Our Top Picks for At-Home Herpes Tests to Help You Address Your Sexual Health

The herpes simplex virus is incredibly common—here are some ways you can test for it at home.

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The herpes simplex virus is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI)—as many as 572,000 new genital herpes (herpes 2) infections occur in the United States each year, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Herpes 1 is oral herpes, which often manifests as cold sores, and it’s estimated that as many as 80% of American adults have it. Those numbers may actually be low, as people don’t always get tested and some cases are asymptomatic. What’s more, unfortunately, there is still a stigma associated with STIs, and some people may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about getting tested for them. 

At-home herpes tests, however, provide a comfortable way to test yourself in the privacy of your home. Typically these types of tests require you to use a lancet to collect a blood sample which you’ll then send to a lab to be analyzed, and you get results on a secure digital platform within a few days to a week. While these tests can’t officially diagnose you, they can give you valuable information about your health. If you get a positive test result for any STI, you should always follow up with a doctor’s visit. A significant part of managing herpes is practicing safe sex and understanding when to disclose your status to potential partners. 

To help you find reliable at-home herpes tests, we compared over 30 at-home testing companies, collected data from researchers, and spoke with a subject matter expert with over 10 years of experience as a medical practitioner. Here are our picks for at-home herpes test options.

7 Top Picks for At-Home Herpes Test of 2023

Words Matter

While this article occasionally uses the term "sexually transmitted disease" (STD), we recognize that the most accurate, up-to-date term to describe what these at-home kits test for is "sexually transmitted infection" or STI. An STD is a more lasting disease that can result from an STI, so a test would be looking to detect the infection rather than the potential disease the infection causes. That said, since the companies on this list still use the term STD, we have included it so as to help with search and so that our descriptions align with how the brands describe their products.

Our Top Picks for At-Home Herpes Tests to Help You Address Your Sexual Health
Our Top Picks for At-Home Herpes Tests to Help You Address Your Sexual Health

Most Comprehensive : Personalabs Comprehensive STD Blood Test

Personalabs logo


Key Specs
  • Cost: $251 at Quest, $230 at Labcorp
  • Medical Consultation Required: No, but you can speak with a physician
  • Accepts Insurance: No, HSA eligible
Why We Chose It 

Personalabs Comprehensive STD Blood Test is a convenient way to be tested for six common STIs: HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, herpes, chlamydia and gonorrhea. When done at Quest labs, the test screens for both herpes 1 and herpes 2—testing for both is uncommon among the tests we reviewed.

Pros & Cons
  • Tests for six common STIs

  • Results in as little as 24 hours

  • Questlab tests for herpes 1 and 2

  • Medical consultations and treatment not available everywhere

  • Labcorp will not test for herpes 1

  • Need to go to lab for blood draw


Personalabs Comprehensive STD Blood Test screens for six common STIs: in addition to herpes 1 and 2, you’ll be tested for HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. It also offers a virtual consultation should your results come back positive, as well as prescription medication, should you need it.

You’ll create an account on the company's website, then select the tests you’d like and pay online. The fee varies by test and the lab you choose, and covers the lab test, doctor’s order, lab visit, and Personalabs medical director’s review of your results. 

After you pay the fee ($251 at Quest and $230 at Labcorp; you can use health spending account, or HSA, funds), the site will generate a lab order which you’ll need to print to take with you to the lab. A physician from Personalabs’ network will approve your order within a few hours. Then, you can visit the lab at your convenience; no appointment is required (though making an appointment can decrease wait time). After your blood draw, your results will be sent within 24 to 48 hours to your Personalabs’ patient portal. The company is HIPAA-compliant, so results cannot be given over the phone.

Should anything come back positive or you have further questions, Personalabs offers a 15-minute virtual consultation with a licensed medical practitioner for an added fee of $89. In 32 states and Washington D.C., they can also prescribe medication. In addition, if you have any other, non-medical questions, there is a customer service team available 24/7 via live chat or over the phone from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. If you only wish to test for herpes 2, Personalabs also has a Genital Herpes Test for $55 at Quest; if you have a positive result, you’ll receive STI counseling and a prescription to a pharmacy of your choice for treatment, free of charge (though you or your insurance will need to pay for the medication).

