If the thought of visiting a medical practice gives you overwhelming anxiety but you want to maintain a safe sex life, an at-home test for a sexually transmitted disease (STD) could be the solution. However, before you purchase an at-home test, it’s important to do a little research.

First, make sure the kit you want to purchase has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure its safety and effectiveness. These federally approved kits can be found in online marketplaces or at stores such as Walmart, Target, CVS and Walgreens. To purchase a home STD test, you must be at least 18 years old.

What to expect

Home kits typically screen for one or more sexually transmitted diseases through a urine or blood sample. Some kits require both. The kits come with everything you need to provide the necessary samples. If you purchase a kit, you should follow the instructions included with it, collect the required samples and send them to a lab. Most at-home tests will come with an addressed and postage-paid envelope to