Screening for sexually transmitted infections at home or in the clinic?

Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2011 Feb;24(1):78-84. doi: 10.1097/QCO.0b013e32834204a8.


Purpose of review: The aim is to assess the evidence in support of home-based versus clinic-based screening for sexually transmitted infections.

Recent findings: Home-based screening for sexually transmitted infections has been shown to be a feasible approach for men and women from a variety of settings, including high-risk, low-income, and resource-poor communities. In recent studies, the testing rate with home-based screening was up to 11 times greater than the testing rate with clinic-based screening. For most individuals, self-collection and testing of urine or vaginal specimens at home was considered to be easy, acceptable, and often preferred over testing at a clinic. There is limited evidence with regard to the cost effectiveness of home-based versus clinic-based screening for sexually transmitted infections. However, a study from the United States concluded that home-based screening is cost saving.

Summary: Improvements in screening rates for sexually transmitted infections can be achieved with home-based screening methods. Making low-cost home test kits available may encourage at-risk young individuals with less access to clinic care, who may not otherwise be screened, to self-test for sexually transmitted infections.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care Facilities*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Point-of-Care Systems*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Specimen Handling / methods*
  • United States