For Subscription : iDNA Complete Test

iDNA logo


Key Specs
  • Cost: $298, membership options available
  • Medical Consultation Required?  No, though you are eligible for a doctor consult if you test positive
  • Accepts Insurance? No, HSA/FSA eligible 
Why We Chose It

The iDNA Complete Test tests for 10 different STIs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and herpes 2. It also has a useful subscription service available which allows members to receive a test of their choosing each month for $25. 

Pros & Cons
  • Tests for ten STIs with 99.9% accuracy, according to iDNA

  • Can receive a refund within 30 days if you’re not a member

  • Membership option gives you one test per month for $25

  • Comparatively expensive

  • Must be 18 or older to order

  • Not a lot of information about test specifics before buying


People with genital herpes are at an increased risk of contracting HIV, so it is wise to test for both. It’s also recommended to get tested for STIs if you are experiencing any symptoms or two to three weeks after you’ve been exposed, with repeated testing in three months, especially since STIs have different incubation periods. Herpes symptoms generally appear about four days after infection with a range of two to 12 days. It’s also important to test if you’ll be having sex with a new partner, as STIs often do not have symptoms. An at-home test with a subscription can help make getting tested regularly much easier (and less expensive), which is where iDNA comes in.

Using just one sample, the iDNA Complete Test screens for 10 of the most common STIs, including herpes 2:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Syphilis
  • Herpes 2
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV I/II
  • HPV
  • Mycoplasma
  • Ureaplasma

The test retails for $298. You can use HSA or flexible spending account (FSA) funds to pay for it, and it will arrive in a discreet package. First, you register your kit on the iDNA website; this is crucial for having your secure results tied to your personal email address. Note that this test screens for herpes 2, not herpes 1. It is quite common to carry antibodies for herpes 1 because it is so prevalent, which is why herpes 1 is not often screened for in tests.

You will need both a urine and blood sample, plus a vaginal swab for people who menstruate. Then, using the prepaid shipping label, you’ll send your sample to the Certificate of Compliance and Certificate of Accreditation (CLIA)-certified lab to be analyzed. This certification means the lab meets certain standards required to process human specimens. Within two to seven days, you’ll receive an email saying your results are ready in your secure iDNA account. Shipping is free both ways, but if you need your test faster, you can opt for express ($50) or priority ($17) shipping at checkout.

iDNA has a $25 monthly membership option if you plan to test regularly. It includes one test of your choice per month or a monthly doctor consultation (most sexual wellness tests include one doctor consultation if you test positive, but other more general iDNA tests such as vitamin D levels, for example, will not include a doctor’s visit). The membership also includes 25% off additional tests, and access to follow-up doctor consults for $45 a session. While you can absolutely share results with your doctor if you test positive and you’re not a member, only iDNA members have the option to purchase a doctor consultation and receive treatment through the iDNA platform. 

For Fast Results : iDNA Herpes Test

iDNA logo


Key Specs
  • Cost: $78
  • Medical Consultation Required? No
  • Accepts Insurance? No, HSA/FSA eligible
Why We Chose It 

The iDNA Herpes Test delivers confidential results in as little as two days. If herpes is the only STI you want to check for, you’ll save money by opting for a herpes-exclusive test like this one—which just screens for herpes 2.

Pros & Cons
  • Results in two to seven days

  • 99.9% claimed accuracy by company

  • No need to schedule a doctor’s appointment or visit a lab

  • Not available to anyone under 18 

  • Expensive for one test

  • Time for results varies 


If you know you’ve been recently exposed to herpes 2 or did an STI panel that did not include this test, it may make sense just to screen for herpes 2. The iDNA herpes test ($78) uses an ELISA (which stands for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) antibody test to detect the presence of antibodies produced by the human body after exposure to the herpes virus. You’ll receive results in as little as two days.  

