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How At-Home STI Testing Empowers Women & AFAB Folks

People are holding their fists and Daye's Diagnostic Tampon in the air.

How At-Home STI Testing Empowers Women & AFAB Folks

Everyone can take control of their health in the privacy of their own home.

Daye Wave Divider

Written by
Izzie Price

Illustration by

Sabrina Bezerra, Erin Rommel & Maria Papazova

Reviewed by
Sarah Montagu (NPs, SRH). Sarah is a highly qualified sexual and reproductive health nurse with 15+ years of experience.

Date

4th July 2024

Heading to the local sexual health clinic can be a nerve-wracking experience for anyone – but for some, it’s more complicated than anxiety around getting a vaginal swab.

What if you're a woman who’s had your gynaecological and sexual health concerns dismissed by doctors in the past?

What if you're a trans or non-binary person who feels left out of the mainstream narrative about sexual health?

For many, the rising urge to turn around and walk as fast as you can in the opposite direction from the main entrance to the STI clinic isn’t just centred around concern over sexually transmitted infections (STIs). There’s the deeper, long-entrenched fear that you won't be taken seriously or treated in a gender-affirming way.

For this reason, many women, trans, and gender diverse folks are increasingly turning to at-home STI test kits. Choosing to complete the STI test in the privacy and safety of their own homes instead of at sexual health clinics can make the experience both more comfortable, and more empowering.

When you consider ‘the way forward for sexual health’, you may not think, at first, of at-home STI tests – but that’s exactly what they are. So, let's take a closer look at how they actually work; and why they’re making the world of sexual health more inclusive and welcoming for all.

At-home STI test kits explained

At the risk of stating the obvious, an at-home STI testing kit can be sent directly to your front door. Usually delivered in a discreet plain envelope, the small box will contain everything you need to take your samples, repackage them, and send them off to the laboratory for analysis.

The test kit will also include instructions about how to take your samples and will tell you how your results will be received – this is usually through a text message or email.

Depending on the STI kit you choose, the test might only look for particular STIs – because various STIs are detected differently.

For example, you can test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea via swab samples from the throat, anus or vagina, or through a urine sample. The lab will use Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAATs) to look for any DNA of the bacteria that cause these infections in your samples. If that bacteria DNA is present, this suggests you have a chlamydia or gonorrhoea infection.

On the other hand, HIV, syphilis, genital herpes and hepatitis A, B and C are detected using a blood test, which is why some kits include the tools for a finger prick blood sample (you’re right, it’s not pleasant – but it is quick, easy and – most of all – necessary). The laboratory will look for the presence of certain antibodies or antigens in your blood test – antibodies or antigens which could indicate the presence of one of these infections.

Once you've received the test results, you'll either get the all-clear or, if your samples suggest you have an STI, you'll be provided with all the information you need to arrange treatment or further confirmatory tests in some cases. 

The treatment will vary based on the infection; for chlamydia and gonorrhoea (two of the most common STI varieties in the UK), you'll just need a quick antibiotic short course or injection. If you've tested positive for STIs like HIV, genital herpes, or syphilis, don't panic. 

Seriously, don’t panic. There are brilliant treatment options for all of these infections.

Benefits of at-home STI testing kits

Total privacy

One of the biggest draws of an at-home STI testing service is that you can do it in the privacy of your own home.

Of course, the specially trained staff at sexual health clinics aren't there to judge you — they see people getting tested for STIs every single day. However, if it's your first appointment or if you've had unpleasant experiences with a clinical team in the past, you shy away from the idea of having to go for in-person testing; and that’s totally understandable.

For this reason, an at-home STI test kit is ideal – it empowers everyone to take control of their sexual health with total privacy.

Increased comfort

There’s no getting around it – doing an STI test can be uncomfortable at the best of times.  But having to fill a urine sample cup in a chilly hospital toilet cubicle, or trying to get your vaginal swab done as quickly as possible while you know someone’s waiting on the other side of the door can be pretty excruciating.

With a home STI testing kit, you can take the samples in the place you feel safest. There's no waiting around for your name to be called, or any pressure to hurry along; you can do it when you’re relaxed, have no other obligations, and can take as long as you need.

The Daye Diagnostic Tampon Kit fitting through a letterbox.

Confidential results straight to your inbox

You might assume at-home STI testing takes longer to get your results, but actually it's a pretty speedy process. After sending off your samples, you'll get an email or text message about your results in just a few days, as well as instructions about what to do next.

Gender affirming STI testing

Non-binary and trans masc people who were assigned female at birth often navigate a healthcare landscape riddled with hurdles – we’re talking stigma, discrimination and a lack of understanding from healthcare providers, to name just a few. The fear of being misgendered, judged, or receiving inadequate care might even deter you from seeking necessary medical services at all.

We don’t want that. With at-home test kits, sexually active trans and non-binary folks can take control of their health without the anxiety and discomfort that can have roots (and grow) with clinical settings – and this is especially important in communities where healthcare providers may lack training on the specific needs of trans and non-binary patients.

Complete autonomy

In case you haven’t guessed already, we believe at-home STI testing is all about empowering people. It places control in your hands, allowing you to actively participate in your healthcare without relying on external validation or understanding – especially important if you're a woman or trans person who has experienced all-too-common mistreatment by medical professionals.

All that said, we know the traditional home test kit isn’t an attractive option for many. From uncomfortable swabs to confusing instructions, a home STI test can still feel intimidating and off-putting.

Daye's Diagnostic Tampon placed under a microscope.

Which is why we've developed the Daye tampon STI test. Our test kit just uses a tampon that you wear for a short time – exactly like the tampons you wear during your period. Then, you simply repackage it and send it to our laboratory for testing. You'll get your accurate results quickly and easily, as well as personalised treatment advice and support from our specialists.

Want to try our world-first tampon STI test? Order yours today and take control of your sexual health.

Daye tampons are manufactured in accordance with medical device standards, including ISO13485 and GMP. In order for a diagnosis to be confirmed, test results from the Diagnostic Tampon should be considered by a licensed healthcare provider alongside a patient's symptoms and medical history. Like every other diagnostic test, lab results are not sufficient for a diagnosis. Daye offers customers the option to connect with independent CQC-regulated healthcare providers virtually and in-person for a confirmed diagnosis. All prescriptions and treatments provided through the Daye platform are issued by third-party, independent pharmacists, who are also regulated under CQC and GPhC.