Home STD kits shouldn't give you total peace of mind

Posted at 7:09 AM, May 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-01 07:09:27-04

The number of at home STD kits available continues to rise, but doctors want people to know the kits shouldn't be your only way of preventing disease. 

Carla Turner, a registered nurse with the New Hanover County Health Department, understands why people would want to use products like myLab Box or EverlyWell, but wants people to take the results with a grain of salt. 

"If you were able to do it in your own home, then it certainly does reduce the stigma, " said Turner. "We have been working in public health for decades to reduce the stigma with STDs. I think we do a great job of that, but if that is something you want to do in your own home I understand. I want people to understand also that if it were to come out positive, you would need to come have treatment."

Turner said anyone who came in with a positive test would have to be retested anyway to verify the results. 

"We would want to make sure that the sample was collected appropriately," she said. "We have trained professionals, and that is what they do all day long. There are certain processes you need to follow to make sure that there is no contamination, and that things are done right. My providers are not going to prescribe medicine based on a test that they hadn't performed."

According to the CDC, more than two million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported in the United States in 2016, the highest number ever, according to the annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report.

Turner said that's why more than ever it is important to also treat diseases instead of just knowing your result. 

"If you knew that you had an STD, and you continue to practice unsafe sex, then you are exposing other people to that," she said. "It is also not good for you to be walking around with an STD from a health stand point. You need to get that taken care of, or it could have long lasting consequences."

While a majority of the kits are not regulated by the FDA, Turner said they do make people have more conversations with their health care provider.

"Anything that goes on around this health department surrounding STDs or any disease is going to be confidential," she said. "I think you should have that conversation with your heath care provider."

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