Pre-exposure prophylaxis, also known as PrEP, is a new and effective way to help prevent getting HIV infection. Our PrEP Box helps you keep track of your sexual and personal health conveniently from your home when you are taking PrEP medication.
Please note that myLAB Box physician affiliates do not currently issue or renew PrEP prescriptions. You will need to take your lab results to your doctor who will evaluate if you can start taking PrEP or renew your prescription if you are already taking PrEP. If you have any more questions about PrEP after reading details below, please check with your doctor.
What is PrEP?
PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a once-a-day prescription pill for people who do not have HIV infection and want to decrease their chances of getting HIV infection. PrEP is both safe and effective in helping prevent HIV infection, especially if someone is at increased risk for HIV exposure.
Which PrEP Panel is right for me?
If you’re currently taking PrEP, the PrEP Box can provide the required STD and personal health laboratory testing required every three months to continue taking PrEP. Our PrEP test kit allows for convenient home sample collection without having to visit a doctor’s office or clinic. Renewing your PrEP prescription every three months requires having specific tests done. All of these required tests are included the PrEP Box.
What does the PrEP Box include?
There are two types of PrEP boxes. The PrEP Baseline Box is used when you are about to start PrEP. It includes all the necessary tests:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Chlamydia (rectal and genital)
- Gonorrhea (rectal, oral and genital)
- Pregnancy test (women only)
The PrEP Follow-up Box makes your three-month follow-up testing as easy as possible by delivering the PrEP Box to your doorstep when your three-month follow-up testing is approaching. The PrEP Follow-up Box includes all tests in the PrEP Baseline Box except for Hepatitis B & C.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is an infectious disease that can spread through contact with bodily fluids or blood from an HIV infected person. HIV is tested using a dried blood spot to perform a 4th generation antigen/antibody test. This is a highly accurate test and can be positive as soon as about three weeks after exposure.
Please keep in mind, HIV-positive individuals are not eligible to take PrEP. If a PrEP user becomes HIV positive, PrEP usage should stop immediately and begin antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV infection. For more information on HIV, click here.
Hepatitis B (Baseline Box only):
Hepatitis B (Hep B) is an infectious disease that can spread through sexual contact and cause liver damage. Although contracting Hep B is unlikely since most people are vaccinated for this infection, testing for Hep B is still required before someone begins PrEP. The PrEP Baseline Box is the only time you will need to test for this infection. Hep B testing uses dried blood spot to detect antibodies the body makes to fight against Hep B and is widely used to find out if a person is infected or not. If you’d like to learn more about Hep B, click here.
Hepatitis C (Baseline only):
Hepatitis C (Hep C), like Hepatitis B, is also an infectious disease that can spread through contaminated blood or sexual contact and can cause liver damage. Hep C is also only tested once for those about to start PrEP through our PrEP Baseline Box. Just like Hepatitis B, Hep C testing uses dried blood spot to test for antibodies the body makes to combat the infection. If test results are positive for Hep C, confirmation testing is required using blood drawn from the arm rather than a dried blood spot. Interested in learning more about Hep C? Click here!
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can spread through sexual contact with painless sores called chancres. These sores are located mainly on the external genitals. The infection can also spread via syphilis in the anal area and the lips/mouth. Pregnant women with syphilis can infect the fetus leading to congenital syphilis. A dried blood spot is used to screen for syphilis antibodies to help find out if someone is positive for syphilis. The PrEP Follow-up Box can help detect syphilis early so you can be treated promptly. A positive screening test for syphilis requires a confirmation test using blood drawn from the arm rather than a dried blood spot. For more information, click here.
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that can spread by having unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Chlamydia is detected using DNA testing from a rectal swab. Chlamydia is a very common STD, many people don’t usually show visible symptoms. That’s one of the reasons it is important to have three -month follow-up testing when on PrEP. For more information on chlamydia, click here.
Gonorrhea is another common bacterial STD included in the PrEP box. Gonorrhea can spread through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Testing for this STD uses gonorrhea DNA detection from the oral and rectal swabs. Since gonorrhea is very common and most people often don’t show symptoms, follow-up testing every 3-months is required for PrEP users. Learn more about Gonorrhea by clicking here.
