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Testing at home

You’d rather do an STI or HIV test without anyone knowing, so you want to order one on the internet. That seems like a good way to go about it, but often it isn’t. 

What is a home test or a self-test?

Testing that you do in your own home is known as a self-test or a home test:

  • You can buy all sorts of testing kits on the internet.
  • You pay per test, so it can cost you a lot of money.
  • Some self-tests are much more reliable than others.

Not always reliable

Many of the tests you can buy online are not reliable. So you can’t be sure whether the result is correct or not. This may be because:

  • The test is not sensitive enough to find the STI.
  • You don’t do the test at the right time.
  • You don’t take or send off the test samples correctly.
  • You’re not testing for all possible STIs, which may make you think that you don’t have any STIs.
  • You’ve not taken test samples from all the parts of your body you’ve used to have sex, which may make you think that you don’t have any STIs.

Tests that you do yourself and then send to a laboratory are more reliable than home tests that give you the results at home.

Going to a doctor after all

When a self-test indicates that you’ve got an STI or HIV, you still have to go to your doctor or a Sense drop-in session for a confirmation test, as the result of the self-test may be incorrect. And if you do have an STI or HIV, you have to go to the doctor for treatment anyway. Doing a self-test gives you unnecessary costs and the uncertain results cause stress and anxiety.

Advice

Don’t do a self-test. Go to your family doctor or a free Sense drop-in session for a reliable test. Tests that are on sale at the chemist are not reliable. If you do want to do a home test, buy one that you send to a laboratory. These home tests are reliable:

Are you a man who has sex with men? Then you could use Testlab on Mantotman.nl.