With society still prejudiced against openly discussing sex, getting tested for Sexually Transmitted Diseases is an awkward screening procedure for everyone. However, millennials seem to have found a way to avoid the awkwardness of the STDs screening tests by simply getting tested via mail.
Companies offering in-mail testing services
Many medical companies now offer in-mail STD testing services. Most of their clients are millennials between the age of 15 and 24. Although this has made the whole screening process much more convenient, is it actually accurate? Is it safe to trust something sent by mail to test deadly STDs?
Biem, a medical company offers clients the ability to get tested, share their test results, and also be immediately notified if their sexual partners test positive in the future. Bien charges clients $45 for an at-home test and $45 more for a consultation with a doctor via video. Biem’s founder Bryan Stacy says, “Our purpose is to eliminate the socially-programmed sexual anxiety we all feel and develop sexual confidence that helps us live healthier, happier lives, make better decisions, and have great sex without the worry.”
Box, another in-mail STDs testing service charges users between $79 and $350 for STDs testing. It has even made its testing products available on Amazon. They also offer follow-up visits for prescriptions if they test positive. As of yet, they have thousands of customers since it was first started in 2013.
Similarly, another company providing such services, STD Check has done more than a million in-mail tests since it was founded in 2010. For just $219, they offer a 10 Test panel. The test includes the following:
- HIV Type 1
- HIV Type 2
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Herpes Type 1
- Herpes Type 2
How is it done?
- Order a test plan via call or online
- Visit the test center to leave a sample
- Get your results via mail
- Convenience: Without the hassle of long waiting lines and the ability to order a test from your bed, this service has definitely made STD testing convenient.
- Avoiding awkwardness: With the lack of human interaction and avoidance of uncomfortable personal questions, in-mail testing has enabled STD testing to be more comfortable and approachable.
- Affordable: The set price for 10 test panels has mainly attracted financially unstable millennials without insurance.
- Doubtful Accuracy: Risk of false positives and false negatives
- Impersonal: With no direct consultation with a doctor, simply getting tested can result in missing out on understanding some key aspects of the disease.
“You can’t replicate coming into a physician,” said Jaime Knopman, a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist, “We have the diagnostic capability we spent years going to school for. It allows us to put the whole picture together rather than just looking at results.”
- No follow-up care: According to Connie Park, an attending physician who specializes in STIs and HIV prevention at The Oval Center at Montefiore, “There is never a substitute for the counseling that goes around STI testing,” she said. “With some of these STIs, there is a lot of psychological trauma that can happen surrounding diagnosis—there is a lot of anxiety involved and I cannot imagine that will be solved at home with Google. ”