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Have you ever wondered what actually happens when you get “tested” for a bacterial or viral infection? Does a fancy intern in a white lab coat look through an even fancier microscope to see if you have a very unfancy pathogen? (the answer is almost certainly no, science is way cooler than that).

We hope that Ash ( can illuminate a little of the mystery behind STI testing here, and do our part to remove the stigma and surrounds testing. Testing is knowledge, and knowledge is freedom. Don’t be that dumbass that thinks ignorance is cool.

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  • Genetic tests look at the DNA of cells provided in the sample for evidence of a pathogen or for mutations associated with a cancerous growth

Science, am I right?! Alright, enough technicalities, let’s look at specific infections and how you can get tested for each, because you’re self-testing, not running the lab.

Rectal Test:

This is an easy, simple, and not at all awkward self-test. It’s basically like you’re cleaning your ear with a Q-tip, except with the emphasis on sterility, test tube protocol, and self-confidence. Here’s how to feel like you just won the gold medal in the Rectal STI Testing Olympics.

  1. Remove the swab from the test tube. Be careful not to touch the tip anywhere before inserting into your anus.
  2. Use one hand, best your non-dominant hand, to gently push your buttcheek so you can easily (whatever that means in this context) insert the swab.
  3. Keep about 1.5” between where you hold the swab and the end, and insert until your hand touches your crack.
  4. Gently (and I mean GENTLY) move the swab in a circular motion against the lining of your rectum a few times. I really do mean gently, you’re not churning butter here.
  5. Remove the swab and immediately insert it into the test tube, careful not to allow it to touch anything on its way in.
  6. Wash your hands.
  7. Put your sample in the appropriate bag, put the label on the box, and you’re good to go.

Vaginal Test:

Putting a cotton swab in your vagina may seem like a junior version of the other things that you could put in there, but will anything else ever tell you if you’re carrying an STI? No, the answer is no, please don’t actually think about that. Here’s how you get a grade A++ vaginal sample.

  1. Remove the swab from the test tube and be careful not to touch the tip anywhere before inserting into your vagina.
  2. Hold the swab about 1” from the end, and insert into your vagina until your hand touches you.
  3. Gently circle the swab for 15 seconds or so with pressure on the walls of the vagina, and until the swab is moist.
  4. Remove the swab and immediately insert into the test tube, using extra caution not to allow the tip to touch anything.
  5. Wash your hands.
  6. Put the test tube into the appropriate bag, and mail the beauty to us.

Urine Test:

This is a test you’ve done likely a few times.

  1. Pee in the cup, use the provided pipette to collect the sample in the test tube
  2. Wash your hands.
  3. Enclose the sample in the appropriate bag, label the box and we’ll test it straight away.

Oral Test:

If you ever wanted to feel the soft touch of cotton in the back of your throat, here’s your chance! While it may seem like a no-brainer, technique is of critical importance.

  1. Using a spoon or a tongue depressor (unless you’re in dentistry, you’ll probably go with the spoon) push down your tongue so it’s out of the way
  2. Carefully insert the swab into your mouth, being careful not to touch your tongue or the sides of your mouth. Our mouths are a bacterial heaven, so samples can be very easily contaminated with an errant swab-jab
  3. Lightly swab the back of your throat, and be careful not to gag, that will surely contaminate the sample
  4. Slowly remove the swab from your mouth, again careful not to touch anything on the way out.
  5. Put the swab into the test tube, enclose it in the appropriate bag, and send the sample our way.

No office visits, no lab visits, no judgment — just discreet, simple, and affordable STI testing from the comfort of your home.

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