What's in STD diagnostic kits?

At-Home Diagnostic Testing

What's in STD diagnostic kits?

Ash Team

Diagnostic kits — also called self-collection kits — for STDs allow patients to screen for common sexually transmitted diseases at home, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, or HIV. Patients can order diagnostic kits online themselves through a digital health company, but physicians can also order on behalf of patients through an EMR drop down option. Patients may choose to order an at home STD test for reasons related to stigma, privacy, or convenience. Physicians or public health entities may distribute diagnostic kits to screen at-risk populations or to reach patients via telehealth services. 

There are different types of diagnostic kits that screen for STDs, and each at home STD test contains specific collection devices. 

Schedule a time to talk to Ash Wellness about white-label self-collection test programs through the Ash Platform. 

Dried Blood Spot Testing 

Dried blood spot testing requires patients to use capillary blood (from a finger prick) to blot special filter paper on a test card. When the blood sample dries, the patient mails it to a lab where a technician extracts target analytes. This type of collection kit includes: dried blood spot collection card, alcohol pads, gauze pads, single use lancets, bandages, and return pouch. DBS card testing can be used to screen for HIV, Hepatitis B and C, syphilis, and other blood-borne diseases. Some digital health companies such as Mistr use DBS card testing to screen for HIV as part of medication maintenance for the HIV prevention pill PrEP

A Dried Blood Spot sample can be taken in various ways, including with an Advance DX 100 card.

In order to collect a sample, patients must first use the alcohol pads to sterilize the fingertip area. Next, twist the cap off the lancet and press it into the side of the finger near the tip until the needle ejects with a click. Use the gauze to wipe off the first drop of blood, and then press 4-7 large drops of blood in the left square of the card. Patients must let the card air dry for one hour before placing the sample in the return pouch.


New York State requires the use of microtainers in place of dried blood spot testing. A collection kit in New York State for the STDs mentioned above can include: a microtainer, tube stand, alcohol pads, single use lancets, bandages, and return pouch. Patients must put the microtainer in the mail the same day it is collected.

A blood sample can also be taken with a microtainer.

Patients can prepare for collection by pushing open the triangular tube stand and placing the uncapped microtainer upright in the stand. Clean the chosen fingertip with an alcohol pad, uncap the lancet, and press the lancet into the finger until it clicks. Patients should keep the hand below the heart during collection to help with blood flow. Fill the microtainer with blood until it reaches the line. Seal the microtainer and place it in the return pouch. 

At-Home Urine and Swab Testing (3 Site Testing) 

Urine and swab self-collection can be used to screen for gonorrhea and chlamydia in an STD home test. Three-site testing is considered the gold standard for STD screening — as opposed to one-site screening, which only screens for the presence of an infection in a patient’s genitals. For patients who engage in oral or anal sex, such as LGBTQ+ patients, three-site screening is crucial to assess STD status. 

A urine self-collection test may familiar to many.

An at home STD test that screens for gonorrhea and chlamydia can include: collection swabs, collection tubes, decanter, pipette, label, and return pouch. Use the label to provide identifying information and affix it to the collection tubes. To conduct the urine test, a patient pops open the decanter. After handwashing, the patient urinates directly into the decanter and then uses the pipette to transfer urine into the collection tube. Put the cap on the tube and place it in the collection pouch. 

A swab is a very versatile method of self-collection.

For the swab test, the patient removes the swab from its bag, careful not to touch the cotton tip. Insert the swab into the first target test area and swirl for twenty seconds. Insert the swab into a collection tube and break any access length at the score line. Close the tube and put it in the return pouch. Repeat this process with a new swab in other areas of interest. Put this swab in another collection tube and the collection tube in the return pouch.  

Patients who order one or more diagnostic kits to perform an STD home test can receive results for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, and other common infections through an online portal in under a week, depending on the provider or digital health company. Unlike point of care tests, which result at home, these types of diagnostic kits for self-collection testing are resulted by skilled lab technicians. 

Chat with Ash Wellness about remote diagnostic testing for your patient population.

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