You can now check yourself for STIs at home
Worried about your sexual health, but too busy or embarrassed to get tested? There are two companies in Canada that now have a solution for you.
LetsGetChecked is selling home test kits that check for 10 sexually transmitted infections (STIs, also known as STDs), including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and HIV. After collecting a small blood and/or urine sample at home, the kits (which cost between $120 and $380, depending on how many STIs you want to be screened for) are mailed to an accredited lab for processing. Results are then sent to you online within five days.
“There is no patient identifiable information in this -- no first name, no second name,” LetsGetChecked CEO Peter Foley told CTV News.
Foley started the LetsGetChecked program in Europe. It is only recently available in Canada.
“What you are paying for is the convenience,” Foley said. “Not having to take time work, not having to deviate from your normal day-to-day.”
Such kits may prove to be incredibly useful.
Since the early 1990s, cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have been on the rise in Canada. From 2003 to 2012, chlamydia cases increased by 57 per cent, gonorrhea by 39 per cent and syphilis by a staggering 101 percent. The most effective way to stop the continued spread of STIs, doctors say, is via diagnosis and treatment.
Home testing also made sense to Jessica Ching, a Toronto-based entrepreneur and the CEO and co-founder of Eve Medical. Ching’s company offers a pair of home tests geared towards women: one for chlamydia and gonorrhoea, and another for human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can lead to cervical cancer if left undetected. The two “Eve Kits” cost $85 and $110 respectively.
“I realized that there was about one in three women who are not screening on a regular basis for cervical cancer,” Ching, the CEO and co-founder of Eve Medical, told CTV News. “I wanted to create a solution that could help bridge that gap.”
It’s a valuable service, some doctors say, and one that may help more people get tested and in turn reduce the number of new STI infections in the country.
“Most people who have sexually transmitted infections or concerns about that have a sexual history which they are ashamed of or they don't want to talk to people about,” Dr. Neil Rau, an Ontario-based infectious disease specialist, told CTV News. “So, being able to do the test... in the privacy of their home without asking somebody to do the test, can be a great thing.”
With a report by CTV News medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip