’s network, you’ll need to have one of these membership plans. For $24.99 a month, you can get one test of your choice for that month; however, a virtual consultation carries an extra fee of $45. The Telemedicine Membership costs $49.99 a month, but it comes with one major perk. You can choose any testing kit OR a doctor’s consultation and no additional fee is required. Both plans offer an extra 25% off any extra iDNA testing kits you purchase. 

iDNA explains that herpes 1 isn’t included in the herpes test because it’s such a common virus and rarely causes dangerous symptoms. Sixty-seven percent of people have herpes 1 worldwide, while just 13% have herpes 2. While herpes 1 often causes cold sores, herpes 2 can emerge as genital herpes. Many cases of herpes 2 are mild, but in some situations, it can cause fertility issues. If you are diagnosed with herpes 2, you may feel overwhelmed. The condition is treatable but not curable, so you may wonder about how herpes could impact your health down the road.

iDNA is HIPAA-compliant and maintains customer privacy by allowing patients to delete their test results from the website at any time. You access your test results on the same digital account that you create when you purchase your kit, but a medical consultation is not automatically included with your test. When you purchase a kit from iDNA, your information is anonymized with a random number rather than your name. All specimens are processed at a CLIA-certified lab. 

For HIV Testing : Personalabs

Persona Labs

Persona Labs

Key Specs
  • Cost: $46-$97 for HIV test
  • Time to Receive Results: One to two days
  • Tests Available: Chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, HPV, syphilis, trichomoniasis, hepatitis B, HIV 
Why We Chose It

Personalabs is relatively affordable compared to similar HIV tests we reviewed, has a quick test processing time, and includes a range of HIV testing options. 

Pros & Cons
  • Rapid processing times of 24 to 48 hours

  • Over 4,000 labs across the country 

  • Additional tests that can help assess immune health

  • Must visit a local lab to have blood sample drawn

  • While counseling is offered for people who have positive test results, it's not clear how much this costs or what it includes


Many comprehensive STI tests include HIV. However, Personalabs provides three different options for HIV-specific testing: a screening test, a $244 HIV-2 DNA/RNA test, and a $227 HIV-1 RNA test. The most affordable of these options is the HIV-I/II Antigen & Antibody 4th Generation screener test, starting at $46 if you go to a LabCorp community lab. This fourth generation test may be able to detect HIV infections four to 12 days sooner than the previous third generation style of test. 

Personalabs is not a completely at-home testing option because patients need to go to a partner lab to get their blood drawn. At one of these local sites, a medical professional will draw your blood for you (often painless and less time-consuming than at-home collection) and send it to Personalabs for analysis. In as little as two days, you will receive an online report with the test results.

While having to visit a lab can be tedious, a medical professional can ensure that the sample remains uncontaminated, which is important to preserve the sample and get the most accurate test possible. These prompt, reliable results can be a lifesaver when patients act as soon as possible to contact their doctor and plan their treatment. 

Final Verdict 

There are lots of options when it comes to STI testing kits. Some companies, such as Personalabs, require patients to visit a local lab to have a medical professional collect their blood or urine samples. However, these companies still provide some privacy and convenience compared to undergoing a physical exam and medical screening at a doctor’s office. Other companies, such as Nurx, provide all of the instructions and supplies that a customer needs to collect their own samples in the comfort of their own home. 

Overall, Next Medical offers the best of both worlds with trained nurses who can come to your home to take samples. Next Medical stood out because it provided retesting to ensure accuracy, fast results in one or two days, comprehensive panels, and insurance-friendly payment options. All of these features made Next Medical the best bang for your buck for at-home STI testing.

