LetsGetChecked mail-in STI test kit review: Basic 3 (Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, & Trichomoniasis)

[Image: holding a Letsgetchecked sample and biohazard bag in my hand]

I was shocked the first time I saw a mail-in can­cer test kit  stocked at the drug­store— among many oth­er kits, like food sen­si­tiv­i­ty, hor­mone bal­ance, and STI testing.

It was the inte­gra­tion that struck me. The pieces had been there: zip­py ship­ping, the dig­i­tal deliv­ery of infor­ma­tion, and the lab tech­niques. Companies like LetsGetChecked put it all togeth­er into one stream­lined process.

[Image: LetsGetChecked Basic 3 home STI kit box unwrapped]

So when they reached out to me, offer­ing one of their at-home STI tests for a review, I was excit­ed. Of the options, I chose the Basic 3 mail-in test kit for chlamy­dia, gon­or­rhea, and trichomoniasis.

These STIs among the most com­mon, they’re often asymp­to­matic, and they can lead to severe repro­duc­tive sys­tem dam­age if left untreat­ed. HSV and HPV are super com­mon too, but rel­a­tive­ly few strains cause issues.

Other LetsGetChecked STI test kit options

For more com­pre­hen­sive screen­ing, there’s the Standard 5 and Complete 10 if you’re in the US or Canada.

The Complete 10 includes:
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Trichomoniasis
  • HIV
  • Syphilis

  • Gardnerella
  • Mycoplasma
  • Ureaplasma
  • Herpes Simplex 1 & 2

If you’re in the UK or Ireland, there’s the Standard 6 (shown below) and Complete 11. These tests are processed by a dif­fer­ent lab and include Hepatitis B.

You can also get sep­a­rate test kits for Hepatitis B & C or high-risk HPV strains.

LetsGetChecked mail-in STI test kit review: Basic 3 (Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, & Trichomoniasis) 1

As far as cost goes, it’s worth not­ing that my insur­ance cov­ers vis­its to my OB-GYN, but not the “express” urine tests for gon­or­rhea and chlamy­dia at Planned Parenthood. So while LetsGetChecked isn’t espe­cial­ly cheap for the lat­ter, there are cas­es where a dis­creet mail-in STI test would be worth the con­ve­nience for me. It does­n’t cost that much more if I use my coupon code, SUPER, for 20% off at LetsGetChecked.com.

Is LetsGetChecked legitimate?

If you’re skep­ti­cal about the legit­i­ma­cy of LetsGetChecked (A.K.A. PrivaPath Diagnostics), here’s the main thing you need to know: the CLIA-cer­ti­fied and CAP-accred­it­ed labs that ana­lyze their sam­ples also do so for pri­ma­ry care prac­ti­tion­ers and hos­pi­tals. That’s MedLab for Ireland, The Doctors Laboratory for the UK, and (in my case) Northwell Labs for the US and Canada.

These are estab­lished insti­tu­tions we’re talk­ing about. As of May 2019, the Northwell Health net­work is New York State’s largest health­care provider, with over 69,000 employ­ees. As for LetsGetChecked itself, they have over 2,100 reviews on Trustpilot, aver­ag­ing 4.7 stars out of 5.

You might also have con­cerns about con­fi­den­tial­i­ty or whether a sam­ple pro­vid­ed from home can yield accu­rate results. Part of where LetsGetChecked comes in is mak­ing sure:

  1. The com­po­nents meet globally-recognized ISO 13845 stan­dards for med­ical devices
  2. They inform their cus­tomers on best prac­tices for pro­duc­ing and col­lect­ing a specimen
  3. What they’re test­ing for stays intact through the mail­ing process
  4. It’s dis­creet— the cus­tomer’s name isn’t any­where in or on the return package.

More on that in the next section.

Inside the LetsGetChecked Basic 3 STI test kit

[Image: contents of the LetsGetChecked mail-in urine STI test for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis.]

Their pro­duc­tion team pack­ages the fol­low­ing mate­ri­als, cush­ioned, boxed, and wrapped in a non­de­script white envelope:

  • Card with unique alphanu­mer­ic codes and acti­va­tion instructions
  • Labeled test tube with some preser­v­a­tive solu­tion in it
  • Folded urine col­lec­tion cup
  • APRIL 2020 UPDATE: there’s now a pipette so that you can trans­fer a con­trolled amount into the tube!
  • Biohazard enve­lope
  • Pre-paid and pre-labeled mail­ing envelope
  • Pamphlet with sam­ple prep instruc­tions and terms of use

What test kits for other STIs come with

  • 4 lancets, alco­hol wipe, small­er test tube, gauze, bandage 
    • Included with tests for HIV, syphilis, HSV/Herpes Simplex 1 and 2, Hepatitis B and C
  • Cervical swab and test tube 
    • Included with the HPV test

Preparing and mailing your at-home STI test kit

[Image: upon opening the box, you're immediately greeted with your alpha and numeric codes and an instruction pamphlet]

On the cus­tomer end, the process starts with acti­vat­ing the kit online at LetsGetChecked.com with my assigned ID code. That entails mak­ing a password-protected account and answer­ing a stan­dard health ques­tion­naire: age, weight, height, drink­ing, smok­ing, exer­cise, med­ica­tions cur­rent­ly tak­ing, etc.

