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Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are common. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1 million STIs are acquired every day across the globe.

Syphilis is one of the most common STIs. In the United States, 133,945 new cases were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2020.

Anyone who is sexually active can contract an STI. Getting tested regularly helps you maintain your sexual health and get treatment quickly if needed.

At-home testing has revolutionized the process by delivering easy-to-use testing kits to the privacy of your own home. Syphilis is easily detectable through a blood test.

Here are the best at-home tests for syphilis.

Syphilis is an STI that can be transmitted from person to person by direct contact with a syphilitic sore, called a chancre. These sores are often found on or around the genitals or in the mouth.

The infection can be transmitted during vaginal, anal, or oral sex, or during pregnancy from mother to child.

Because the symptoms are similar to many other conditions, a majority of people who have syphilis don’t realize they have it.

Symptoms of syphilis

The first symptom is a painless, firm, and round sore that appears at the point of infection. While it can be firm and round at first, it usually becomes an ulcer. For many people, this is the vagina or anus, which can make it difficult to notice.

These sores last around 3 to 6 weeks. When not treated with antibiotics, syphilis can progress into its secondary stage. This stage usually involves skin rashes that don’t itch and mucous membrane lesions in the mouth, vagina, and anus. You may also experience a skin rash, fever, swollen glands, weight loss, hair loss, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches.

Syphilis is sometimes called the great imitator, so keep in mind that the symptoms you experience can often be mistaken for something else.

There are four main stages of syphilis. Each has its own symptoms and concerns. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms associated with syphilis, get tested as soon as possible.

The four stages of syphilis are:

  • Primary syphilis: This is the initial stage. Symptoms include painless, firm, and round sores.
  • Secondary syphilis: Symptoms include skin rashes, headaches, fever, sore throat, and patchy hair loss. Rashes on the palm and soles of the feet is a major indicator of secondary syphilis, though it is not always present.
  • Latent syphilis: This stage is associated with no visible signs or symptoms. Without treatment, latent syphilis can last for years.
  • Tertiary syphilis: This is the severe stage of syphilis. While rare, it can be fatal and can damage organ systems, including the brain, nerves, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints. Effects may not occur for 10 to 20 years.

If you’ve been sexually active with someone recently diagnosed with syphilis, get tested as soon as possible. Additionally, if you receive a syphilis diagnosis, make sure to let your partner know so they can get tested as well.

You can also report the syphilis infection for contact tracing and to prevent further outbreaks through the CDC by checking your state’s guidelines.

According to the CDC, some people are a higher risk of developing syphilis and should undergo routine testing:

  • pregnant people
  • people with a partner who is positive for syphilis
  • sexually active men who have sex with men
  • people living with HIV

Routine STI testing, including syphilis testing, is also recommended for:

  • people who have had sex with multiple people without using a condom or other barrier method
  • people with a partner who has had sex with multiple people without using a condom or other barrier method
  • sex workers

Talk with your doctor about whether you should be tested for syphilis or any other STIs.

Deciding on an at-home STI test may be stressful. To help make your decision easier, we considered the following when choosing products to feature:

  • Customer reviews: Healthcare is personal, but it helps to know you’re not alone. We read through user reviews to help narrow down our search.
  • Certified labs: We made sure that the companies listed are reputable and safe. They use Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved laboratory tests or labs certified by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) and College of American Pathologists (CAP).
  • Variety: We looked at how quickly results arrive, how discreet the packaging is, various price points, and how accurate the tests are known to be.

A note about at-home test results

The at-home test kits recommended below have gone through our vetting process and have passed. In general, however, at-home test kits aren’t a reliable substitute for visiting your primary healthcare professional.

At-home tests aren’t all-encompassing and don’t consider your personal or family history. They may not test for features or cultures that a healthcare professional might.

The tests listed below are recommended for use under a healthcare professional’s supervision.

An important note: Don’t change your medication based on your at-home test kit results before consulting with your doctor. Always consult your doctor before changing your medication.

