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Private Testing Centers vs At-Home Testing for STDs: The Pros and Cons

Maybe you are considering getting tested for STDs, or you’ve already made the decision. In either case, you might be overwhelmed with thinking about going to a clinic or using an at-home testing service. For most people, confidentiality remains one of the most important aspects of getting tested for STDs, so you may lean towards an at-home testing service. At-home testing has drawbacks, though, compared to a private testing center. Below we have provided the pros and cons of private testing centers vs. at-home testing, so you can make the best decision for your circumstances.

Pros and Cons of At-Home Testing

Ordering an at-home testing kit remains one option for those who want to get tested for STDs. Although these testing kits are convenient and private, they also have some crucial drawbacks.

Pro: Convenience

When you choose to order an at-home testing kit, it comes right to your home. You can take the test in privacy and at the most convenient time for you.

Pro: No Human Contact

Concern about running into a neighbor, colleague, friend, or family member at a local clinic remains one of the most common reasons people avoid STD testing or procrastinate on getting it done. Some are also embarrassed at the thought of anyone, even strangers, knowing they are having an STD test. Testing at home provides you with privacy and comfort during the process.

Con: Not Administered by a Medical Professional

The convenience and anonymity of at-home testing does come with a cost. At-home tests may be less accurate than when you choose to have a medical professional administer tests for STDs. Most at-home testing kits require you to provide blood, genital swab, or urine samples. Collecting these samples requires you to follow specific instructions. Some users are squeamish about pricking their own finger or dealing with sample collection altogether. If you incorrectly administer the test, you risk not detecting–and therefore not treating– an STD, which could lead to long-term damage in some situations. You also continue to put sex partners at risk.

Con: No Immediate Action with Positive Test Results

Once you order a home testing kit, you have to wait for it to arrive and for it to get shipped back to the lab. If you find out you are positive for one or more STDs, you still need to visit a health care provider to get treated.

Pros and Cons of Private Testing Centers

Private testing centers provide another way for you to get tested for STDs if you suspect you have one or want to make sure that you don’t. Although you have to travel to a testing center, they offer many advantages over at-home testing.

Con: Leaving the Comfort of Your Home

Unlike at-home testing kits, you will have to leave your home and travel to a private testing center.

Pro: Anonymity

You might assume that private testing centers don’t protect your privacy, but they do: Private testing centers maintain confidentiality by not sending anything to your home or reporting anything to your healthcare provider. You don’t have to worry about a spouse, roommate or neighbor finding out what is inside an envelope or package. Additionally, no one in the waiting room of a center will ever know you are undergoing STD testing, making the entire process discreet. In fact, you order your tests online or via telephone prior to your visit.

Pro: Increased Accuracy

Private testing centers are staffed by medical professionals who regularly collect samples from patients. With their training and experience, you have a better chance of receiving accurate test results, giving you peace of mind and confidence in the results.

Pro: Quick Results & Treatment Assistance

Most STDs can be treated easily and quickly with antibiotics or other medications, although some STDs require a slightly more involved treatment plan. In any case, a private testing center can collect your samples and provide test results within 24 to 72 hours, which is usually quicker than an at-home test. You will be able to access your results online or call a care counselor who can speak with you about your results over the phone. If your results are positive for one or more STDs, you will also have immediate treatment options to get you on a path to better health.

Pro: Live Interaction for Support and Questions

If you’ve never been through an STD testing process and you suspect you are positive, it might be a scary experience. When you visit a testing center or chat with a care counselor online or via telephone, someone can walk you through the process to ease your anxiety and answer any and all questions you might have about testing, processing and treatment options.

Contact Priority STD Testing Today

Priority STD Testing provides private, FDA-approved STD testing at more than 4,000 locations throughout the United States. Our confidential process includes three steps: order your test, stop by a comfortable and convenient testing center and get your results quickly from one of our CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments)-certified labs. We remain dedicated to protecting and respecting your privacy, so you won’t have to worry about finding yourself in a potentially embarrassing situation. Contact us today for more information about ordering your STD test and visiting one of our private testing centers.