Creatinine is a waste product the human body makes from normal muscle breakdown and is filtered through the kidneys and excreted in urine. This blood test measures your level of creatinine which can help show how well your kidneys are functioning. Though very unlikely, one of the side effects of taking PrEP is having slightly increased levels of creatinine. To be on the safe side, creatinine levels are measured routinely while taking PrEP.
A number of symptoms associated with the flu may be early signs of HIV. These include:
- swollen lymph nodes (generally in the neck)
Other possible symptoms are muscle and joint pain, sore throat, and ulcers in the mouth or on the genitals. Some people also experience night sweats and diarrhea.
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. The virus can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. The human body cannot get rid of HIV. Once you have HIV, you have it for life.
No safe and effective cure currently exists, but with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. Antiretroviral therapy or ART can dramatically prolong the lives of many people infected with HIV and lower their chance of infecting others. Before the introduction of ART in the mid-1990s, people with HIV could progress to AIDS in just a few years. Today, someone diagnosed with HIV and treated before the disease is advanced can have a nearly normal life expectancy.
Who should have an HIV test?
The CDC recommends that screening for HIV should be performed routinely for all individuals aged 13-64.
Why is a blood spot test better than oral fluid?
The myLAB Box test service uses a self-collected finger stick blood mailed to a qualified lab. According to the CDC, blood based testing finds infection earlier than testing using oral fluid; Up to 1 in 12 infected people may test false-negative with tests that use oral fluid.
For more information about HIV visit the CDC website.
The myLAB Box HIV test system
You are in control – The myLAB Box telemedicine HIV counseling and testing service is designed for use directly by consumers.
Accurate – Clinically proven to be over 99.9% accurate. Testing with blood provides greater accuracy than testing with oral fluid because blood contains higher levels of antibodies (Lancet Infectious Diseases 2012; 12:373-380). In clinical trials, the myLAB Box HIV test system was 100% sensitive and 100% specific.
Discreet – You can test and receive results from home or on the go without the need to drive to a clinic or visit a doctor’s office.
Telemedicine – Access to professional STD councilors and physicians in your state via telemedicine is free of charge if you ever test positive using our service.
Timely – Your results are available 2-5 days after you mail back your sample (excluding weekends and holidays).
Easy – A non-invasive, simple fingerstick sample is all that is needed
How our HIV test works
Besides being fast, convenient and accurate, the myLAB Box HIV test system is easy to use. Each test kit comes with detailed instructions and illustrations.
Throughout the testing process, professionally trained counselors are available to provide assistance and to answer your questions.
To protect your privacy, the entire test and consultation can be conducted from home.
1. Order online
You begin by purchasing an HIV test kit from our website or our many partners. Expect it to arrive at your doorstep within 2-5 days in a discreet package.
2. Collect your sample
Using the retractable safety lancet provided, you prick your fingertip and place drops of blood on the blood specimen card included in the test kit. You only need enough blood to fill a circle the size of a dime.
3. Ship it back
Your blood sample is protected by an enclosed weather resistant protective pouch which is placed in a self-addressed, pre-paid shipping envelope (included). Your sample is shipped directly to an accredited laboratory.
4. Laboratory analysis
myLAB Box tests your sample via our CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act) certified laboratory partners. Many of the individual components of our tests are FDA cleared and all tests have been fully validated according to state and federal guidelines (which include CLIA and College of American Pathologists (CAP) standards). Our laboratory only uses the most current methods that are proven to have the highest level of accuracy for clinical diagnostic testing. At the laboratory, your blood sample is tested by experienced technicians using the exact same test ordered by doctors’ offices, hospitals and clinics, ensuring greater than 99.9% accuracy.
5. Check your results
The results of your HIV test will be available in your HIPAA secure online account within 2-5 days from mailing back your sample to us. You can easily download a written copy of your lab-certified results by clicking n the “Download” button next to your test result.
6. Post-test counseling
You can receive post-test counseling by sending a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. IF you ever test positive using the myLAB Box HIV test service, your telemedicine physician consultation is completely free of charge.
HIV and AIDS FAQ’s
Q: What is AIDS?
A: AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is a disease that limits the body’s ability to fight infection. A person with AIDS has a very weak immune system, turning normally mild diseases into potentially fatal conditions.
