All about STI tests

Have you had unprotected sex recently or have been notified by a previous partner to get tested? While sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are very common, many people feel nervous about visiting their GP for testing. For those that would rather get tested confidentially, it is now possible to test for STIs from home. In this article we would like to take a closer look at the types of STI tests available for home use, and how they can be useful for you.

What is an STI test?

An STI test is a procedure that checks blood or bodily fluids for the presence of sexually transmitted infections. With STI self tests, is also easy to test yourself for various sexually transmitted infections from the comfort of your own home, without needing to visit a clinic or doctor’s office. An STI self-test is recommended for people who have had unsafe sex, want to begin having sex without a condom with a consistent partner, or people who have been warned that their partner has tested positive for an STI. People who have symptoms consistent with an STI should contact their family doctor or a sexual health clinic/GGD. This article will explain the different quality standards and levels of reliability for various STI self-tests on the market.

What types of STI home tests are there?

There are two types of self-STI tests – rapid tests without laboratory evaluation, and home tests with laboratory evaluation. While both tests have their advantages and disadvantages, home tests that include laboratory analysis are the most reliable and are able to detect a wider range of infections. Therefore, a self-test with laboratory evaluation should always be chosen where possible.

Rapid STI test without laboratory evaluation

STI rapid tests are inexpensive, anonymous, easy to carry out and will give you a result within minutes of testing. However, their reliability is often insufficient and most GPs will request a second test before initiating treatment for an STI.

STI self-test with laboratory evaluation

A self-test where the sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis is the most reliable way to test yourself for STIs from home. This is similar to methods used by doctor’s offices and sexual health clinics, which often involve taking a sample in the office and then sending the sample to a laboratory. This method better ensures that the result is accurate, and will also inform you if your test result is invalid for any reason. For example, one reason for an invalid test result can be that not enough material is collected. With a rapid test without laboratory evaluation, some people may interpret an invalid test result as a negative result, when that is not the case. With laboratory-evaluated STI tests, you can be assured your test result is accurate.

Homed-IQ only offers STI self-tests with laboratory evaluation. All of our partner labs are licensed and certified, and your testing process is 100% anonymous.

How is a home STI test performed?

STIs can manifest themselves in different ways, as they can be caused by various pathogens such as viruses, parasites, and bacteria. Therefore, there are also different ways in which an STI home test can be carried out.

Currently, there are three different ways you can test at Homed-IQ:

  • Blood sample for STIs that infect the blood
  • Urine sample for infections of the penis
  • Swab sample for infections of the vagina, throat, or anus

You can choose from the following STI tests:

Blood Test

During a blood test for STIs, you simply prick your fingertip with the enclosed lancet and deposit a small amount of blood into a blood collection tube. The procedure is relatively simple and offers few opportunities to perform the test incorrectly. Only taking too little blood is one of the most common reasons why the blood test cannot be fully examined in the laboratory. STIs that can be detected in blood include HIV, Syphilis, and Hepatitis B.

Urine Test

During a home STI test using a urine sample, you send in a small amount of your urine to a laboratory for testing. Taking the sample is very easy and invalid samples are rare. However, it is important that only the first urine of the day can be used. This means that you can only do this test directly after waking up in the morning. Urine testing is used to detect chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis infections of the penis.

Swab Test

During a swab test, a small amount of fluid and cells are collected from the back of the throat, vagina, or anus using a provided swab. This test can be done at home, but should be done with care to collect enough fluid and cells. Swab testing is used to detect chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis infections of the vagina, throat, or anus.

What to look for in home STI tests

When doing a home STI test, you should pay attention to several things. On the one hand, it is particularly important that you look closely at what type of test it is. To help you choose, use a reliable test guide to select what type of test you need. In case of any doubts or if you already experiencing symptoms, we recommend you contact your doctor or a sexual health clinic. While laboratory tests are very reliable, not every laboratory test for STIs on the market meets European quality standards or works with laboratories that are not medically certified in Europe. Homed-IQ only works with laboratories that are ISO 15189 certified for STI testing – the highest possible laboratory quality certification in Europe.

Another factor is the window period. Make sure you wait long enough before taking a home STI test with a laboratory evaluation. Testing yourself too early could generate a negative test result despite being infected. Therefore, you should wait at least 14 days after expected exposure to an STI before doing a home test. In this way, you can be sure that your test result is valid.

In addition to test reliability and taking the window period into account, following the test instructions is very important to the success of a self-test. Not following the instructions leads to an increased chance of an invalid test result. Not sure about a step in the instructions or when to take the test? Please do not hesitate to contact our customer service!


Gynecologists online. (2018, May 25). Vaginal swabs » Gynecological swabs / swab tests » Diagnostics » Gynecologists online – your portal for women’s health and gynecology ». Gynecologists online. Retrieved on May 10, 2022 fromüfungen/vaginalabstrich/

Federal Center for Health Education. (2022, May 4th). STI Tests – LOVE LIFE. It’s yours. protect it. Love life. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from

German Aidshilfe e.V. (n.d.). All About STI Home Tests: Rapid Tests vs. Lab Tests. S.a.m Health – Sexual Health. Your way. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from

All HOMED-IQ content is reviewed by medical specialists