Compare At-Home STI Tests

 Company  Cost  Results Time  Tests Available
Next Medical
Most Comprehensive
$99-$319 depending on test and insurance coverage One to two days  HIV (types 1 and 2), herpes 1 and 2, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, mycoplasma, trichomoniasis, ureaplasma
For Fast Results 
$99-$249 depending on test  Two to five days  Chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, syphilis, trichomoniasis, gardnerella, mycoplasma, ureaplasma 
Most Affordable
Starts at $44.50 with insurance  Up to seven days  HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, hepatitis C
For Lab Support
$99-$349 depending on test  One to three days  HIV (types 1 and 2), oral herpes, genital herpes, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea 
For Couples
$79-$399 depending on the test  One to five days  Individual and couples' kits that test for chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, HIV (types 1 and 2), herpes 2, syphilis, trichomoniasis, mycoplasma genitalium, bacterial vaginosis, and yeast infections 
Most User Friendly 
$49-$169 depending on the test  Three to five days  Chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, gonorrhea, HIV, syphilis, trichomoniasis 
iDNA iBOX Herpes 2 Test
For Herpes Testing 
$78 for herpes 2 test Two to seven days  Herpes 2, HPV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, syphilis, HIV (types 1 and 2), hepatitis C, mycoplasma, and ureaplasma 
For HIV Testing
$46-$97 depending on the lab location and specific HIV test  One to two days  Chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, HPV, syphilis, trichomoniasis, hepatitis B, HIV 

Guide to Choosing the Best At-Home STD Test

How Does an At-Home STI Test Work?

At-home STI tests come in different forms. Some testing companies allow you to purchase an STI test online, but then require you to physically go to a lab for a brief visit to have specimens collected. Other companies offer more literal “at-home” testing kits that require you to collect medical samples on your own. For both types of at-home testing, you can review your test results in a digital format or over the phone instead of having to undergo more invasive, time-consuming physical exams and follow-ups at a doctor’s office.

Companies will send you step-by-step instructions along with the collection materials you’ll need. They may send a hygienic, lidded jar to pee into or a swab to gently rub inside your rectum, vagina, or mouth. For some tests, such as for HIV, lab researchers need a small amount of blood to get an accurate result. When you’re required to collect your own blood sample at home, sterile lancets (similar to the kinds used in glucose meters) will be provided in your kit to prick your finger. Blood, urine, and swab samples will pick up biological material like DNA. A lab will be able to use this material to pinpoint the kinds of bacteria, viruses, or fungi that are present in your body. 

How Accurate Are At-Home STI Tests? 

Some companies that sell at-home STI tests claim a 99% accuracy rate. However, the accuracy of an at-home STI test depends on many factors, including how the sample was collected. “Accuracy is essential, and accuracy of at-home tests for STIs is dependent on the collection process,” Shweta Patel, MD, explained to a reporter at UAB Medicine:  “… As a provider, knowing from my practice what is sometimes needed to get an adequate swab sample, I do wonder if people are accomplishing that task at home.” 

The labs that process the specimens are also responsible for ensuring accurate results. Patients should seek out STI tests that are processed at CLIA labs (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments). A CLIA-certified facility is vetted by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services before it can accept or process blood, urine, or swab samples. A CLIA lab must maintain hygienic, organized, and properly processed specimens. Some companies may also share test results with a trained clinician for a final peer review to ensure an extra layer of accuracy. This clinician may be able to catch inconsistencies in the test results before those results are sent to the patient. Some tests are also extensively researched and appear in peer-reviewed journals, such as myLAB Box HIV Test.

To ensure that you receive the most accurate results possible, you might opt for a testing company that requires samples to be collected at local medical labs. However, you can take several steps to get the best at-home sample possible:

  1. Read through the collection instructions multiple times before you take your sample. 
  2. Thoroughly wash your hands.
  3. For a finger-prick blood sample, make sure you are including several drops of blood.
  4. Before conducting a vaginal, rectal, or oral swab, do not use douching products, enemas, or ointments in those parts of your body. These products might result in an inaccurate or inconclusive test result.
  5. When you have your sample, carefully seal it in the biohazard return packaging. 
  6. Send your sample in the mail as soon as possible (preferably on the same day as you collect it). The longer the sample takes to arrive at the lab, the higher the chance that the genetic material on your sample will degrade. 

