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In the past, sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, have been a source of shame, guilt, and health problems. Fortunately, times are changing, but the stigma of a having a disease passed along through sexual activity can make someone reluctant to have it checked out. Some people still cling to the negative labels that follow with these vast and varied conditions, but they are not an indicator of character, of moral failing, or of anything other than merely having a health problem.

The idea of going to your family doctor and asking to be tested for an STD is often very difficult. Although these doctors are usually discreet professionals, the amount of personal shame felt by a patient can keep them from asking about testing. The other options, going to clinics and health departments, feel shady and not exactly anonymous. This is where home STD testing becomes a literal lifesaver. In the comfort of your own home, you can test your blood or body fluids for the presence of a host of STDs. Instead of an embarrassing trip to a local health facility, a discreet, laboratory verified home STD testing kit can ensure your health and protect your privacy.

STDs Explained

STDs are conditions usually passed from person to person by contact with bodily fluids. Semen, vaginal secretions, and blood can carry a bacteria cell within it. The bacteria then replicates and flourishes in your system, sometimes causing symptoms, but almost always making you a carrier to pass the disease along to another partner. STDs have been around for centuries. It is rumored that Hitler has syphilis, and before they were called STDs, they were known as venereal disease, or VDs. Since the stigma against these conditions has built up over time, many myths, lies, and misinformation circulate about them.

First, sexually transmitted diseases are not a sign of promiscuity. In fact, it only takes having unprotected sex once with an infected person to get an STD. Your partner may not even know they have the condition, and this makes STD testing highly important. Second, not all STDs have clear symptoms that show evidence that a person is infected. Most of the symptoms are subtle, such as painful urination, and are not readily apparent even to medical professionals. Finally, the idea that you need to go to some seedy clinic to test your sexual health is not true anymore. With the increase in technology, many options are available for reliable and discreet STD diagnosis.

Types of STD Testing

As with most other testing, STD testing can be conducted on blood, urine, or fluids, such as saliva, vaginal secretions, or semen. In addition, these tests can be performed in a doctor’s office, health department, clinic, or home. When a blood test is called for, it is generally performed at one of the on-site facilities. A simple tube of blood can test for a whole host of STDs, from gonorrhea to chlamydia to hepatitis. It is the gold standard test, and all other tests are based on this type of testing.

Urine tests simply focus on testing the urine for shed bacterial cells that could indicate other common sexual conditions. Often, urine can be tested on site with chemical strips or rapid testing devices. However, if a blood test cannot be performed or you would rather not visit a clinic, body fluid tests can be performed both at a facility and at home. By taking cells from the inside of the penis or from the cervix at the end of the vagina, the resulting swab can indicate the presence of STD agents under a microscope.

Home Testing for STDs

Performing home testing for STDs has several advantages over the more traditional routes of testing. First, kits that you use at home are anonymous. You have the confidentiality of performing the test at home, sending the sample through the mail, and receiving results through the use of a website or telephone hotline. Second, home testing for STDs are easy to use. A simple swab of the penis or cervix in the comfort of your own home is far preferable to the embarrassing prospect of having a nurse or doctor collect a sample. Finally, the results are fast. Some results can be interpreted in minutes, while ones that are mailed to a lab take a few days.

In the STD home testing field are several options for your convenience. You can choose a specific test for the STD you expect, such as syphilis, gonorrhea, or HIV, or you can test for all of them. Some tests are available as blood tests, usually involving a simple finger stick such as diabetics use. Other tests require swabs, and the instructions for this collection are clear and simple to use. Furthermore, rapid results tests are available that can tell you within moments of specimen collection if you have an STD. In some cases, though, the sample is sent to a lab, but the convenience and confidentiality of performing this intimate test in your home makes home STD testing far less embarrassing than the alternatives. The results are reliable, too, protecting you and your sexual partners from the further spread of disease.