Health

Birth Control Delivery Startup Nurx Now Offers At-Home STI Testing Kits

The San Francisco-based company is hoping to lessen the stigma associated with STI screening and prevention

11.07.2019 | by Reve Fisher
Photo by Nurx
Photo by Nurx

Nurx, the company best known for online birth control, emergency contraception, HPV testing and HIV PReP services, is now offering at-home STI exams throughout the US to erase the stigma associated with getting tested. 

“Nurx is uniquely positioned to address the STI epidemic by breaking down barriers to testing and providing a convenient and affordable ‘all-in-one’ experience for our patients, from testing to guidance to treatment,” Varsha Rao, the company’s new CEO, said in a statement.

Customers can choose between three STI testing packages, based on their needs and budget. While all the available kits cost the same for those with health insurance, the price differs for those who need to pay out of pocket. Every kit includes HIV testing to both lessen the stigma associated with the disease and encourage those who usually forego HIV exams to get tested.

“For HIV, for sure the main population that is getting infected are youth, particularly boys of color, then young black women and Hispanic women, and then white women,” Emily Rymland, Nurx’s clinical development lead and nurse practitioner, told Well and Good. “But sometimes statistics bother me.”

While men who have sex with men are traditionally targeted for HIV screenings and prevention, heterosexual women made up 16 percent of new HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2017, with black heterosexual women presenting about two-thirds of those diagnoses. According to HIV.gov, over one million people in the country have HIV, and about 38,000 people received a new HIV diagnosis in 2017.

The Full Control Kit tests for gonorrhea and chlamydia with throat, rectal and urine samples, syphilis, hepatitis C and HIV. It costs $75 with health insurance and $220 without health insurance. The Healthy Women’s Kit covers gonorrhea and chlamydia with throat and vaginal samples, trichomoniasis, syphilis and HIV, costing $75 with health insurance and $190 without health insurance. The Covered with the Basics Kit tests for gonorrhea and chlamydia with urine samples, syphilis and HIV. This kit costs $75 with health insurance and $160 without health insurance.

Nurx believes that comprehensive STI testing needs to address the fullness of most people’s sexual lives.

“Here’s the deal: We have oral sex, and some of us have anal sex, and unless you swab those sites you’re not going to find the infection,” Emily explained. “If you have it in your throat, it’s not going to test [positive] in the urine.”

If users test positive for an STI, Nurx stated that the company will facilitate in-person care and/or will work closely with the patients to determine next steps, such as oral treatment. While the prices for additional tests will vary, each will include a $12 consultation fee, which provides unlimited access to the startup’s medical team.

Based in California, Nurx is available in over 20 US states, Washington DC and the Armed Forces in the Americas, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific regions.

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