Home Test Kit FAQs

What is the kit?

The FREE 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 or wherever they feel comfortable! 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 a County 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 kit on this website 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 Alameda County Department of Public Health 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 FREE Don’t Think Know Home Test Kit is being offered by the Sexually Transmitted Disease Control and Prevention Unit of the Alameda County Public Health Department.

Who should use the kit?

The FREE home test kit is for females in Alameda County ages 12 to 25 who are sexually active or have had sex in the past. Women of this age group are at the highest risk for chlamydia and gonorrhea. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines say sexually active women age 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 symptoms and don’t know they are infected. However, these diseases can cause serious problems if left untreated. The kit is best for women who want to test at home instead of going to a clinic. If you are having symptoms of an STD, DO NOT ORDER THE KIT, instead go to a doctor or clinic right away to get checked.

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 I Know Alameda hotline at (510) 268-2110 or email us at Alameda@DontThinkKnow.org if you have any questions.

What if I am older than age 25?

If you are older than age 25 and have had unprotected sex or have a new partner, it is still important to get tested for STDs. Unfortunately, you cannot get a test kit through the Don't Think Know website. Please visit a clinic or doctor to get tested. If you need help finding a clinic near you, use our clinic locator, call the I Know Alameda hotline at (510) 268-2110 or email Alameda@DontThinkKnow.org.

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 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.

What does the test kit package 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 on this website or watch the home test kit video.

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:

DTK Alameda
1000 Broadway, Suite 500,
Oakland, CA 94607

If you do not want to get the test kit mailed to your home you can get it sent anywhere in Alameda County. For example, you can ask for it to be mailed to you at a youth center, your work, a trusted friend’s house, or the office of a school nurse or counselor. You should 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 and confidentiality 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 the I Know Alameda hotline at (510) 268-2110 or email Alameda@DontThinkKnow.org.

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. This email or text message will not contain your results it will just let you know that it is time to log back on to your secure account on this website to see your results.

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 or not. Your privacy and confidentiality are extremely important to the Alameda Public Health Department , 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 symptoms, at least at first. However, if you are having symptoms of an STD, DO NOT ORDER THE KIT, instead go to a doctor or clinic right away to get checked. If you need help finding a clinic near you, use our clinic locator, call the I Know Alameda hotline at (510) 268-2110 or email Alameda@DontThinkKnow.org.

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. If you need help finding a clinic near you, use our clinic locator, call the I Know Alameda hotline at (510) 268-2110 or email Alameda@DontThinkKnow.org.

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 instructional brochure that helps you use the test. There is also a video on this web site that shows you how to take the test.

Is the 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 the 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, 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. Call the I Know Alameda hotline at (510) 268-2110 or email us at Alameda@DontThinkKnow.org for assistance. The home test kit is just another option for you to use. If you are having symptoms of an STD, DO NOT ORDER THE KIT, instead go to a doctor or clinic right away to get checked.

What if I’m on my period?

You should wait a couple days after your period has finished before doing the test.

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 the I Know Alameda hotline at (510) 268-2110 for assistance.

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 the I Know Alameda hotline at (510) 268-2110 for assistance.

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 on this website or call the I Know Alameda hotline at (510) 268-2110 for assistance.

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

Please order another test kit on this website or call the I Know Alameda hotline at (510) 268-2110 for assistance.

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. You can go to your regular doctor, or use the clinic locator on this website to find a 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 or clinic right away, when you go for treatment. 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 Alameda Public Health Department and that you need treatment.

If you are not able to print your results, call us at (510) 268-2110 or email us at Alameda@DontThinkKnow.org. Let us know which doctor or clinic you are going to for treatment and we’ll send them your test results via confidential fax.

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