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How does an STI test work?

All HOMED-IQ content is reviewed by medical specialists

If you have a new partner or have recently had unprotected sex you may want to test yourself for STIs to be sure. Unfortunately, testing for sexually transmitted diseases is still a sensitive topic in which one may like to to involve as few third parties as possible. This is exactly why all STI tests from Homed-IQ are 100% anonymous.

But before you order an STI self-test from Homed-IQ, you probably have a few questions that you would rather not ask your family doctor. In this article, we want to help shed some light on the exact process of STI testing – what types there are and how they work.

What is an STI test?

An STI self-test is a test with which you can be tested for various sexually transmitted diseases. There are different types of STI tests; tests that test for individual STIs, and tests that test for multiple STIs at once. In summary, Homed-IQ offers the following selection of home STI tests:

What types of STI tests are there?

There are three different ways to do an STI test, depending on the STI  you want to test for and the location of the infection. You can choose between:

  • Swab test
  • Blood test
  • Urine test

How does a swab test work?

As the name suggests, the swab test is an STI test in which a swab is (usually) taken from the part of the body showing irritation/symptoms of an STI. Thus, a swab for an STI  test can be taken from three regions – a swab from the vagina, anus, or throat.

The following Homed-IQ STI tests for vaginal, throat, or anal infections include a swab test:

How does a vaginal swab work?

A vaginal swab can be carried out in the comfort of your own home. A vaginal swab is useful for testing for gonorrhea, chlamydia, or trichomoniasis.

To perform a vaginal swab, insert the provided swab into the vagina and rotate the swab against the vaginal wall for about 10 seconds. The sample is then placed in the supplied tube. A vaginal swab is quick, easy, and not painful at all.

How does an anus swab work?

A swab of the anus can be used to test for chlamydia or gonorrhea. A swab of the anus is advisable if you have recently had unprotected anal intercourse. 

An anus swab is easy and safe to perform. The swab provided must be gently inserted into the anus and rotated against the wall of the anus for 10 seconds.

How does a throat swab work?

It is also possible to test for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis with a throat swab. Again, the procedure is simple and painless. You must wipe the back of the throat with the enclosed swab for about 10 seconds in order to take a valid sample. Then, put the sample in the enclosed tube.

How does a urine test work?

A urine test can also be used to diagnose certain STIs, particularly in infections of the penis. However, it must be mentioned that a urine test is not recommended for vaginal infections because it is less accurate. As an alternative, a swab test is recommended. To ensure the reliability of our tests, at Homed-IQ we only offer swab tests for vaginal infections.

The process for a urine test is relatively simple. All you have to do is deposit a small quantity of urine into the enclosed test tube and send it to one of our laboratories. The risk of an invalid sample for a urine test is very low. It is only important to note that the sample is taken from the first urine after waking up in the morning.

The following Homed-IQ STI tests include a urine test (only for infections of the penis):

Also interesting: How long does chlamydia last?

How does a blood test work?

Some STIs cannot be diagnosed with either a swab or a urine test. This is where blood tests come into play. Blood tests can detect syphilis, hepatitis B, or HIV. A blood test involves taking one or more tubes of blood, which are then sent to a laboratory. For a Homed-IQ home blood test, just a few drops of blood are sufficient, which you can collect with a simple finger prick.

The result of an STI test

After your sample has been sent to one of our certified partner laboratories, your test will be examined with the highest precision and the latest laboratory technology. You will then receive your test result within a few working days. The test result can be either positive or negative. A positive test result means that an STI has been detected, and a negative test result means that no STI has been detected.

References 

Federal Center for Health Education. (2022, May 4th). STI Tests – LOVE LIFE. It’s yours. protect it. loveslife.de. Retrieved on June 3, 2022, from https://www.liebesleben.de/fuer-alle/sexual-uebertragbare-infections/sti-tests/

SamHealth. (n.d.). All About STI Home Tests: Rapid Tests vs. Lab Tests. S.a.m Health – Sexual Health. Your way. Retrieved on June 3, 2022, from https://samhealth.de/de/%C3%BCber-std-tests/wie-sicher-sind-std-heimtests

Soa Aids Netherlands. (2022, March 23). Hoe gaat een soa test? Retrieved on June 3, 2022, from https://www.soaaids.nl/nl/soa-test/hoe-gaat-soa-test

About the Author

Lauren Dobischok

Lauren is a health scientist and science communicator living in the Netherlands. She has completed a Research Master in Health Sciences at Erasmus University Rotterdam’s Netherlands Institute for Health Sciences (NIHES) with a specialization in epidemiology, and a B.Sc. in Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. With a background in public health, her goal is to create accurate scientific content that is easy to understand and enables people to make informed decisions. Within Homed-IQ, Lauren serves as Product Developer and Content Lead, working closely with medical doctors and medical device scientists on Homed-IQ’s new products and written communications.