Best affordable option

Everlywell

  • Price: $69, accepts health savings account (HSA)/flexible savings account (FSA) payments
  • Type of test: finger prick
  • Results: 3–5 days

Everlywell tests come with easy-to-follow instructions, materials for sample collection, and prepaid shipping in discreet packaging. Additionally, each test is reviewed by a board certified physician in your state.

Once your results are ready, you’ll get an email with a secure link to check them out. At that point, you’re free to print your digital results.

If your test results are positive, Everlywell will grant you a free consultation with a physician in its network to discuss treatment and answer any of your questions.

All Everlywell labs are CLIA certified, so they have met the standards set by the federal government. Learn more about Everlywell here.

Use code “HEALTHLINE25” for 25% off.

Best value pack

LetsGetChecked

  • Price: $149–$249, accepts HSA/FSA payments
  • Type of test: finger prick and urine sample
  • Results: 2–5 days

LetsGetChecked has more than 30 testing options covering a range of issues like diabetes, thyroid levels, and sexual health. Tests are sold at CVS locations nationwide. The company offers four at-home STI tests, two of which include syphilis:

  • Standard 5 ($149) tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, HIV, and syphilis.
  • Complete 8 ($249) tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, HIV, syphilis, Gardnerella, mycoplasma, and ureaplasma.

Both tests require a finger prick and urine sample on an empty stomach. The company offers prepaid shipping labels and recommends returning your items with the sample on the same day you received the test.

All samples are processed in CLIA and CPA accredited labs to ensure accuracy. Your test results will be available online within 2 to 5 days. LetsGetChecked has nurses on demand 24/7 to explain your test results and possible treatment options. Learn more about LetsGetChecked here.

Best service for follow-up

Nurx

  • Price: $150–$220
  • Type of test: finger prick and urine sample
  • Results: within 7 days

Nurx provides three user-friendly kits that cover commonly contracted infections. The test kits include free unlimited messaging with Nurx medical professionals, shipping, and results. Test options include:

Nurx accepts insurance. It will either bill your plan directly or you can pay out of pocket. Unlike the other brands, Nurx does charge a $15 medical consultation fee. However, Nurx medical professionals can prescribe antibiotics.

The catch is that the Nurx syphilis test can’t differentiate between a new syphilis infection and an infection in the past that was treated. So, if you’ve had syphilis before, you’ll need to take a different type of test to detect a new infection. Learn more about Nurx here.

Best for individual syphilis testing

myLAB Box

  • Price: $89–$499, accepts HSA/FSA payments
  • Type of test: finger prick
  • Results: within 8 days

myLAB Box offers various all-inclusive, at-home STI kits, two of which test for syphilis.

myLAB Box is certified by the CLIA and CAP, making it a reliable testing company that meets federal standards. The tests offered are:

  • Syphilis Test ($89). You can purchase any of the STI tests individually for $89.
  • Uber Box ($199). This kit tests for seven major STIs, including syphilis, HIV 1 and 2, hepatitis C, HSV-2, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis.
  • Love Box – Couples’ Kit ($499). myLAB Box offers a discount if both members of a couple want to get tested. Each kit comes with tests for syphilis, HIV 1 and 2, hepatitis C, HSV-2, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. Methods to obtain a sample include a vaginal swab, urine collection, and a blood test.

If your test results are positive for syphilis, you qualify for a free same-day consultation with a physician to be evaluated for treatment.

Best discreet option

iDNA

  • Price: $68, accepts HSA/FSA payments
  • Type of test: finger prick
  • Results: within 7 days

This brand has a wide array of at-home STI tests, including singular tests that range from $68 to $88. An at-home syphilis test costs $68 and arrives at your door in an unbranded mailer that allows for privacy.

The company uses an ELISA assay to detect antibodies. This means that if you’ve had positive test results for syphilis in the past, your results will remain positive. This test can’t differentiate between a new syphilis infection and an infection in the past that was treated.

The iDNA lab is CLIA certified and CAP accredited. You’ll receive your results via a private, secure online portal. If your test results are positive, you’re eligible for a free retest in which you only have to cover shipping and handling. You can take your positive result to your primary care physician for treatment options.

