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Common STI Questions

Have a question? We probably have the answer below.

We use a machine with a specially designed panel of tests for sexually transmitted infections. We use a combination of blood and urine samples to perform the test. We believe this is the best way to test for STIs as other methods have similar accuracy but will take longer to provide results. The sensitivity and specificity of our test can be found in the table below.

STIs Sensivity Specificity
Chlamydia trachomatis 83.3% 100%
Neisseria gonorrhoea 100% 100%
Trichomonas vaginalis 100% 100%
Mycoplasma genitalium 86.7% 99.5%
Mycoplasma hominis 93.8% 100%
Ureaplasma Urealyticum 90.9% 100%
Syphilis (Treponema palidum) 90% 100%
Haemophilus ducreyi 100% 100%
Herpes I 100% 100%
Herpes II 100% 100%
HIV 100% 100%

Sensitivity is the ability of a test to correctly identify patients with a disease - this is the accuracy of a positive result.

Specificity is the ability of a test to correctly identify people without a disease - this is the accuracy of a negative result.

It is important to recognise that a large number of people with STIs will not show any symptoms. This is one of the reasons for getting a test. Symptoms are different for men and women. They can include pain or discomfort when passing urine, discharge from the penis or vagina, pain during sexual intercourse, small blisters, ulcers or skin irritation around the genitalia and anus, and bleeding between periods. For a more detailed description of STI symptoms, see this NHS link.

Regular STI testing is a good idea if you are sexually active. To ensure you do not have an STI, it is recommended that you get tested every six months, before you become intimate with a new partner.

With the Express STI package, you will be tested for ten common STIs. You will receive a complete laboratory report, and if you test positive for an infection, our in-house GP will call you to explain the results. Advice will be given regarding how to treat the infection. You may need to contact your GP or local sexual health clinic for a prescription if this is required. The laboratory report will show if you are positive or negative for the following STIs:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Mycoplasma genitalium
  • Mycoplasma hominis
  • Ureaplasma
  • Syphilis
  • Haemophilus ducreyi
  • Herpes I
  • Herpes II

STIs are spread predominantly by sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. It is possible to transmit Herpes Simplex Virus by kissing – this is the same infection that causes cold sores on the lips. Other STIs such as gonorrhoea, chlamydia, hepatitis B, HIV and genital herpes can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

The symptoms of an STI can include:

  • Unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or anus
  • Pain when passing urine
  • Lumps or skin growths around the genitals or bottom (anus)
  • A rash
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding
  • Itchy genitals or anus
  • Blisters and sores around your genitals or anus
  • Warts around your genitals or anus
  • Warts in your mouth or throat, but this is very rare

Please note that you can have an STI without any symptoms. The only way to know is to get tested. Follow the link to NHS website for more information about STIs including symptoms and treatments .

It is important to check regularly because untreated STIs can affect your health and fertility. You should test at your earliest convenience for any of the following reasons:

  • You or a sexual partner have symptoms of an STI
  • You have recently had unprotected sex with a new partner
  • You are pregnant with symptoms of an STI
  • It is a good practice and gives you peace of mind.

It is recommended to wait for two weeks after you think you have been exposed to an infection before testing for an STI. Testing too soon might affect your test result, giving you false reassurance, but we understand that some people will want to test early. If you have symptoms, it is best to test as soon as possible. If you decide to have a test early after potential exposure to an STI, we recommend testing again later to make sure you are still safe. The optimal testing times following exposure are shown below:

STIs When to test
Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) 2 weeks
Neisseria gonorrhoea (NG) 2 weeks
Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) 1-2 weeks
Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) 5 days
Mycoplasma hominis (MH) 5 days
Ureaplasma Urealyticum (UU) 2 weeks
Syphilis (TP) 4 weeks
Haemophilus ducreyi (HD) 4-10 days
Herpes Simplex Virus I (HSV1) 2 weeks
Herpes Simplex Virus II (HSV2) 2 weeks

In the event that you test positive for any of the listed STIs, our team will contact you for further explanation. Most STIs require antibiotics given as tablets and sometimes as an injection to treat the infection. You may need to contact your GP or local sexual health Clinic for a prescription if required.

In the meantime, you should inform your partner(s) as soon as you get a positive result to help prevent the spread of the infection to others. Recent partners should get tested. You might also encourage people living in your household to get tested. You should abstain from sexual activity until you have completed treatment and you are clear of infection.

If you are still experiencing symptoms after you have been treated for an STI, you should consult your doctor. They may advise repeat testing and further treatment if appropriate.

Yes, it is possible that you have two or more STIs at the same time. It is likely to happen a partner was already infected with several infections or if you have had multiple partners since your last sexual screen. Regular testing, even when you are well, is very important.