It’s recommended to test for herpes if you don't have symptoms but you have a partner who has tested positive, or if you’re having unprotected sex regularly. So, it may be beneficial and cost-saving to become a member so you can test repeatedly. The iDNA membership is a monthly fee of $25 and includes one test of your choice per month, plus 25% off additional tests, and doctor consults for $45 a session. 

Results are typically available in two to seven days, which is about average for the tests we surveyed. You will be notified via email as soon as they are available, but results (aka if you are positive or negative) can only be seen by logging into the secure iDNA account. You can delete your results at any time.

For Affordability : STD Check Herpes Test

stdcheck.com logo


Key Specs
  • Cost: $45
  • Medical Consultation Required: Yes
  • Accepts Insurance: No, HSA/FSA eligible
Why We Chose It

At $45, the STD Check Herpes Test is an affordable way to screen for either herpes 1 or 2. Results arrive within two days, and while you must visit a lab for a blood draw, the procedure and your medical information is kept private and secure.

Pros & Cons
  • Results typically available within 48 hours

  • Can make an appointment or walk in to the lab 

  • Affordable, especially when only testing for herpes 

  • Must visit a lab

  • Lab availability may vary in your area


STD Check’s Herpes Tests are not tests you can do fully at home, but they’re an affordable and easy way to get tested for herpes 1 and/or 2 in a local lab. Lab testing has its benefits, as it avoids self-test user error and can be helpful for people who are squeamish about using a lancet on themselves. To begin, visit the STD Check website and input your ZIP code to get a list of testing centers near you; with over 4,500 locations, there’s likely to be one within a few miles, especially if you live in a city.

First, you’ll select the test you want on the website. There’s a 10-panel STD test which tests both herpes 1 and 2 for $139, and the same test plus FDA-approved HIV RNA Early Detection testing for $259. If you only wish to be tested for herpes 2 (genital herpes) or herpes 1 (each costs $45), that’s an option too (or you could test for both herpes 1 and 2 for $90). Then, you’ll choose your testing location, and note how you’d like to be notified when your results are available—you can be texted or emailed, or you can choose not to be notified and instead call yourself, which some may prefer for privacy reasons.  

You’ll pay in the online portal either before or after you get tested, but you’ll never pay at the clinic. After you place your order, you’ll get your lab requisition form (a form that lists your billing and personal information plus the tests you’re requesting). Your test code and the address of the test center you choose will be visible in your account. Bring your lab requisition form and your test code to the testing center. These tests take five minutes or less, typically, and the herpes test is a simple blood draw. You don’t have to make an appointment if you prefer to walk in to the lab testing center, though it is recommended if you want to reduce wait times. Saturday time slots are available for both walk-ins and appointments. 

One of the features that sets STD Check apart is the option to send an anonymous text or email to partners to let them know a sexual partner has tested positive for an STI and they should get checked. You can access that feature here even if you don’t purchase a test through the platform. You’ll also have the option to have a free call with a physician should you test positive. Results are HIPAA-protected and your information will not be noted in your permanent medical file or be sent to your insurance company.

For Ease of Use : LetsGetChecked Herpes Test

LetsGetChecked Thyroid Antibody Test

 LetsGetChecked Thyroid Antibody Test

Key Specs
  • Cost: $119, or subscribe for $83 every three months
  • Medical Consultation Required: No
  • Accepts Insurance: No, FSA/HSA eligible
Why We Chose It 

LetsGetChecked's Herpes Test comes with detailed, clear written instructions so you’ll know exactly how (and when) to collect your sample. For those who are more visual, there is also a video you can watch on the website about what to expect and how to use the test.

Pros & Cons
  • Packaging is plain and discreet

  • Video and written instructions included 

  •  Tests for herpes 1 and 2

  • Test should not be performed over a weekend

  • Comparatively expensive


Using an at-home test with explicit, detailed instructions can help reduce user error—a main cause of false results with these types of tests. LetsGetChecked’s Herpes Test ($119, or $83 with a subscription) tests for both herpes 1 and herpes 2, which is helpful if you suspect you might have both. While herpes I is more common and has fewer adverse side effects than Herpes 2, it can be transmitted without symptoms, so it’s a good idea to know if you have it so you can take steps to avoid transmission.

