Don’t be duped by a fake STI test

Are there really fake STI tests? Unfortunately, there are, but don’t worry. Read on to find out how to spot them and make sure you don’t fall victim to this scam – and tell your friends.

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Since 2015, more than 10,000 fake tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have been seized; however, the internet scamsters have continued to list them for sale in even the largest online marketplaces. These tests are not reliable, so you can get ‘false negatives’ – where you think your test is negative but actually it isn’t. You have an STI that needs treatment but think everything is fine.

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This is a worrying situation, so here are some things to check if you are suspicious about an STI testing kit that you have ordered.

1. Take a look at the packaging

If the kit comes in a plain Ziploc bag, or even a sandwich bag, you should be suspicious. A testing kit should come in a sealed package with the ID of a medical brand. The NHS has great advice on this.

2. What are the instructions like?

Proper medical companies spend a lot of money making sure their kits contain clear and easy-to-follow instructions. These may be in colour and may contain illustrations. In contrast, be suspicious if the instructions are in poor English, badly explained, and look like anyone could have printed them on a home printer.

3. Does the company have an online presence?

Any proper medical testing company is going to have a website with lots of patient education material. It should describe its lab and testing regime and how it maintains quality standards you can have confidence in. The company should have been reviewed – not by three people, but by at least 20 and preferably more.

Fake test companies are not going to waste time setting up professional websites, as they are out for a quick profit.

When it comes to STI testing London is well served. You can order a self-test kit from a reputable organisation such as www.checkurself.org.uk/plus/ that will give you a true result; however, many people continue to seek out other options because they are anonymous.

For peace of mind, order your kit from STI health professionals so that you can trust the results.

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