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STI TESTING AT HOME: USING THE STI SELF-TEST KITS

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Did you know that you can do STI tests in the comfort of your home like pregnancy tests? I was the most excited when I found that out and had the self-test kits delivered to me. I thought that it would make it easier for sexually active people to be more responsible and stay sexually safe.

So many people are scared or reluctant to get up and go to hospitals or clinics to get tested for STI’s. Others do not know how to access STI testing and the rest do not care, but I believe that making self-testing available and accessible to the masses would make it easy for everyone to get tested often like they should. In this post, I will show you how the test kits work, so that when you decide to get them, you will know exactly how to use them. 

Firstly, do you know that there are over 25 STI’s? The common ones we know are HIV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Trichomoniasis, Herpes, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Pubic Lice (Crabs) and Scabies. Unfortunately, self-test kits are only available for HIV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Herpes and Hepatitis B.

Also, apart from HIV, Hepatitis B, herpes and HPV, all STI’s are curable and will not cause long-term harm if they are detected early and treated early. The incurable ones can be managed effectively to reduce symptoms and minimize risks of infecting others.

NOTE: Vaccines exist for Hepatitis B and HPV, so it’s best to get vaccinated if you care about not getting infected with STI’s and you're not trying to take chances to catch any. 

You can have a very active sex life, sleep with over hundred people and never catch an STI if you take the right precautions: have protected sex, get tested often, know your partner’s status and only have raw sex when you know your partner’s status. It shouldn’t be that hard! 

HOW OFTEN SHOULD ONE GET TESTED?

Ideally, a sexually active person should get tested once a year BUT some instances will require anyone to get tested, whether they already tested that year or not. 

The instances: 

  1. When you change sexual partners, or get a new sexual partner 
  2. When you have unprotected sex with someone who’s had sex with other people 
  3. When you notice any bumps or STI-related signs. (Click HERE to find out what the STI warning signs are) 
  4. If the condom breaks during sex with someone whose STI status isn’t known to you.
  5. When your current or past partner tests positive for an STI 

HOW TO DO THE TEST AT HOME 

Presently, I only have available four self-test kits: HIV, Syphilis, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, and like I mentioned earlier, several other STI’s exist, so to know your overall STI status, visit a sexual health clinic, a hospital or medical laboratory to do an overall STI checkup. That’s the only way you can be entirely sure that you are clean and if you have an infection, you can start treatment as soon as possible. 

THE TEST KITS:

STI test kits
  1. The Chlamydia and Gonorrhea test kits are alike, and require the collection of a cervical swab from the vagina (women) or a urethral swab from the penis (men) 
  2. HIV and Syphilis test kits are also alike and require the collection of blood samples from your fingers

THE CHLAMYDIA AND GONORRHEA SELF-TEST  

Gonorrhea and Chlamydia home/rapid test kit components

WHAT TO DO BEFORE SAMPLE COLLECTION

For males, you need to make sure you don’t pee or urinate 2 hours before the procedure, to ensure the collection of a very concentrated sample (the more concentrated, the easier it is to detect the presence of an infection).

For females, you need to insert a spare cotton swab (not the one in the test box) in your vagina and twist it multiple times to collect excess mucus before sample collection. 

SAMPLE COLLECTION

  • Male Sample Collection

Insert the cotton swab in your urethral opening (2-4 cm deep), twist the swab several times and leave the swab in for 5 – 10 seconds before removal. 

  • Female Sample Collection

Insert the cotton swab deep inside your vagina (1-1.5 cm into the cervix), twist the swab several times and let it stay in for 5 – 10 seconds before removal.

NEXT STEP- SAMPLE PREPARATION

  1. Take out the two diluents (Diluent A and Diluent B) and sample tube
  2. Open Diluent A, insert the dropper and squeeze it to fill it with the liquid.
  3. Open the Sample tube and drop 11 drops of the diluent A in the Sample tube 
  4. Insert the cotton swab (with the sample on it) in the sample tube immediately, squeeze the tube and twist the swab in the liquid several times (15 times).
  5. Leave the swab in the sample tube for 2 more minutes before removal 
  6. When the two minutes is up, remove the swab and put it in a safe place
  7. Open Diluent B, insert the dropper and fill it with the liquid 
  8. Drop 11 drops of the Diluent B from the dropper into the Sample tube (containing the Diluent A)
  9. Insert the cotton swab again, squeeze the tube and twist the swab 15 times and leave it in for one minute before removal
  10. After removal, close the tube.

