Over the counter STD test

Testing for STD can sometimes be scary and embarrassing. The thought of contracting an STD is horrifying and having people know you have it will leave you open to judgments and criticism. This is the very reason why people prefer purchasing over the counter STD tests that can be done privately at home and at the most convenient time.

These over the counter test kits are available everywhere, but choosing and using one can be confusing considering the fact that there are different types of kits being sold out there. For this reason, it is important to know what you need depending on the symptoms that you experience and get the right over the counter STD test kit for you.


HIV is the acronym for human immunodeficiency virus. If it remains undetected and untreated, HIV may lead to a more severe condition called AIDS. There is no cure for HIV. Even with treatment, the virus will remain in your body for life. HIV weakens the body's immune system, making it more prone to infections and diseases. Early treatment of HIV is important in preventing the progression of the virus to AIDS.

The most common means of transmission of HIV are sexual intercourse and sharing of needle or syringe for intravenous drug use. Body fluids such as blood, pre-seminal fluid, semen, vaginal fluids, and rectal fluids from an HIV-positive person can transmit the virus. The transmission will occur if any of these fluids come in contact with the mucous membrane (found in the mouth, vagina, penis, and rectum) or damaged tissue and in some cases if it is directly injected into the bloodstream.

While the best way to detect HIV is to get tested, knowing when to get tested is also crucial. The signs and symptoms of HIV to watch out for include fever, chills, night sweats, rash, mouth ulcers, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches and fatigue.

Remember that experiencing these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have HIV; however, people at high risk of contracting the disease should be tested right away if these symptoms persist.


Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by bacteria called Treponema pallidum. The symptoms of syphilis are usually noticeable only during the acute (primary) stage and during the final stage of the disease, between which it may cause no symptoms whatsoever for months or even years. However, it can still be transmitted even the symptoms are lacking. Syphilis can be transmitted by having direct contact with the infected person's mouth, genitals, or rectum. Unprotected sex is one of the most common causes of syphilis.

Symptoms of syphilis differ depending on the stage of the infection. During the primary stage, having painless ulcerations also called chancre is the first sign of having syphilis. This can be found in the mouth, the genital area, or the anus. Skin rashes are the most common signs of progressing infection. If left untreated, the infection may worsen and cause serious health problems.

STD Tests: HIV and Syphilis

STD tests for HIV and syphilis are necessary to help avoid disease progression with early treatment. These over the counter tests for HIV and syphilis are an affordable and convenient way of testing to detect STD. It makes it easier for people at risk to get diagnosed and to seek treatment as quickly as possible if the results are positive. There are several over the counter or OTC STD tests that are approved by the FDA to be effective for home use.

It is quite simple to use the most common OTC STD test kits since all you need to do is to collect specimen samples, add them to the kit, and wait for a few minutes to get the results. Another STD test kit involves the collection of a specimen sample at home, usually blood samples through a needle prick, and have it sent to a licensed laboratory and analyzed there. The results can be processed and delivered to you the same day.

You may find STD test kits for home use at CVS and even Walmart, but sometimes, they are hidden from plain sight, so you might still ask for help from a cashier or their customer service to get one. If you prefer buying them online, this is an option too – the tests are available from the websites of most major pharmacies as well as in less popular drugstores, which can also offer full reliability of the tests along with more affordable prices.

Over the Counter HIV-1/2 Test

Currently, the CDC recommends only two tests capable of detecting HIV in a home environment: OraQuick In-home HIV test and Home Access HIV-1 Test System.

OraQuick Advance Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Test

One of the easiest and convenient ways of testing HIV 1/2 is with OraQuick In-home HIV test. This advanced over the counter test allows you to detect both HIV-1 AND HIV-2.

The testing procedure for OraQuick involves swabbing your mouth to collect an oral fluid sample and using the kit to test it. Results are then shown in as short as 20 minutes. A line in the C zone means a nonreactive result while lines in the C and T-zone mean a preliminary positive result. The OraQuick In-home HIV test has 99% compatibility with Western blot (the confirmatory test for HIV).

A negative test result does not guarantee that you do not have HIV because the concentration of antibodies found in oral fluid is lower than in blood. Oral fluid tests detect infection later than blood tests do. If you are at a high risk for HIV and started to experience symptoms of the infection, a negative result may be a false-negative since 1 in 12 infected people have false-negative results with this over the counter HIV-1/2 test. Therefore, even though a negative result with an oral swab test is very reassuring, it would still be advisable to perform a blood test to make sure that you do not have HIV.

If your test result is positive, you are required to have a follow-up test. Visit follow-up testing sites and go for confidential counseling. Remember that false-positive results do occur from time to time too, which is why a confirmatory test is always necessary.

The Home Access HIV-1 Test System

The Home Access HIV-1 Test System is another type of home collection kit, but unlike the OraQuick, this involves an analysis of the specimen by a licensed laboratory. This test requires a blood sample collected by pricking your finger. After the sample is collected, it needs to be sent to the laboratory for analysis. The result is usually processed in under 24 hours, so you will need to call them on the next business day. Moreover, the test is anonymous, and your confidentiality is a priority.

Since blood tests are more accurate than oral fluid tests in detecting HIV, no other test is required for negative results. If, however, the result is positive, a follow-up test is required. Optional confidential counseling by phone is usually available to all people who test positive immediately after they receive the results.

Over the Counter Syphilis Test

Syphilis test kits for home use are relatively easy to purchase nowadays. Getting HIV test over the counter in a land-based pharmacy or online can be done anonymously, and reliable test results can be achieved in as short as 15 minutes.

Syphilis home test works by detecting the presence of Treponema pallidum in the blood. In order to perform the test once you have purchased it, first, make sure that your finger is clean by using an alcohol swab to clean the surface of the skin. Next, prick your finger and collect the blood on the test cassette that comes with the kit. Lastly, add the blood buffer that would help in detecting the presence of the bacteria in your blood. The results will be displayed in 15 minutes. A line in the C zone is a negative result while lines in both the C and T-zone signal the presence of syphilis.

FDA-approved over the counter syphilis tests have 99% accuracy, so if you get a negative result, you are not required to get other tests. If you get a positive result, you should seek treatment and consultation right away. Syphilis can be cured if treated the right way. However, early intervention is necessary to prevent progression and severe health issues.

Over the counter STD test kits are made available to help those who need them but are embarrassed to get tested in clinics. Early detection of STDs is important not only to prevent the worsening of the condition in a particular patient but also to avoid the spreading of the disease to other people. There is no shame in seeking treatment for STDs, but one would definitely regret failing to get early treatment. While prevention is always better than cure, early treatment is the key to saving a life.

Tags: Over the counter STD test, Syphilis, HIV, Over the Counter HIV-1/2 Test, STD Tests, The Home Access HIV-1 Test System, Over the Counter Syphilis Test