Home STD Test Kits: Not As Accurate As Labs

Many people are afraid that they have a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and are uncomfortable about going to the doctor.  If you are part of this group of people, you have probably experienced the same fear.

You’ve probably already searched the web for sites that offer at-home STD test kits. You can order these tests online and use them in the comfort of your home – far from the prying eyes of doctors, nurses, or others.

However, most STD test kits are not as reliable and accurate as lab tests.  Additionally, only some of these are approved by the FDA.

In-Home STI / STD Test Kits Options

According to several studies on sexually transmitted infections or diseases posted online, at-home STD tests are unlikely to be as accurate as those performed in a doctor’s office.  On the internet, you can find many articles that explain why.

The accuracy of home STD tests can be affected by the packaging, storage, manipulation, and handling of the kits. Additionally, there might be some issues when you collect the sample.

Back in 2012, the FDA rejected a home-HIV test that was manufactured by OraSure Technologies. Their test, OraQuik, which costs $40, has an accuracy of more than 93% and has been tried by thousands of people from all over the world.   This test can be read in less than 20 minutes and is backed up by the government, many articles, and scientific papers released in the press.

Charlotte Gaydos

In order to determine the reliability of this test, Charlotte Gaydos, a world-renowned health expert from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, decided to send six of her personal tests to 6 different online lab test companies, including OraSure. Two of them never responded back, and only the rest of the four returned the test.

Half of the test samples processed came back with false negatives, even though Gaydos loaded each sample purposefully with chlamydia bacteria.

In an interview for NBC.com, Gaydos did not mention the names of these companies but stated that the FDA should inspect these online companies that claim to be specialized in diagnosing critical medical conditions, including STDs.

In a complex move to enforce new regulations, the FDA decided to send a warning letter and email to a company called Identigene, an online-based company that was allegedly offering home urine testing for both gonorrhea and Chlamydia.

The FDA prohibited Identigene from selling their test in stores and online, and fortunately, they complied.  However, they have said that they are going with some clinical trials with their testing and hope to be back online. Currently, they provide DNA testing for paternity cases.

Currently, the safest and most reliable method to have STD testing is at an FDA-approved facility. Here is a resource that helps you find an FDA-approved facility close to your location.

Another useful FDA-approved site you can use is called “Doing It My Way” or #DoingItMyWay.

Act Against Aids

If you cannot find anything close to your location, and you live in Maryland, Washington D.C., or Alaska, you can benefit from “Get The Kit,” a pilot program created by Charlotte Gaydos.  Order the kit straight from the website, provided you live in the correct area. The site also has a good Resources page with places to find information regarding kits in other states.

Source: STD Epidemiology

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Posted in Sexual Health

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