Register the kit when you are ready to collect your sample and note that it must be sent back on the same day it’s collected, and should not be done on a weekend (in order to avoid shipping delays). The test detects herpes simplex virus antibodies in the blood and is more accurate than a saliva test. You’ll see results in your online patient portal in two to five days.

A caveat: Antibodies typically take anywhere between four and 16 weeks to appear if you have been exposed to herpes, but symptoms can occur within days, so, you may get a false negative the first time. That’s why it’s important to retest regularly for up to or beyond 16 weeks. That’s where the LetsGetChecked subscription service comes in handy—you can get a new test every three months at the reduced cost of $83 (you can cancel anytime). 

The company says it has clinicians on call should you need help throughout the testing process. You may also receive a call from one of its physicians to discuss your results if they appear abnormal, and if your results are positive, you’ll have the option to consult with a physician for an added fee.

For Couples : MyLAB Box Love Box

MyLAB Box logo


Key Specs
  • Cost: $378
  • Medical Consultation Required: No
  • Accepts Insurance: No, FSA/HSA eligible
Why We Chose It 

MyLAB Box Love Box screens two people for the most common STIs using an eight-panel test. There are options available for couples with either the same sex assigned at birth or different sexes. Because each box contains two tests, it’s a good deal that saves money over purchasing each test individually.

Pros & Cons
  • Box can be customized depending on two people’s sexes

  • Free physician consultation available for those with positive results

  • Results are available within two to five days

  • Does not ship to New York

  • Results can take up to five days

  • Sample should not be collected on a weekend 


If you’re in a relationship and decide to start having unprotected sex, or you and your partner (or both) are having unprotected sex outside the relationship, getting tested for herpes will help reduce the risk of infection. It will also help you take proper precautions if one person tests positive and the other does not. MyLAB Box Love Box ($378) tests two people for HIV (1 and 2), hepatitis C, herpes type 2, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. It tests partners of every orientation and sexual organ makeup, so it’s more inclusive than some other couples' STI tests. The kit is essentially two of the brand’s Uber Box packaged together; in addition to the convenience of only needing to order once, you’re also saving $20 when you purchase the Love Box.

Your kit will ship within 24 hours of purchase. You can test any time Monday through Friday (the kit needs to be returned the same day so you shouldn’t test on a non-business day). It requires a blood test for both partners, a urine sample for people with testicles, and a vaginal swab for people who currently (or did) menstruate, so it’s a bit more complex than some of the others on this list. 

You will receive an email with a link to a secure online portal where you’ll find your HIPAA-protected results—each member of the couple receives their own results via their own, private online portal. One of the best things about this couples test is if you or your partner test positive, you’ll have the option to speak to a physician in your state who can offer guidance and prescribe medication when appropriate. This service is free of charge.

For Doctor Consult : myLAB Box At-Home Herpes Test

MyLAB Box logo


Key Specs
  • Cost: $89
  • Medical Consultation Required: No, but you’ll consult with a telemedicine physician if you have a positive result
  • Accepts Insurance: No, FSA/HSA accepted 
Why We Chose It 

This myLAB Box At-Home Herpes Test offers a free physician phone consultation should your herpes test come back positive. This is a helpful feature for anyone, but especially crucial for those who may not have health insurance, and therefore no access to free or low-cost doctor’s visits.

Pros & Cons
  • Free physician consultation

  • Results in two to five days

  • Medication can be prescribed if appropriate

  • Does not ship to New York 

  • More expensive than other herpes tests


With myLAB Box At-Home Herpes Test ($89), you’ll have the option to have a free phone consultation with a doctor if you test positive.

You’ll register your test before collecting your sample. Once you send it back via the provided unmarked packaging and prepaid label, it will be analyzed at a CLIA-certified lab.

You’ll receive lab-certified results in two to five days; once your results are in, you’ll get an email with a link to your secure online portal where you can find your confidential results. A physician reviews the results for all myLAB Box tests before they are sent. All customers who test positive are eligible for a free phone consultation with a myLAB Box physician affiliate. While there is no cure for herpes, if you test positive for chlamydia, gonorrhea, or trich—and depending on your symptoms at the time of consultation—the physician may be able to send a prescription to the pharmacy of your choosing immediately. To request a physician consultation, e-mail customerservice@mylabbox.com with your order number. Then, a brief questionnaire will be e-mailed to you to fill out before scheduling a physician consultation. 

