Ever because I had my first STI test ten years ago I’ve been a regular at the center. I follow testing standards, so I go as soon as a year or every time I alter partners.
A lot of locations in the UK now offer totally free home STI testing. This is where you take ‘samples’ (swabs, urine tests or blood tests) yourself and publish them to a laboratory. See: mylab box STD at-home kit discount
Prior to I inform you about my experience, here are some things to keep in mind:
I reside in Hackney in London so I bought a kit from SHL.UK. Utilize this Sexwise list to learn how to get a kit near you. Examine your regional sexual health service’s website for schedule if your location isn’t noted.
If there isn’t a totally free service near you can also pay for one – here’s a list of some services providing paid-for STI testing sets (inform us if you’ve utilized any others you ‘d recommend!).
So without more ado, here’s how it went down!
I get a message from Sexwise asking if I ‘d like to trial an online STI testing service. In under ten minutes they inform me they’re popping a test set in the post.
Friday early morning.
The post shows up. There’s a little, plain grey parcel for me which I open to reveal … * drumroll * … my STI test! I head straight upstairs to the bathroom.
Package includes a vaginal swab to evaluate me for chlamydia and gonorrhoea. If, unlike me, you’ve got a penis, anticipate to be peeing into an adorable little silver thing called a urine collection pouch rather. All test kits feature a blood test, too, which evaluates for HIV and syphilis as standard. If you’re a sex worker or a guy who makes love with males (you don’t have to recognize as a man to fit into this classification, you simply have to have a penis) you may be sent two more swabs – one for your throat and one for your bottom.
I start with the vaginal swab. The directions say to insert the swab into my vaginal area and twist it 5 to 10 times, which is precisely what I do (aiming to please, I go with 10). I discover it helps to put one foot on the toilet seat like I’m putting in a tampon. All in all it in fact feels rather familiar.
I then move on to the blood test, which is a little bit more nerve wracking. The test works by making a small prick in your fingertip with a lancet. I’ve heard some tricks and ideas to make this part of the test easier – running your hand under hot water increases your flow, which makes it simpler to get sufficient blood into the tube.
When I do it it’s not uncomfortable, it’s a bit tough attempting to psych myself up to pricking my finger with the lancet but. I have no issue filling television (perhaps since I soaked my hand in a wonderful foot bath of warm water ahead of time – STI screening is self care y’ all). There are 3 lancets included in the set in case it takes you more than one go to get as much as the 600 mark on the side of the tube. There’s very little mess however I discover a little plaster in the box and stick it to my finger, just for it to fall off a few minutes later on.
I put both samples back into the box, which cleverly doubles up as a freepost box for sending them to the laboratory (yay complimentary!), and trot off to the post box on the corner of my street.
The following Tuesday.
I get a text informing me to log into my SHL online profile to see my outcomes. The outcomes page says I’ve checked negative for chlamydia, syphilis, hiv and gonorrhoea. The whole process is over and it’s taken a grand overall of about 45 minutes of my time!
When should you test for STIs?
Usually you must get an STI test when a year, unless you alter partners in that time. It’s a great idea to get an STI test each time you alter partners, even if you’ve been using condoms. It’s especially important to get checked if you’ve had high-risk sex or if you’ve got symptoms (examine the Sexwise STI pages to discover what they are).
When can you utilize a home test?
Home STI screening is an excellent way of saving time and effort however it’s not always proper – if you’ve got signs it’s much better to go to the clinic so you can see a clinician face-to-face. It’s crucial to keep in mind you have to wait a while after making love before an STI will appear on a test, and the quantity of time (called a ‘window period’) is different for each STI. You can check out these on Sexwise’s STI pages.
What happens if your results aren’t unfavorable?
If you do get a favorable or a ‘reactive’ outcome (one that requires additional testing) you might get a call from a clinician instead of going onto the portal to collect your outcomes. You’ll then have to go to a center for further testing or treatment. Simply like the STI test if you evaluate positive for chlamydia you can purchase treatment from SHL and it will turn up to your front door in a plain grey envelope. Not all postal screening services provide this aspect – but if they do they will let you understand.
Remote STI screening is terrific. It’s fast, simple and a great way to stay on top of your sexual health without spending hours in your regional center – 10/10 would suggest.