Home Test Kit FAQs

What is the kit?

The Don't Think Know Home Test Kit is a simple way for women to test for chlamydia and gonorrhea in the privacy of their own home.  The kit includes a swab for taking a test sample from the vagina, a tube to put the swab in, and an envelope for mailing it back. The swab is tested at the Los Angeles County Public Health Laboratory. Results are available online or by phone one week after mailing back the kit.

Who is offering the kit?

The Don't Think Know Home Test Kit is being offered by the Sexually Transmitted Disease Program at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Who should use the kit?

The kit is for females, ages 12 to 25 who are sexually active and live in Los Angeles County.  Women of this age group are at the highest risk for chlamydia and gonorrhea. National CDC guidelines say sexually active women age 25 or younger should get tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea at least once a year. Anyone who has had unprotected sex can get chlamydia and gonorrhea.  Most women don't have any signs or symptoms and don't know they are infected.  However, these diseases can cause serious problems if left untreated.  If you think you are having signs or symptoms of an STD, we strongly encourage you to go to a clinic right away, instead of ordering the kit.

What if I am under 12 years old?

If you are younger than age 12 you must go to a clinic with your parent or guardian to get an STD test in California.  Call the STD hotline at 1-800-758-0880 if you have any questions.

What if I am older than age 25?

If you are older than age 25 and worried about having STDs, you should visit a clinic to discuss this with a provider. Find a clinic near you or call the STD hotline at 1-800-758-0880 for assistance.

I had chlamydia or gonorrhea before and was cured - do I still need to get tested?

You can get chlamydia and gonorrhea over and over. Even if you got treatment you can still get infected again. If you're sexually active and age 25 or younger, you should get tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea once a year, and whenever you have a new sex partner.

What test is used in the home test kit?

The test used in this kit is the APTIMA-Combo 2, made by Gen-Probe.  The APTIMA Combo 2 tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea, and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.  APTIMA-Combo 2 is a "NAAT" test, which means Nucleic Acid Amplification Test.  NAAT technology is the most sensitive available.  It can detect an infection from a sample containing a single chlamydia or gonorrhea bacterium.  While no test is 100% accurate, this test is highly accurate and reliable, and is in fact the best test available.

How much do the kit and test cost?

Both the kit and test are 100% free.  There is no cost to you for ordering the kit or taking the test.  Simply order the test on this web site and you will receive everything you need for taking the test in the mail.  Even the postage for mailing the test back to us is already paid for and stamped on a pre-addressed envelope.  The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is providing this test for free because chlamydia and gonorrhea are serious threats to the health of young women.

What does the test kit look like?

The test kit will arrive in the regular US mail in a white 8 1/2 x 11 inch envelope.  Nothing on the envelope will show what is inside.  For more information you can look at the test kit instructions brochure.

I am worried my parents or other household members will notice the test kit in the mail.

The test kit comes in a plain white envelope.  Nothing on the envelope will show what is inside.  The return address on this envelope will look like this:    
 
If you do not want to get the test kit mailed to your home you can get it sent anywhere in Los Angeles County.  For example, you can ask for it to be mailed to you at a club or youth center, your work, a trusted friend's house, or the office of a school nurse. You might want to let someone at these places know you are expecting an envelope, so they are sure to save it for you.

Why do you need my phone number?

If you test positive for chlamydia or gonorrhea, we will call you if you haven't picked up your results a week after they were available.  We will also call you a week after you got your results to see if you got treated or if you need any help finding a clinic.    Your health is important to us and we want to make sure that if you have an infection, it is treated.   These are the ONLY reasons we would use your phone number. Our staff will always ensure your privacy on any call.

How long will it take for me to get the kit?

You should receive the home test kit 3 to 5 days after ordering it on this web site.  If you have not received your test kit a week after you order it, call us at 1-800-758-0880.

How do I get my test results?

Your test results will be available on this web site or by phone.  Your test results will be kept private and only you will be able to see them.  In order to get your results on this web site you must use the password that you set up when you ordered your test kit.

How long will it take to get my test results?

Test results will be ready about one week after you mail back the test kit. When you order your test kit, you can ask for an email or text message to be sent to you to tell you when your results are ready.

Who can get my test results?

Only YOU can access your test results. We can't release your results to your parents or sex partners without your permission. In fact we can't even tell them whether you have been tested of not.  Your privacy and confidentiality are extremely important to the Department of Public Health, and we take protecting your privacy very seriously. You will need the password you set up to view your test results. For more information, see our privacy policy.

What if I have symptoms of an STD (feel sick)?

Most STDs have no signs or symptoms, at least at first.  However, if you think you do have signs or symptoms of an STD, you should go to a doctor or clinic as soon as possible. Use the clinic locator on this web site to find a clinic near you in Los Angeles County, or call the STD Hotline at 1-800-758-0880.

Will this test also tell me if I have other STDs, like HIV?

No, this test only checks for chlamydia and gonorrhea in the vagina.  It does NOT test for HIV, syphilis, HPV, herpes, or any other STD. If you want a test for HIV or any other STD, or if you think you might have been exposed to chlamydia or gonorrhea in the anus or throat (from anal or oral sex), you should go to a clinic and get checked.  Use the clinic locator on this web site to find a clinic near you in Los Angeles County, or call the STD Hotline at 1-800-758-0880.

How will I know how to use the kit?

This test is very simple and easy to use.  The test kit comes with step-by-step instructions to help you use the test.

Is this test painful?

No.  You should not feel any pain when you take this test.  You simply swirl a cotton swab in your vagina for several seconds. That's all there is to it.

Is this test safe?

Yes. The only thing that touches your body is the cotton swab. This test has been used safely in other parts of the U.S. for several years.

Can't I just go to a clinic or my doctor to get tested?

Yes, by all means! You can go to your regular doctor, or use the clinic locator on this website to find a clinic near you, or call the STD hotline at 1-800-758-0880. The home test kit is just another option for you to use.  If you think you have symptoms of an STD you should see a doctor.

I got the test kit a while ago but have not used it yet. How long is it good for?

If the cotton swab and the tube are still unopened, and the expiration date on the tube has not passed, you can still use the kit. Otherwise, you should order a new home test kit.

I used the swab and put it in the tube, but didn't mail it yet. How long is it good for?

The swab can be tested within 2 weeks after it is placed inside the tube.

I broke the foil seal to the collection tube, what do I do now?

Please order another test kit on this web site or call 1-800-758-0880.

I spilled the fluid out of the collection tube, what do I do now?

As long as there is enough fluid left in the tube to cover the tip of the cotton swab, you can still mail it back.  Otherwise, please order another test kit on this website or call 1-800-758-0880.

I forget to put the label on the collection tube before I mailed it.  What do I do now?

The lab will not be able to test a swab in an unlabeled tube. Please order another test kit on this website or call 1-800-758-0880.

I accidentally dropped the swab on the floor, what should I do now?

Please order another test kit on this website or call 1-800-758-0880.

What if I test positive for chlamydia or gonorrhea?

If either of your test results comes back positive this means that you have that STD. You will need to get treated right away.  Use the clinic locator on this website to find an STD clinic near you. Both chlamydia and gonorrhea are usually treated with a single dose of medicine.  Often this medicine is given to you at the doctor's office right away, when you go for treatment. It's important not to have sex until you and your sex partner(s) have been completely treated.  Once your infection has been treated, you will need to be re-tested in 3 months.

Will my doctor know what to do with my test results?

You should print out your test results and take them with you when you go for treatment.  The printed results page will explain to the doctor that you took a home test provided by the Department of Public Health and that you need treatment.

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