I also had to write my birth­date and gen­der, but beyond that, it’s anonymized. Everything else in the pack­age iden­ti­fied me by the alpha and numer­i­cal codes.

The instruc­tion pam­phlet is very clear and well-designed, as it should be. Diagrams, bold­ing for empha­sis, strate­gic use of red draw atten­tion to crit­i­cal points. False neg­a­tives and pos­i­tives do hap­pen with any health test, but fol­low­ing the direc­tions gives you the best chance at get­ting an accu­rate result. That means things like:

  • Producing a sam­ple first thing in the morn­ing and before breakfast 
    • If it’s been over an hour since you uri­nat­ed, that’s fine too, but may not be as accurate
  • Thoroughly wash­ing and dry­ing your hands with warm water to avoid contamination
  • Paying atten­tion to the marked lines on the tube and not under­fill­ing or over­fill­ing it
  • Not let­ting any­thing else touch the inside sur­faces of the col­lec­tion cup and test tube

I would have pre­ferred a pipette for slow­er trans­fer, but that’s my only quib­ble about the LetsGetChecked box’s contents.

[Image: my silhouetted hand holding the sample vial and pipette included in the LetsGetChecked at-home / mail-in STI test kit]

UPDATE: More recent­ly, I’ve bought anoth­er LetsGetChecked test kit, and they includ­ed a pipette! Yay for more con­trolled spec­i­men transfer!

Save the code card, pack up the STI test kit, and mail. My most recent return enve­lope shipped via UPS, which allows you to sched­ule pick­ups. You can leave the pack­age out for your mail car­ri­er to retrieve, while main­tain­ing no-contact safe­ty measures.

More on my experience with LetsGetChecked.com

[Image: one of the texts I received from the LetsGetChecked team]

[Image: LetsGetChecked STI test results dashboard]

The LetsGetChecked web­site is high­ly respon­sive and mobile-friendly. I also appre­ci­ate the empha­sis on edu­cat­ing the cus­tomer about what their results mean.

I wish more peo­ple knew that a neg­a­tive STI test result does­n’t mean that you don’t have the infec­tion. It means that the pathogen was not detect­ed. You should con­sid­er retest­ing if it’s been less than 21 days since you were pos­si­bly exposed.

The incu­ba­tion win­dow was over for me, and I test­ed negative.

What happens if you test positive?

They’ll call you by default. Alternatively, you can sched­ule a follow-up call with a nurse to answer your ques­tions in real-time.

For many pos­i­tive STI test results (like gon­or­rhea, HIV, syphilis, HSV), you’ll need to see a doc­tor. I know it’s a bum­mer, but there’s a good rea­son. Some STIs can be cured with a gener­ic and sim­ple course of antibi­otics, while oth­ers can’t.

Treatment for syphilis, for exam­ple, depends on how long the patient has had it and where the infec­tion has spread. HIV and her­pes can be man­aged but not cured — treat­ment is not a one-off thing. And gon­or­rhea is grow­ing increas­ing­ly antibiotic-resistant. Some strains are eas­i­er to kill than oth­ers, but pre­scrib­ing the wrong antibi­ot­ic means risk­ing mak­ing the super­bugs even stronger. It’s a lot more com­plex than del­e­gat­ing a mass-produced test kit.

Other mail-in wellness test kits available

LetsGetChecked offers a con­ve­nient and dis­creet option for STI test­ing at home, but they have oth­er well­ness tests, includ­ing:

  • Male hor­mones
  • Female fer­til­i­ty
  • Organ func­tion – kid­ney, liv­er, thyroid
  • Diseases – Lyme and Celiac disease
  • Vitamins and min­er­als – vit­a­min B12, vit­a­min D, folate, omega, and iron
  • Inflammation – C‑reactive pro­tein in blood
  • Risk of colon cancer
  • Cholesterol

Save 20% off on LetsGetChecked test kits with coupon code SUPER

LetsGetChecked mail-in STI test kit review: Basic 3 (Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, & Trichomoniasis) 2

Shop at LetsGetChecked.com


Disclaimer

Hey! I’m not a med­ical professional.

Also, this post was spon­sored, and there are affil­i­ate links in it. That does­n’t sway my opin­ion of my expe­ri­ence with the ser­vice. Purchases through my links — includ­ing when you buy sex toys — bring me a com­mis­sion at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

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