FINAL STEP- USING THE CASSETTE

  1. Remove the cassette and put it on a flat surface 
  2. Open the sample tube, and fill a new dropper with the sample 
  3. Drop 3 to 4 drops of the sample in the sample well (S) of the test cassette (avoid bubble formation)
  4. Leave it for some time, and observe the results in less than 15 to 20 minutes
  5. After 25 minutes, the test becomes invalid 

HIV AND SYPHILIS SELF-TEST 

HIV and Syphilis home/rapid test kit components

I find this hard to do because I hate needles, but to do this test, you need to prick your finger with the lancet/needle to collect blood samples.

HOW TO DO THE TEST

Follow the steps in the image below:

from https://testhivstatus.com/usage-instructions/hiv-test-kit-instructions-blood/
NB: The test results are invalid after 25 minutes

READING THE RESULTS 

  1. If you see two red lines (one in the C region and one in the T region), your test is POSITIVE 
  2. If you only see one red line (in the control region (C)), your test is NEGATIVE
  3. If the C line doesn’t appear, or no line appears, your test is INVALID

WHAT NEXT AFTER TESTING POSITIVE? 

A positive test result from a self-test kit isn’t conclusive until you go to the hospital or clinic for a confirmatory test. So, don’t panic yet, the test kits only give you a fair idea of what to expect when you visit a medical laboratory for testing. 

FALSE POSITIVE AND FALSE NEGATIVE RESULTS 

Just like all other at home test kits, it’s possible to get false positive and false negative results when you do an STI test. This is usually because of sample handling, insufficient sample collection and the failure to follow the instructions stated on the information leaflet. 

Although false positive rarely happen, NEVER conclude that you have an STI after testing positive with the self-test kits. You can only conclude after going to a sexual health clinic for another test, and if you get positive results, you can start treatment and let your partner(s) know so that they can also get tested and start treatment. 

DO THIS: 

Before and after you do the HIV test, read this article (I TESTED POSITIVE FOR HIV). Click this LINK to read it and know your options. If your test comes out positive, go to the hospital and get tested again.

CONFIRMATORY TESTING: WHERE YOU CAN GO TO

  1. Marie Stopes International (in every country. Just type Marie Stopes in Google map to find a clinic closest to you)
  2. Planned Parenthood Clinics 
  3. Sexual Health Clinics
  4. Hospitals

PRE-ORDER YOUR TEST KITS 

To purchase any of the test kits which cost $10.00 each, click the live chat button at the bottom of your screen Ami's Diaries Live Chat

In the pop-up window, input your name and email. In the message box, type out the test kits you want and your location. I will reply shortly and you can make payment and receive your test kit after 3 business days. 

YOUTUBE VIDEO TO SHOW YOU HOW TO DO THE TESTS

In a few days, I will upload a video to show you exactly how to test for each STI using the rapid test kits. So, you need to subscribe to my YouTube Channel, and get notified when the video is uploaded. Click this LINK to subscribe!

Subscribe to this blog to receive new post updates and our newsletters in your email. 

Have any comments or questions, ask in the comments and I will reply in no time!
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MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE, WRITER, SEX AND RELATIONSHIP EXPERT

Ami Shikah is a sex educator and mental health advocate. She is passionate about sex education and is working towards making her website/blog a place where people come to for knowledge and information that will help them make healthy decisions about sex and sexuality. Mental health isn't treated with much importance in her part of the world (Ghana, Africa) and as someone who has had to deal with depression and suicidal thoughts, she hopes to share her experiences with the world and help other people like her. She has in-depth knowledge about sex, sexual health, sexuality, vaginal health, pregnancy and abortion and is working to share it all with the world. She has also made it possible for people to ask questions and get answers to them anytime.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for this info ...You are amazing

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