How to Compare At-Home STI Tests 

Comparing at-home STI tests can be confusing. There are many options on the market, so it can be difficult to know how to compare different tests so you can find the one that’s right for you. Don’t forget—STIs can spread through a variety of sexual interactions, including but not limited to penetrative sex, oral sex, mutual masturbation, or sharing sex toys. Here are some key factors to consider that can help guide you toward the right decision: 

  • Price: When you’re weighing your STI test options, consider all aspects of the pricing. Does the company accept insurance or payment plans? Is a consultation with a doctor included for free (or at a low cost) to discuss your test results? Be aware of hidden fees like shipping charges or copays. If you’re testing with a partner or if you want to regularly purchase at-home tests, you might be able to save money by purchasing bundles or signing up for a subscription plan. 
  • Comprehensive panels: If you’re taking a comprehensive STI test, how many different STIs are included in the panel? Consider which STIs you’re most concerned about, and ensure that you are purchasing a test that includes those conditions. 
  • Data privacy: Search for companies that provide discreet shipping, encrypted user profiles, and the ability to delete your own test results from the website. Make sure that the company you choose is HIPAA-compliant. 
  • Speed of results: Consider how quickly you need your results. In-person lab collection sites often provide faster results than self-collection kits.  
  • Preference of at-home vs. lab collection: Do you feel confident about being able to take blood, urine, or swab samples at home? If you are not sure, you might want to choose to visit a partner lab so a medical professional can collect your samples properly and efficiently. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who Should Consider Taking an At-Home STI Test?

    Some individuals might want to find an easy and convenient way to routinely check their sexual health. Other patients might worry that they’ve been exposed and want a quick, easy, and accurate way to assess their risk of having contracted an STI. In general, you might consider getting a test after you’ve had sex with a new partner or if your sexual partner has also had sex with people other than you. Proactive testing can help provide you with peace of mind and can help you catch any potential infections as early as possible.

  • Why Should I Take an At-Home STI Test?

    Many people who have STIs show no immediate symptoms, and because these cases might go undiagnosed, STIs can quickly spread. While STI tests are an important way to protect your health and that of your sexual partners, some people may not have affordable or accessible STI tests in their area. Some patients might avoid asking their primary doctor for a test because they worry that their doctor might judge them. Other people might not know which tests to pick. Fortunately, at-home testing kits are relatively easy to use and often provide quick results so you can maintain and address your sexual health as soon as possible. 

  • When Should I Test for STIs After Exposure?

    Here's a rundown of when you should test for some of the most common STIs circulating today:

    • HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies: One to three months after potential exposure 
    • Herpes type 2: Four to six weeks after potential exposure
    • Chlamydia: One to five days after potential exposure
    • Gonorrhea: Two to six days after potential exposure
    • Hepatitis A: Two to seven weeks after potential exposure 
    • Hepatitis B: Four to six weeks after potential exposure 
    • Hepatitis C: Four to 10 weeks after potential exposure
    • Syphilis: Three to six weeks after potential exposure
  • What Are the First Signs of Having an STI?

    Symptoms can show up on different parts of your body depending on where and how you might have been exposed to the STI. For example, your mouth or throat might develop blisters and become inflamed if you contracted an STI during oral sex. If you are concerned about any of your symptoms, seek prompt medical attention.
    In general, here are some early warning signs:

    • A burning sensation when you urinate 
    • Skin irritation (bumps, rash, flaky patches)
    • Fluid leaking from the penis 
    • Discharge that is a different texture, smell, color, or consistency than your usual vaginal discharge 
    • Vaginal bleeding outside of your period
    • Anal bleeding or pain 
    • Fever 
    • Pain when you have sex 
  • What’s the Longest It Can Take an STI to Show Up?

    Even if you’re not experiencing symptoms, you might have an STI that you could spread to another person. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are sometimes called “silent infections” since people may not even realize they have been infected. Both of these illnesses may present mild symptoms that a patient might shrug off. But when left untreated, these conditions can lead to infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, and scarred tissue

    People with vaginas are particularly at risk for having a “silent infection,” in part because a person with a vagina might misattribute symptoms such as itching or discharge to a yeast infection or UTI while a patient who has a penis might notice skin rashes and irregularities far sooner. Different conditions have different incubation periods. With many STIs, such as syphilis, it can take several weeks before a patient starts showing symptoms.


We researched 60 at-home testing kits from different companies to come up with the list above. We first assessed factors like price and insurance coverage or payment plan options; hidden fees like shipping charges or copays; password-protected, encrypted websites that keep patients’ data secure; test accuracy; variety of STIs covered in comprehensive tests; ease of collecting a sample at home vs. going in person to a local lab; and the anticipated time to receive results. After completing this initial assessment to narrow down our choices for the best at-home testing companies, we then added in additional considerations such as if a company charges extra for consultations with board-certified physicians or if a company uses inclusive gender-neutral language. 

Self screening STD smear test

Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

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