Beyond the Bedroom: Unraveling the Implications of FDA Approval for At-Home STI Tests

Jan 17, 2024

The FDA has recently granted approval for the first at-home self-test for gonorrhea and chlamydia, marking an important moment in sexual health awareness and accessibility. The development has sparked a crucial conversation around the regulation of at-home sexually transmitted infection (STI) tests, its potential impact on consumers, and what might happen to smaller brands on the market.

At Home Testing Kit

The Regulatory Landscape

While at-home STI tests have been available through telemedicine companies and major pharmacy chains for a few years, their regulatory status is uncertain. Tests based on samples not taken in a lab, otherwise known as in vitro diagnostic products (IVDs), don’t require FDA approval. A proposed amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act aims to increase oversight of both lab developed tests (LDTs) and IVDs. Consumers would be able to have greater confidence in the safety and efficacy of these tests, knowing that they have undergone rigorous FDA approval. 


A range of concerns about the potential impact of new FDA regulations have been raised by sexual health advocates, owners of gay dating apps, those offering free at-home HIV and STI testing, and biotech companies. Going through the FDA approval process can be an expensive and time consuming process. Some are fearful that this might pose a financial barrier for small brands, forcing them out of the market and limiting consumer choices. Another fear is that stringent regulations could actually hinder public health initiatives, leading to decreased accessibility to testing and undermining efforts to address STI prevalence and transmission. 

Leaving People Out

Another concern is the limited scope of the FDA-approved test, which focuses solely on STI exposures from vaginal intercourse. Public health experts emphasize the need for approval of tests for oral and rectal gonorrhea and chlamydia infections, as well as for syphilis. This broader coverage is crucial for reaching diverse and high-risk populations. 


While the FDA's approval of an at-home gonorrhea and chlamydia STI test marks progress in sexual health awareness, it also raises valid concerns about the potential consequences of increased regulation. It is essential to ensure product safety and while maintaining accessibility. As discussions continue, it's imperative to address the needs of all populations and public health initiatives to ensure that regulations support, rather than hinder, the broader goal of promoting sexual health. Check out for more information about STIs and to find a testing location near you!

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