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Are Home STD Testing Kits Worth the price?

Home STD Testing Kits vs Urgent Care Clinics

 

Are Home STD Testing Kits Worth the price?

In-home medical tests such as pregnancy test, blood pressure/glucose levels tests are generally considered to be affordable and have been accessible to the general public for quite some time now. In-home STD testing is a somewhat newer concept and still relatively expensive with manycomprehensive FDA-approved testing kits costing upwards of a few hundred dollars. Today, most experts believe that you can get reasonably accurate results from home based STD kits. With the widespread availability of home STD testing kits in and around pharmacies in our local areas of Watertown, Newton, Brookline, Cambridge, Waltham and greater Boston areas, we believe that there is absolutely no shortage or accessibility issues at play which prevent their use.

However there are some major caveats when it comes to STD testing at home that have become apparent to us after helping hundreds of patients through the years. Don’t get us wrong. Like most medical practitioners, we genuinely believe that empowering people to simply “know” more about their current state of health is a great thing. We fully support the use of affordable in home medical tests in certain instances including testing for pregnancy.

However we have seen many misconceptions in our patients and hope to distill our years experience to address some of them. We hope that after reading this article will consider our urgent care clinic for STD testing and treatment as a viable and affordable option.

Cost

The biggest misconception surrounding a doctor’s visit related to STD testing is that of cost. This comes as a surprise for most people simply because we are constantly bombarded with news about the rising cost of healthcare and unexpected bills associated with ER visits. The negative news doesn’t help highlight the fact that walk-in urgent care clinics like ours offer very affordable rates to the general public for medical services. A board certified doctor’s consultation, full medical exam, history etc. barely costs a hundred dollars in most urgent care clinics such as ours. The reality is that for non-emergency care, patients have a choice, they can call around to check prices. That fact alone ensures that urgent care clinics like ours keep prices as low as possible.

In fact, we at AFC Urgent Care Watertown MA are so confident in our ability to provide affordable healthcare services to our community that we publicly list all our prices on everything from a doctor’s consultation to the individual tests that we perform. Our prices make visiting a doctor a very compelling choice when compared to in-home STD testing kits that can cost hundreds of dollars. Many of our patients themselves have pointed out that the price difference between some of the higher quality FDA approved home testing kits in the market and a physician’s consultation at our clinic plus lab quality testing is simply not enough to justify any risks they need to take.

And the risk of missing something important is very real when viewing healthcare as a DIY project. Consulting a board certified physician with your individual concerns along with a full examination and medical history is perhaps the biggest piece of mind many of our patients can buy. Our staff treats tens of patients every day and they have seen everything from major complications to minor issues that can make individuals uncomfortable. It’s a no-brainer that having that extra piece of mind of professional medical treatment is worth any marginal difference in price.

Anxiety

Once again we understand this more than anyone. STDs can seem like a difficult topic to discuss. The number one hurdle to overcome for patients is simply talking to us without fear. Whether it is the fear of being judged, labeled careless or simply the unknown, it can prevent patients from seeking help especially when they need it the most.

The allure of doing everything in the privacy of your own home might look unbeatable in this regard BUT, and this may sound counter intuitive once again, most of our patients are genuinely glad they overcame that fear. Think about this for a moment. Many patients with STD related concerns can feel that they have no one to talk to without judgment. They feel alone and isolated. Additional stress and anxiety builds up by them repeatedly Googling newer and potentially unrelated symptoms. In that situation, not only does one need an expert but also friend to say “you’re going to be alright.” No home STD kit can do that.

That is precisely why we take the view that our doctors and nurses should always be on your side when you need support. Like the best of friends we aim to get straight to bailing you out, without making you feel that you messed up. Your health and well being are what matter the most to us which is why we operate a judgment free facility where you can walk in anonymously and get tested/treated today. We’re proud to be one of the most well rated STD testing clinic and urgent care facilities in our areas of Watertown, Cambridge, Brookline, Belmont and Waltham and hundreds of unsolicited Google Reviews can attest to how well we have served members of our community.

All you have to do is to overcome that initial fear and walk in. We’ll take care of the rest and make sure to eliminate any unease you may have.

Reliability and Followup

This is where things get extremely problematic when comparing in-home STD testing and a doctor’s visit with professional lab quality testing. Most people who have a friend or family member working as a medical professional know very well how hard they train and then work to serve their community. Mistakes are costly and not tolerated in healthcare especially when they are in routine tasks. When talking about STD testing kits, we have to make many assumptions about kits being used correctly and precisely as the manufacturer intended. We have to then assume that a self-testing kit is “easy” to use and that a person is confident about which one to use, has read the complete fine print about it (hopefully more than a YouTube video review), read the associated procedures, and is absolutely sure that s/he can follow procedures (take blood samples etc.) without causing additional harm. Even if we assume all of the above, lab testing still remains more reliable and safer due to concerns of quality of testing equipment, sterility and contamination.

Most importantly people buying in-home STD kits often don’t consider what they intend to do with the results if, just in case, they test positive for an infection. Clearly, searching online for a tutorial to manufacture a home remedy is not advisable. Pharmacists simply cannot dispense medicine without a doctor’s prescription no matter what the results say. In addition, simply taking a print out of the in-home results to a doctor is likely not going to save the cost of actual lab tests that most doctors are required to perform as per their protocols. In such cases any savings on a costly home STD testing kit (remember that some FDA approved kits aren’t as cheap as dollar-store pregnancy tests) is completely negated by the subsequent cost of lab re-testing, the additional delay in treatment and the risk of developing complications during the wait.

Your health. Your Decision.

At the end of the day it all comes down to your choice. We feel that for most patients who are considering these kits, the major issues stopping them from seeking professional grade medical care and lab quality results are pricing and/or anxiety associated with walking into a doctor’s office. However both these concerns are addressed by the fact that STD testing kits are just tests – and somewhat expensive tests for that matter. They are not advice, treatment, professional oversight, guidance or support when you need these things the most.

If you live in our local area of Watertown, Cambridge, Newton, Brookline, Waltham, Belmont around Boston, and are considering purchasing a home testing kit, we welcome you to compare our pricing and read more about our STD testing and treatment services. You can also read our reviews to see what other have to say about our clinic and decide what the right course of action is for you.