TestType of testPriceResults
Everlywellfinger prick and urine sample$69, accepts HSA/FSA payments3–5 days
LetsGetCheckedfinger prick and urine sample$149–$249, accepts HSA/FSA payments2–5 days
Nurxfinger prick and urine sample$150–$220 within 7 days
myLAB Boxfinger prick$89–$499, accepts HSA/FSA paymentswithin 8 days
iDNAfinger prick$68, accepts HSA/FSA paymentswithin 7 days

The decision to get tested for syphilis at-home versus in-person really depends on many factors. At-home tests can be more convenient, discreet, and comfortable. But you may prefer in-person testing if you have unusual or worrying symptoms, need results immediately, or have sores or lesions.

While at-home tests use the same methods as in-person tests with comparable accuracy, going in person may offer you peace of mind. After all, it can be stressful collecting your own lab samples.

Syphilis is relatively easy to treat and cure when caught early. Your doctor will likely prescribe penicillin, an antibiotic that kills the host organism. If you’re allergic to penicillin, your doctor may recommend another antibiotic.

The early stages of syphilis require a single dose of penicillin. If you’ve had the infection longer than 1 year, you may need more doses.

The only recommended treatment option for pregnant people is penicillin.

Symptoms of penicillin

After the first dose of penicillin, you may experience:

  • chills
  • fever
  • nausea
  • headache

These symptoms usually go away after a day.

It’s important to finish the full course of antibiotics, even if your symptoms get better.

After treatment

After treatment, your doctor may recommend that you:

  • Get tested for STIs.
  • Notify past sexual partners so they can get tested for syphilis and start treatment if needed.
  • Schedule regular blood tests and exams to make sure you’re responding properly to treatment.

How often should I get tested?

The CDC recommends that adults routinely get tested for syphilis if they’re:

  • pregnant
  • sexually active men who have sex with men
  • living with HIV and are sexually active
  • taking PrEP for HIV prevention

Are STI tests accurate?

Because most companies work with CLIA- or CAP-certified laboratories, these at-home tests are just as accurate as in-person screenings.

However, because you’re administering your sample collection, there’s more room for human error.

Most companies claim that their tests are anywhere from 95 to 98% accurate.

It’s always a good idea to visit your doctor regularly as at-home kits don’t replace in-person checkups.

How long should I wait before getting an STI test?

As soon as symptoms arise, get tested. The quicker you get tested, the sooner you can begin treatment.

Are at-home STI tests better or worse than in-person tests?

At-home test kits are simply easier for many people. They’re often more affordable and can save you a lot of time, as many medical practices are booked up to months in advance.

A lot of people feel more comfortable testing for STIs at home, too, as they may be embarrassed or uncomfortable talking with their doctor about their sex lives.

Are STI tests covered by insurance?

A lot of the kits available are covered by insurance and accept HSA and FSA payments. If someone does not have health insurance, the health department does free STI screenings.

How do I know if I should get tested?

If symptoms arise and you want to be proactive with your sexual health, it’s best to order an at-home test immediately. These tests take less than a few minutes and can help soothe your worries and plan next steps.

Is syphilis rare?

Syphilis is relatively common. In fact, syphilis has been on the rise in the United States in recent years. The CDC reported that during 2020, there were 133,945 new cases of syphilis.

What are the symptoms of syphilis?

The most common symptom of primary syphilis is a small, painless sore near the point of infection.

Symptoms of secondary syphilis may include:

  • a skin rash
  • fever
  • swollen glands
  • weight loss
  • hair loss
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • muscle aches

At-home STI testing has made it a lot easier to get near-instant results from the privacy of your own home. With syphilis being as common as it is, it’s nice to know there’s a wide array of trustworthy companies to choose from.

However, at-home tests are not always 100% accurate, so it’s best to talk with your doctor as a follow-up to your results.

Iman Balagam is a writer based in Houston, Texas. When she’s not laughing at her own jokes, or buying overpriced chia pudding, she can be found reading fiction novels, catching a spin class, doomscrolling through TikTok, or waiting for her delayed Spirit flight to board. You can see more of her work on her website.