February 14, 2023
STD/HIV home specimen collection kits offered by mail
MOBILE, Ala. — The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has renewed the STD/HIV home specimen collection kit program for 2023. ADPH’s Division of Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention and Control has partnered with BINX Health to offer residents STD/HIV home specimen collection kits by mail.
“Those individuals who feel they may have symptoms of a sexual transmitted illness, abnormal discharge, sores, or told they have been in contact with a person who has a sexually transmitted illness should follow up with their primary care provider,” said Dr. Kevin Philip Michaels, Health Officer of Mobile County. “If they don’t have one, many urgent care clinics, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and our Southwest Public Health Center Clinic are available to evaluate and treat.”
The purpose of the initiative is to promote STD/HIV sample collection and laboratory-based testing among individuals at home to strengthen the STD/HIV prevention and control program in Alabama. One in two sexually active young people will get an STD before age 25, and most will not be aware of it. Home sample collection and laboratory-based testing allow people to test for a sexually transmitted infection or HIV, find out their result in their own home or other private location, and be connected to care as appropriate. This program has helped increase awareness of STD/HIV infection for people who would not otherwise get tested and has reached persons most affected.
Specimen collection kits are mailed to the patient’s home and contain supplies to collect urine, swab samples, or blood from a fingerstick. The kit is then mailed to the lab in a prepaid envelope. Results are returned to the clinician who follows up accordingly. This laboratory-conducted test is sensitive enough to detect HIV infection within 2-3 weeks of exposure.
“The availability of home collection kits and testing is great step in knowing your status and getting treatment,” Dr. Michaels said. Other prevention steps would be use of condoms, monogamous relationships, or abstinence.
Specific information about requesting a test, test results, treatment and follow-up can be found at https://adph.mybinxhealth.com/
In September 2022, MCHD converted the space located at the back of the Southwest Mobile Health Center (5580 Inn Road in Tillman’s Corner) into the Southwest Public Health Center. MCHD offers confidential, walk-in testing for sexually transmitted diseases including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and HIV.
Services are available on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call the Southwest Public Health Center at 251-410-4393.