Learning if you have a sexually transmitted disease may soon be as easy as testing yourself at home.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical School have developed a take-home test kit to find one of the most common STD's...Chlamydia. The Baltimore Health Department distributed the test free to women there as part of the study. It's a simple swab test that women could take home, and then mail to the university for testing. Out of the 400 kits mailed back to the lab, 10% were positive for Chlamydia, and almost all of those women followed up by seeking treatment.
Researchers hope this kind of STD testing will catch on in other communities and allow more people to test themselves regularly. 87% of women who used the kit ordered it on the Internet. They then performed the swab test and mailed back the completed kit to the lab (postage was included with the kit). Researchers said they were able to reach a group of people who do not go to doctor regularly. Only 29% had gone to doctor in past year.
The study was conducted in the Baltimore area. Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. 80-90% of those infected have no symptoms. In the age group 14-19, 18% had tested positive for Chlamydia. In the age group 20-24, almost 10% had tested positive for Chlamydia. In the 25 and older group, 5.6% had tested positive for Chlamydia.
The kit also tested young women for Gonorrhea, of which 3% of respondents tested positive.