TEST QUESTION: If you are sexually active, how often should you have an STD test?
- Every 2 months
- Every 3-6 months
- Every year
- Every 2 years
ANSWER: Every 3-6 months
Yep. That often. Even if you’re in a long-term monogamous relationship, it’s a good idea to get tested every 6 months to a year.
A good way of looking at it is, “STDs don’t pick their carriers based on virtues,” says Lora Ivanova of myLAB Box.
WHY AREN’T PEOPLE TESTED ENOUGH?
You have to admit, that’s a lot of waiting in crowded offices every 3 months while reading ancient Home and Garden magazines as screaming children secret gooey fluids on you.
You also might not want to waltz into the doctor’s office and non-verbally announce the regularity with which you get freaky with people.
Or perhaps you just don’t have that much spare time to go there.
IMPORTANT FACT: Upward of 80% of people carrying an STD (better phrased as an STI) may not even show symptoms.
DOING IT AT HOME
If the above scenarios put you off testing, there is a “DIY” option…
However, keep in mind that it’s not as easy as peeing on a stick and getting an instant “YOU ARE HEALTHY” result.
You have to give at least a urine and blood sample (and sometimes a swab). Then there is a blood sample – which is usually just a prick on the finger. So, if you can’t bear that, you’ll have to get someone to help you … or endure a clinic.
IT’S VERY PRIVATE
When you’ve collected all your fluids, you send your results in and wait however long they tell you to.
- The best services I saw provided a pre-paid envelope to send things back – and on that was a number (your ID number).
- Names and test results are never put together, so the people who work in the lab just see numbers all day and will never know who you are.
- Packaging is very discreet and some even go as far to make sure nothing suspicious shows up on your credit card bill.
OTHER THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
Sites will promise their tests are “as accurate as clinical testing.”
Some people say they could have a greater chance of giving inaccurate results – either from an expired/damaged kit, lab errors, or human error (I’m going to go for the last one, and all those customers who don’t know how to read and follow instructions).
You also need to make sure they are approved by the FDA – if you don’t have much faith in that particular government department, think of it as “better to have an extra step of safety than not” kind of thing.
But, most importantly…
Despite it being a service that gets people who normally wouldn’t test, to start checking for STIs, it should NEVER be a lifelong substitute. Nor is it a treatment.
So, if things come back positive, you still have to visit the doctor.
WHAT IS A FALSE POSITIVE or NEGATIVE?
It means the test is incorrect (which is why a doctor should do another).
They can occur in the “at home” ones too. If it does, you can either buy another test or bite the bullet and visit a professional.
This entirely depends on what kind of package you buy.
Some can charge per test, with each test costing different amounts. Others offer full packages. (Imagine single tests starting $40 and up, or multiple tests $100 and up).
Another thing to keep in mind if you’re aiming for HIV tests, the early detection ones cost a lot more.
I’m not going to say one brand or company is better or worse than another. This is something that needs research and comparisons on behalf of the buyer.
I WILL give you a few brands so you can begin your searches and see what they offer.
- MyLab Box
- OraQuick: In-Home HIV Test
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Also, if you liked this article, you might want to check out these:
- What is a Dental Dam – Add Another Layer of Protection
- 20 Reasons There’s Pain During Sex – For Men and Women
- Oral Sex STDs 101 – Things to Know Before Opening Your Mouth
Have you ever tried one of these tests? Share your thoughts in the comments.