MyLAB Box doesn’t release information to the Medical Information Bureau database, which sometimes happens when insurance is used to cover the cost of a test (which is why it doesn’t accept insurance). So you can be assured your results stay private and your premium will not increase.

Final Verdict

If you’re looking to test for herpes, the most comprehensive test available is Personalabs Comprehensive STD Blood Test. This test checks for the most common STIs, including herpes 1 and 2. You’ll receive secure online results within 24 to 48 hours, which is helpful when you are anxiously awaiting results.  

For couples looking to test for herpes, the myLAB Box Love Box is an excellent option. For $398, you’ll receive two STI panel tests which are customized depending on you and your partner’s sexes assigned at birth. While it’s costly, buying the kit saves money when compared to buying two individual tests. The most affordable option is the STD Check Herpes Test. You’ll have to visit a lab for this, but this test is quick and confidential (all payment is handled online and no one will know why you’re there) and to be tested for herpes 2 costs $45.

Compare the Best At-Home Herpes Tests

 Company  Cost  Medical Consultation Required?  Accepts Insurance?  Free Shipping
Most Comprehensive Personalabs $251 at Quest, $230 at Labcorp  Yes No, HSA eligible N/A
For Subscription iDNA Complete Test $298, membership options available  No  No, FSA/HSA eligible  Yes 
For Fast Results iDNA Herpes Test $78  No  No, FSA/HSA eligible  Yes 
For Affordability STD Check Herpes Test $45  Yes  No, FSA/HSA eligible  N/A 
For Ease of Use LetsGetChecked Herpes Test $119, or subscribe for $83 every three months  No  No, FSA/HSA eligible  Yes 
For Couples myLAB Box Love Box $378  No  No, FSA/HSA eligible  Yes 
For Doctor Consult myLAB Box At-Home Herpes Test $89  No  No, FSA/HSA eligible  Yes 

Guide to Choosing the Best At-Home Herpes Test

When Should You Test Yourself for Herpes?

One of the tricky things about herpes 1 and 2 is that there is a wide window in which symptoms can appear, and you can be positive but remain asymptomatic; in fact, most cases are. So, if you think you’ve been exposed to herpes 1 or herpes 2 but you’re not showing symptoms, it may make sense to wait a few weeks to test (while abstaining from any type of sex or kissing).

“It can take a few months for symptoms of herpes to appear, so it’s important to get tested if you think you may have been exposed,” subject matter expert Lindsay Modglin, who has 10 years of experience as a nurse, told Health. “Getting tested at around three weeks, six weeks, and three months after possible exposure is recommended. If you develop symptoms, such as sores or blisters, you should get tested as soon as possible.”

What Are the Benefits and Downsides of Taking a Herpes Test at Home? 

One of the biggest benefits of taking an at-home herpes test is that people may be more likely to take them because they typically don’t involve going to a doctor’s office. Taking any test more often than not is an important step in slowing the spread of STIs. 

The downside of these tests is that they may not always be as accurate because of user error (which is also why it’s important to read the directions from start to finish before testing). “It’s also important to confirm the lab analyzing the test is certified and reliable,” Modglin said. A CLIA-certified lab ensures that the lab has met the highest laboratory standards required for analyzing bodily fluids, which is important from both an accuracy and safety standpoint. 

How to Compare At-Home Herpes Tests

There are several factors to consider when deciding which at-home herpes test is right for your specific situation.