Q: What is HIV?
A: HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that causes AIDS.
Q: How can you tell if someone is infected with HIV?
A: Only with a blood test. A person can be HIV-infected for many years with no signs of being sick.
Q: Why should I get tested for HIV?
A: There are many reasons why you should consider taking an HIV test. Whether it is entering a new relationship, switching birth control, reassurance for a healthy pregnancy, or concern, getting tested for HIV can help foster peace of mind, regardless of your test result. Today more than ever before, medical treatment is helping thousands of people infected with HIV lead healthier, active lives.
Q: Who is most likely to become infected?
A: Anyone can become infected with HIV. HIV is transmitted sexually, through drug use by contaminated needles and during pregnancy from an infected mother to her unborn child. It can also be transmitted by breast feeding.
Q: What is unprotected sex?
A: Sex without a latex condom or other barrier methods. HIV is found in semen, vaginal fluids and blood. HIV can enter the body through any type of sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal and oral sex.
Q: What are the ways to prevent or reduce exposure to HIV?
A: The best way to reduce risk is to always use a latex condom correctly for all sexual intercourse. Quitting is the best prevention if you are using injectable drugs but if that isn’t an option, always use a sterile needle.
Q: What about pregnancy?
A: Pregnant women can prevent or dramatically reduce their chances of transmitting the virus to an unborn child through specifically prescribed drug treatments during pregnancy. As a measure of protection, it is especially important for pregnant women to be tested for HIV as soon as possible.
HIV Test FAQ’s
Q: What exactly is an HIV antibody test?
A: The human body makes antibodies to fight infections. If you become infected with HIV, your body creates HIV antibodies. Just like doctors’ offices and clinics, we test your blood for HIV antibodies.
Q: How soon do these antibodies show up?
A: In most infected people, the antibodies will show up in the blood within six weeks to 3 months. But in some people, it might take up to six months. This is important because the test cannot detect recent infections. For example, if you became infected in January, you may not test positive until June.
Q: Is the myLAB Box test anonymous?
A: No. Health regulations require that you provide your name to order and process the test, however, we never share your information with insurance providers or partners.
Q: How is my order packaged and shipped?
A: Orders placed through our website are processed and shipped within 24 hours from order.
Q: How does it work?
A: It’s easy! Order online, then collect a blood spot sample by following the instructions included in your kit. (If you have questions, you can call our toll-free number for assistance.) Ship your sample back to our laboratory for processing and log back in to check your results.
HIV Test Results FAQ’s
Q: What does a negative result mean?
A: It means that HIV antibodies were not found by a laboratory in a particular blood sample.
Q: Can I test negative and still be infected?
A: Yes, because it takes some time for your body to produce HIV antibodies, there is a period of time when recent infections may not be detected.
Q: What does a positive result mean?
A: It means that HIV antibodies were found by the laboratory in a blood sample and the individual providing that sample is infected. That individual can pass the virus to someone else.
Q: What does an indeterminate result mean?
A: It means a laboratory could not confirm the presence of HIV antibodies in a blood sample. It could mean that an individual may be in the process of converting from being negative to being positive. It could also be due to other medical factors. It is recommended that the individual be re-tested.
Q: What does an insufficient result mean?
A: An insufficient result refers means that HIV antibody testing could not be performed on the blood sample that was sent to the laboratory. This happens most often because there was not enough blood to test.
Q: How accurate is the myLAB Box home HIV test?
A: Our HIV test is doctor recommended and designed to provide you with a scientific test result that you can trust. Our lab partners use the same processes in tests run by doctors and hospitals and your results are clinically proven to be over 99.9% accurate. They score 100% in sensitivity and specificity tests.
Q: When can I get my results?
A: With myLAB Box you can enjoy fast results. Your test results will be ready in 2-5 days from mailing in your sample.
Q: How are results given?
A: You retrieve your results by logging into our secure online portal.
Q: Can I get a copy of my results in writing?
A: Yes, you can download a lab-certified copy of your results directly from your myLAB Box account.
myLAB Box offers at home collection tests with mailing to the laboratory. The performance of these tests on your samples complies with all state and federal regulations regarding laboratory testing.