Yes, at Hometest your results are protected. We take data protection and confidentiality very seriously Information given in confidence should not be shared with anyone without patient’s consent. If you have not given us consent, the results will not be disclosed to your GP.

Information we obtain from you, such as your name, date of birth, or home address, is stored securely.

Common Covid Questions

Have a question? We probably have the answer below.

We offer two different types of test, PCR tests and Lateral Flow tests. 

Our PCR test is the RT-PCR Thermo Fisher TaqPath test used by the UK Health Security Agency in the Lighthouse Hubs and approved by the FDA. Our Express PCR test is the Bosch Vivalytic One test.

Our Lateral Flow test is the Healgen Lateral Flow test. Again, this is approved by the UK Health Security Agency, the European Commission and American Authorities. We believe this to be the best lateral flow test currently available on the market.

All tests are supplied in accordance with Regulation 12 (safe care and treatment) of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014. 

Yes, provided you have followed all their instructions on timing and test type. In particular, some countries will only accept PCR tests and not Lateral Flow tests—so if you have booked a Lateral Flow test, please make absolutely sure this will be sufficient for entry.

All our tests come with a Covid-19 results certificate containing your personal details and test results. These can be used both to fly and at border control in your destination.

We strongly urge you to check the requirements of your airline and destination, including a final check a day or so before travelling. Rules on permissable test types and requisite certificate details have been known to change at short notice.

We will bring you a kit to take a swab yourself. All you need is a clean surface and a place to wash your hands thoroughly before starting. 

The NHS has created this useful video explaining how to self-swab. We also include an easy-to-follow instruction sheet with your test.

If your test result is positive, you are no longer required by law to self-isolate, but it is still advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people where possible.

Please refer to NHS website for the latest government advice.

Please note that we are strictly forbidden to give advice regarding individual results. This is considered medical advice, and is outside the boundaries of our licence.

While the vast majority of test results are "Positive" or "Negative", a very small proportion are deemed "Inconclusive" by our PCR machinery.

"Inconclusive" means that the test has run successfully and has picked up trace material of Covid 19, but not enough to conclusively say you had the virus when the test was done. This could happen because you were on the cusp of having the virus in a detectable amount (right at the start or right at the end of infection).

For guidance on what this means for you, please speak to your GP or call the NHS Covid helpline on 119. We are not allowed to offer advice on individual results, as this is considered medical advice and is outside the scope of our licence. If you would like to book a new test, please get in touch with our team who will do their best to accommodate you as soon as possible.

While the vast majority of test results are "Positive" or "Negative", a very small proportion are deemed "Rejected" by our PCR machinery.

"Rejected" means that the test could not be successfully completed, because the sample was damaged or did not contain enough DNA material. While this is usually the result of incorrect or insufficient swabbing, there are other reasons why a person might have lower-than-usual DNA concentration in their saliva (for example, it is a known but uncommon side effect for some medications). 

Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about this result. The machines are highly sensitive, in line with government guidelines—which are intentionally quite strict, because they are trying to minimise the chance a positive case will be accidentally missed.

For guidance on what this means for you, please speak to your GP or call the NHS Covid helpline on 119. If you would like to book a new test, please get in touch with our team who will do their best to accommodate you as soon as possible.

These are scientific terms used to describe the likelihood a test result is correct.

Sensitivity is your "true positive rate". It is the proportion of "positive" samples (i.e. ones containing enough Covid-19 to be considered infected) which return "positive" results. Our PCR tests have a sensitivity rate of over 99%; our Lateral Flow tests have 96.7% sensitivity rate. Lateral Flow tests always have slightly lower sensitivity, which is why some countries will not accept them for entry. Note that no approved tests exist with 100% sensitivity.

Specificity is your "true negative rate". It is the proportion of "negative" samples (i.e. ones that do not contain enough Covid-19 to be considered infected) which return "negative" results. All of our tests have >99% specificity. No approved tests exist with 100% specificity.

There are currently no Covid tests in circulation which are 100% accurate, but ours are amongst the most accurate available.

Our PCR tests have been proven in trials to be over 99% specificity and sensitivity (i.e. the probability your result is correct is over 99%)

Our Lateral Flow tests have 99.2% specificity and 96.7%  sensitivity. This means a negative result has a 99.2% probability of being correct, and a positive result has a 96.7% probability of being correct.

We have received some queries asking if a recent vaccination might impact your test result. We are not allowed to provide any answer which is not taken directly from the Government’s official guidelines. If you are concerned, please speak to your GP or call the NHS Covid helpline on 119.

Yes. We have added an extra layer of security against test fraud on our certificates. The QR code on your certificate will confirm your test results and details.

Our QR code is different to the NHS QR code. No private providers currently link to the NHS app or NHS QR code.

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