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How to use at home self-test kits safely

Our self-test kits use five different types of sampling to check for the 6 most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs - sometimes called STDs).

  • Urine test
  • Oral swab
  • Rectal swab
  • Vaginal swab
  • Blood sample

The tests have been designed with people who use our service to make them as simple as possible. All kits are CE certified, come with instructions, a lab card and a Freepost return envelope.

The tests are similar to those used in NHS clinics and your samples are sent to a professional laboratory for testing. We will recommend which test kits you should use, based on the information you give us in your order.

The tests are all safe and most people find them easy to use. Some people experience a small amount of discomfort when pricking their finger to take a blood sample.

Find out about how accurate our tests are.

Follow these steps to take your samples:

Most people find it easier to take their samples when they read the instruction card before they start.

Urine sample This is used to test for some types of chlamydia and gonorrhea.

What is included in the kit?

Sample tube Protective case for your sample tube

How do I take the sample?

Wash and dry your hands. Pee into the sample tube until it is almost full. Screw the lid on tightly and put the tube in its protective case Place all your samples and lab card into the freepost envelope and post in any Royal Mail post box.

Urine sample instruction card

When should I test?

Wait 2 weeks after you think you could have been exposed to an infection. This is because Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea can take up to 2 weeks to be detected in a test. You can do this test at any time of day.

Oral (throat) swab

This is used to test for some types of chlamydia and gonorrhea. We recommend this test if you have oral sex with a male partner.

What is included in the kit?

Swab in a protective tube (similar to a cotton bud) How do I take the sample?

Wash and dry your hands. Twist and pull the swab out of the sample tube. Swab around the back of your mouth and throat. You may cough or gag a little. Put the swab back into the tube and close firmly. Place all your samples and lab card into the freepost envelope and post in any Royal Mail post box.

Oral swab instruction card.

When should I test?

Wait 2 weeks after you think you could have been exposed to an infection. This is because Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea can take up to 2 weeks to be detected in a test. You can do this test at any time of day.

Rectal swab

This is used to test for some types of chlamydia and gonorrhea. We recommend this test if you have anal sex. You may find it easier to remove your underwear before you start.

What is included in the kit?

Swab in a protective tube (similar to a cotton bud)

How do I take the sample?

Wash and dry your hands. Twist and pull the swab out of the sample tube. Gently insert the swab into your anus, twist and remove. Put the swab back into the tube and close firmly. Place all your samples and lab card into the freepost envelope and post in any Royal Mail post box.

Rectal swab instruction card.

When should I test?

Wait 2 weeks after you think you could have been exposed to an infection. This is because Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea can take up to 2 weeks to be detected in a test. You can do this test at any time of day.

Vaginal swab

This is used to test for some types of chlamydia and gonorrhea. You may find it easier to remove your underwear before you start. What is included in the kit?

Swab in a protective tube (similar to a cotton bud)

How do I take the sample?

Wash and dry your hands. Twist and pull the swab out of the sample tube. Gently insert the swab approximately 5cm into your vagina, touch the walls of your vagina for about 15 seconds. Put the swab back into the tube and close firmly. Place all your samples and lab card into the grey freepost envelope and post in any Royal Mail post box.

Vaginal swab instruction card.

When should I test?

You should wait 2 weeks after you think you could have been exposed to an infection. This is because Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea can take up to 2 weeks to be detected in a test. You can do this test at any time of day and if you are on your period.

Blood test This is used to test for HIV, syphilis, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Read this post to help you when taking the blood test.

What is included in the kit?

Sample tube Protective case for your sample tube 3 lancets (to prick your finger) 2 sterile wipes 2 plasters

You will also need some tissue.

When should I test? It takes time before STIs can be detected in a test. You should wait 4 weeks after you think you could have been exposed to HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C and 12 weeks for Syphilis. You can do this test at any time of day.

How long does this test take?

It is best to do this when you have 5 -10 minutes spare. Watching the video will help you take your sample more quickly whilst being warm and keeping your arm straight will really help blood flow to your finger.

Learn more about STI tests

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