Home Test Kit FAQs
ABOUT THE KIT
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 sample from the vagina, a tube to put the swab in and an envelope for mailing it back. The swab is tested at the San Francisco Department of Public Health Laboratory. Results are available online or by phone one week after mailing back the kit.
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 is already paid for and stamped on a pre-addressed envelope. The County of San Diego's Health and Human Services Agency is providing this test for free because chlamydia and gonorrhea are serious threats to the health of young women in our community.
Who is offering the kit?
The Don't Think, Know home test kit is being offered by the County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency, HIV, STD and Hepatitis Branch of Public Health Services, with support from the California Department of Public Health, STD Control Branch and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Who should use the kit?
The kit is for females, aged 25 and under who are sexually active and live in San Diego County. Women of this age group are at the highest risk for chlamydia and gonorrhea. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines say sexually active women aged 25 or younger should get tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea at least once a year, every year. Anyone who has had unprotected sex, or had a condom break, can get chlamydia and gonorrhea. Most women don't have any signs or symptoms and so don't know they are infected. However, these diseases can cause serious problems if left untreated. If you think you are having symptoms of an STD, we strongly encourage you to go to a clinic right away, instead of ordering the kit.
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 the best test available.
What does the test kit package look like?
The test kit will arrive in the regular US mail in a plain 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 on this website or watch the home test kit video.
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 San Diego County, or call (619) 692-KNOW (5669) or email SanDiego@dontthinkknow.org.
Is the test safe?
Yes. The only thing that touches your body is the cotton swab. This test has been used safely in the U.S. for several years.
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.
WHO IS THE TEST FOR?
Can men use this test?
No. This test uses a vaginal swab so, at this time, is only available for women.
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 (619) 692-KNOW (5669) or email SanDiego@dontthinkknow.org if you have any questions.
What if I am older than age 25?
If you are older than aged 25, and have had unprotected sex or a new partner, it is still important to get tested for STDs, but unfortunately you can't do so through the Don't Think, Know program. Please visit a clinic to discuss this with a medical provider. Click here to find a clinic near you.
I had chlamydia or gonorrhea before and was cured – do I still need to get tested?
You can get chlamydia and gonorrhea again and again. Even if you get treated you can still be infected again. If you're sexually active and aged 25 or younger, you should get tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea once a year, and whenever you have a new sex partner.
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 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 San Diego County, call (619) 692-KNOW (5669) or email SanDiego@dontthinkknow.org.
Can't I just go to a clinic or my doctor to get tested?
Yes, absolutely! You can go to your regular doctor, or use the clinic locator on this website to find a free or low-cost clinic near you. 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.
HOW DOES DON'T THINK, KNOW WORK?
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 ordered it, call us at (619) 692-KNOW (5669) or email SanDiego@dontthinkknow.org.
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. This email or text message will not contain your results. You must log on to your secure account on this website to see your results.
How do I get my test results?
You will receive an email and/or text message (you decide when you sign up) when your results are ready, about one week after you mailed back the kit. Then you can log on to this website using your password (or call us) to learn your results. Your test results will be kept private and only you will be able to see them.
I am worried my parents or other household members will notice the test kit in the mail.
The test kit comes in a plain 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 have it sent anywhere in San Diego County. For example, you can ask for it to be mailed to you at a youth center, your work or a trusted friend's house. 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 experienced staff will always ensure your privacy on any call.
Who can get my test results?
USING THE KIT
How will I know how to use the kit?
Is the test painful?
No. You should not feel any pain when you take the test. You simply swirl a cotton swab in your vagina for several seconds. That's all there is to it.
What if I'm on my period?
You should wait until your period has ended before doing the test.
I used the swab and put it in the tube, but haven't mailed it back 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 dispose of the entire kit and order another test kit.
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 cotton swab, you can still mail it back. Otherwise, please dispose of the entire kit and order another test kit.
I forgot 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.
I accidentally dropped the swab on the floor, what should I do now?
Please dispose of the entire kit and order another test kit.
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 visit a clinic to get treated right away. Use our clinic locator to find a clinic near you. Both chlamydia and gonorrhea are usually treated with a single dose of medicine. This medicine may be given to you at the doctor's office or clinic right away, when you go for treatment, or you may be given a prescription which you will need to fill as soon as possible. It's important not to have sex for a full week after you and your sex partner(s) have been treated. Once your infection has been treated, you will need to be re-tested in 3 months.
Will my doctor or clinic know what to do with my test results?
You should print out your test results from this website and take them with you when you go for treatment. The printed results page will explain to the doctor that you tested positive for chlamydia and/or gonorrhea using an approved home test provided by the County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency and that you need treatment.
What is the treatment for chlamydia and gonorrhea?
Both chlamydia and gonorrhea are bacterial infections and are usually very easily treated. You can find detailed information about treatment on The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website. The medicines for chlamydia and gonorrhea take a full week to work so it is very important that you finish all your recommended treatment and you and your partner wait 7 days after you have finished your treatment before having sex again.
What about my partner(s)?
If you have been diagnosed with chlamydia and/or gonorrhea, it is very important that all of your sexual partners are treated as well, or you they could re-infect you. If possible, bring your partner(s) with you when you go to the clinic for treatment so they can get tested and treated themselves at the same time. If this is not possible, then ask them to go on their own at another time. If your partner is unable to make it to a clinic at all, ask the doctorif you can get medicine to give to your partner(s) (this is often called Patient-Delivered Partner Therapy or PDPT).
What if I test negative?
If any of your tests come back negative, that means that you did not have that infection at the time you took the test. If you have since had a new sexual partner or unprotected sex, you should take another test (order another kit here) or visit a clinic. Remember, using a condom every time will reduce your risk of getting chlamydia or gonorrhea as well as other STDs and HIV!
If you have any questions that were not answered here, please call (619) 692-KNOW (5669) or email us at SanDiego@DontThinkKnow.org.