  • Cost: Herpes tests you can take at home range in price from around $50 for just a herpes test to nearly $400 for a test you and a partner can take together. These tests are not typically covered by insurance (in some cases a positive result drives up the cost of your insurance anyway) so make sure you are comfortable paying out of pocket for or using an FSA/HSA account, since many of the companies we reviewed accept those forms of payment. 
  • Shipping: Many tests on this list ship for free, including return shipping for tests that will be analyzed in a lab. However, if you want expedited shipping, you’ll likely need to pay extra.
  • Accuracy: Look for reputable products that are backed by peer-reviewed studies and have results reviewed by physicians. Remember that user error is a major factor in inaccurate results, so always read the instructions before collecting your sample.
  • Privacy: It’s important that your health information stays confidential and is only shared with a doctor when necessary. All of the companies on this list are HIPAA-compliant and keep your data and your results private and protected.
  • Doctor consult available: If you suspect that you will receive a positive result or you’re unsure and don’t currently have a primary care doctor, you will probably want to seek out a testing service that offers a physician consultation, either included in the price or for an additional fee.
  • Lab certification: Make sure the company you’re considering uses a lab that is CLIA-approved. This certification means the lab meets the highest health and safety standards which are required to process human specimens.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Does an At-Home Herpes Test Work?

    At-home herpes tests require a small blood sample, which is then sent to a lab to be analyzed. Full-panel STI tests may also ask for a urine sample, rectal swab, and/or vaginal swab. Unlike some at-home tests, you will not receive immediate results that you can read yourself; instead, you’ll have to wait a few days for your results to be processed in a lab.

    If you choose to visit a doctor after receiving a positive result from an at-home test, your doctor may take a sample or swab a sore to confirm a herpes diagnosis. “Culture tests require a swab of an open blister from the infected area. This sample is then shipped to a lab for analysis,” Modglin said, adding that a blood test measures antibodies which are produced by the body in response to herpes infection.

  • What Types of Tests Can You Take to Determine a Herpes Diagnosis?

    At-home tests that screen for herpes almost always require a blood test. When these tests are analyzed, lab technicians will look for antibodies that indicate you have been exposed to the virus. It’s important to note that antibodies do not show up immediately, so you may be infected but receive a negative result if you test too early after being infected.

  • Are At-Home Herpes Tests Discreet and Accurate?

    At-home herpes tests are very discreet because, in most cases, you will not need to visit a lab or see a doctor in person for the test. While most of these tests claim to be extremely accurate and are processed in the same labs used by hospitals and medical centers, user error is always a concern with at-home tests. That’s why it’s so important to read the directions and reach out to customer service or an on-call physician or nurse with any questions.

  • How Fast Can You Get Your Results With an At-Home Herpes Test?

    Tests for herpes require a blood test that must be processed in a lab, so you will not receive immediate results. You can expect to have lab processing done in as little as 24 to 48 hours after your sample is received. Typically, results will be available online within two to seven days. If faster results are important to you, it may make sense to mail your sample earlier in the week, so the weekend doesn’t slow down processing, or use expedited shipping, if available.

  • What Should You Do If Your At-Home Herpes Test Results Are Positive?

    “If any home test suggests you may have herpes, it’s essential to see a healthcare provider for further testing and a diagnosis,” Modglin said. A doctor will advise you on the best treatment options for your situation. “Though not as common as false negatives, false positives could occur. An experienced doctor can rule out an inaccurate result, provide tailored advice on managing the condition, and guide you on informing any sexual partners,” she added.


We researched over 50 companies that specialize in sexual health and STI tests to come up with this list of top picks. Our priorities in choosing winners were tests that claim a high level of accuracy, clear instructions, secure digital results, and the opportunity to either consult with a doctor within the company or share results with a doctor.

We considered several factors that are important to consumers, including overall cost and value, speed of results, whether there is an option to speak with a health professional, and privacy of data and results.

A hand wearing a latex glove holds a small clear tube and dips a cotton swab into the liquid

Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images

Article Sources
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Detailed STD facts - genital herpes

  2. John Hopkins Medicine. Herpes: HSV-1 and HSV-2.

  3. Looker KJ, Elmes JAR, Gottlieb SL, et al. Effect of HSV-2 infection on subsequent HIV acquisition. Lancet Infect Dis. 2017;17(12):1303-1316. doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(17)30405-X

  4. Planned Parenthood. How long should I wait after unprotected sex to get tested for STDs?.

  5. World Health Organization. Herpes simplex virus.

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