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Home testing kits for STDs are not reliable and should only be a last resort

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Question:

"I took an at-home STD test and it came up negative for everything. Is it possible that the result I got is wrong?"

- Anonymous

Response:

Thank you for this question. This is a very important question that lots of people can benefit from knowing the answer to.

There are a number of things that you need to be aware of if you are planning to test yourself for STDs. The first and most important thing is that at-home tests are not nearly as reliable as laboratory tests. 

Another important thing that you need to know is that it takes a certain amount of time after you've had sexual contact before an STD test can give you a reliable result

Let's say that you had sex one hour ago. If you had sex with somebody who was a carrier of chlamydia, and you definitely contracted the disease, your STD test would give you a negative result (unless you already had chlamydia prior to that encounter). This is because STDs need to undergo something called an incubation period before you can get an accurate STD test result for them.

Incubation periods vary depending on the type of disease or infection that you are testing for. Most STDs can be reliably tested for after ten days. That being said, in the case of some diseases, like HIV, you cannot get a reliable test result until six months after you've had the sexual contact that transmitted the virus to you.

Of course, there is an HIV early detection test. Even so, this test requires at least eleven days before you can get an accurate result for it. 

The bottom line is, you at-home STD testing kit may very well have given you accurate results. However, visiting a lab and having your blood drawn or urine sample taken by an experienced lab technician will improve the odds of you receiving an accurate test result.

Unless you live in an area that does not have a testing center nearby, you should always try to get your STD tests done at a laboratory.

Again, thank you for the question. Always practice safe sex!
 


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