FAQs

Confidentiality

Will anyone know that the package in my mail is from IWTK?

Your STI test kit will arrive in a plain, brown manila envelope. Your OraQuick in-home HIV test will arrive in a small, brown corrugated box. If you ordered an STI kit along with an OraQuick, this will be inside the corrugated box. No one will know what is inside by looking at the envelope or box.

If I am under 18, will you tell my parents?

No, we will not contact your parents.

Will you contact my partner(s)?

No, we will not contact your partner(s). You should notify your partner(s) right away if you think you may have an STI or HIV. There are free services that will help you anonymously notify your partner(s). Visit Tell Your Partner for more information. If your chlamydia or gonorrhea test results are positive, we are required by law to notify the health department.

Is the IWTK website secure?

Our website is on a Johns Hopkins University HIPAA compliant server. Your information is secure. Please do your part by logging off and closing your browser after completing your order or checking your results.

STI Testing

How often should I get tested for STIs?

That depends. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has the following testing recommendations:

  • All sexually active women younger than 25 years old should get tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea every year.
  • All sexually active women 25 years old and above with risk factors should also get tested at least once every year for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • All sexually active men who are not in long-term, mutually exclusive relationships with one partner, should consider getting tested at least once every year for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • All sexually active gay and bisexual men should get tested at least once every year for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea and more often (every 3-6 months) if they engage in risky behaviors.
If I had a risky sexual encounter, how soon after should I get tested for STIs?

STIs have ‘incubation periods’ when you may get a negative test result even if you have an infection. This means if you want to know for sure that you have not caught an infection after sex with someone, you should wait long enough before getting tested so the incubation period is over. Here are the incubation periods for some common STIs:

STI Incubation Period
Chlamydia
Kla-mid-ee-a
7-21 days
Gonorrhea
Gone-or-ee-ah
1-14 days
Trichomoniasis
Trick-a-moan-us
7-28 days
Syphilis
Siff-a-liss
2-3 weeks
HIV 2-6 weeks
Hepatitis B 8-22 weeks
Hepatitis C 2-26 weeks

For example, if you had sex with someone who had chlamydia, then your test might not show as positive until 21 days later. This does not mean you should always wait! If someone you had sex with tells you they have been diagnosed with a STI, you should see a health care provider as soon as possible for treatment.

When should I get retested after treatment for an STI?

You should be retested 3 months after completing treatment in case you have a repeat infection.

How will I know that my test results are ready?

When your test results are ready, we will send you either an email or text message, depending on which method you chose when you placed your order. The message will tell you to login and check your results. We will never email or text the results directly to you or share your results with anyone else. This is to protect your privacy.

My test is positive. Do you send the results anywhere and what should I do?

If you live in Maryland or Washington DC, we are required by law to report your positive chlamydia and/or gonorrhea results to the Maryland Department of Health. Also, we report your results to the health clinic or provider you chose when you placed your IWTK order. If you live in Alaska, we report your positive chlamydia and/or gonorrhea result to the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. This reporting is standard procedure with STIs. It does not mean that you are in trouble.

You should contact the clinic or provider you chose right away to get started on treatment. You should tell your partner(s) so that person can be tested and treated too. Finally, you should stop having sex until you and your partner both complete your treatment. We usually recommend no sex for 7 days after you have both taken treatment.

Is it okay to collect my specimens if I have my period?

Yes, this is okay.

If I am transgender, non-binary, or genderqueer, should I choose a male or female test?

We are aware that this may be difficult for you to think about. However, we want to offer you the very best kind of test to diagnose any STI. For you to get the most reliable result you should chose the test kit for the genitals you currently have and add a butt (anal) swab and/or throat swab if you have sex with those parts of your body.

What should I do if I still have symptoms after completing treatment for an STI?

You should visit a health clinic or your health care provider. At IWTK, we do not offer tests for all the different STIs. You may need to be tested for other STIs. Other medical conditions can also cause similar symptoms as STIs.

HIV Testing

How often should I get tested for HIV?

Everyone should get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. If you have risk factors, you should get tested every 3 to 6 months. Some men who have sex with men are at especially high risk and should get tested every 3 months.

How long will it take after a possible HIV exposure for it to show up on an OraQuick test?

It may take as long as 3 months. If you do not wait 3 months and get a negative OraQuick test result, you should retest after 3 months have passed. Blood tests can provide accurate results sooner than 3 months after exposure. You will have to visit a clinic or health care provider for a blood test. Find free, fast, and confidential testing. If you had an exposure to HIV within the last 72 hours you should see a provider urgently as you may benefit from something called HIV PEP.

Do I have to report my in-home HIV test result back to IWTK?

No, you will not report your OraQuick test result back to anyone at IWTK or your health department. If your result is positive, you should visit a health care provider or clinic right away for a blood test to confirm the result. Find free, fast, and confidential testing.

Until you have had confirmation of your test result, you should avoid having sex. Also, talk to your partner(s) about the need for PEP.

Where can I call for help if my OraQuick test is positive?

If you live in Baltimore City and are in crisis, emotionally upset, or thinking of harming yourself or others and need immediate assistance, please call the Baltimore Crisis Response Inc (BCRI) hotline at 410-433-5175. Your call will be answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What is the difference between PrEP and PEP?

PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It is a daily medicine recommended for people who are HIV negative, but are at high risk for getting HIV. If it is taken daily, it is very effective at preventing HIV infection.

PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis. It is an emergency medicine for people who are HIV negative, but may have been exposed to HIV. It must be started within 72 hours of your exposure and taken for 28 days. PEP can stop HIV before it infects you. If you think you have been exposed, see a healthcare provider urgently.

Both medicines are prescribed by healthcare providers. Read more about PrEP and PEP. Do you live in Maryland? Learn more about PrEP and PEP and find a healthcare provider.

If I am an intravenous drug user, will that increase my chances of getting HIV?

Yes, being an intravenous (IV) drug user does increase your chances of getting HIV. The most effective way to prevent contracting HIV from IV drug use is to refrain from using drugs all together. However, there are other ways you can lower your risk of contracting HIV from IV drug use. Read more about lowering your risk for HIV.

General Information

What should I do if my test kit does not arrive within 7 working days?

Contact Us and we will provide a status update on your order.

Can I order a kit now for future use in a few months or even a year?

You should order a kit whenever you think you need to be tested. If you do not need to be immediately tested, we do not recommend that you order a kit.

Can I order a kit for my partner?

No, each person must set up their own account and order their own kit.

Can IWTK provide me with a hard copy of my test results?

Yes, we are able to provide a hard copy. If you want a hard copy, please print one by following the prompts when you login to check your test results.