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How to spot a fake STI test

Your Sexual Health’s advice to ensure you buy the real thing

There has been over 10,000 fake STI tests seized in the UK since 2015 and many more continue to be listed on online marketplaces. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has warned of the threat that the tests pose to public safety. Many of the tests are likely to give inaccurate results leading to STIs going untreated and spreading at a rapid rate.

Even with a positive result, many of these tests are unlikely to carry enough weight to get you the medication you require. Doctors will often have to test you again before offering a prescription. To help you avoid dodgy tests that may appear on online marketplaces such as Amazon or Ebay we have provided you with these easy to follow tips.

Packaging

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Any medical testing product should come in sealed packaging. It will usually carry the mark of a laboratory or medical testing brand. All elements of the package, such as the swab, vial and urine specimen container should carry the same branding. They should also come with the CE Approval mark which is a vital safety marker.


Many fake tests come in unprofessional packaging. Often they will arrive in a plain zip lock bag or sometimes even a sandwich bag. There may also be a number of elements from various different companies or a lack of branding completely. No safety logo is another tell tale sign the test could be fake.

Instructions

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Tests from genuine companies will always contain instructions that are easy to follow and will usually be printed in colour with illustrations that will help you take the sample properly. There may also be clear notices explaining that failure to follow the instructions properly may result in an inaccurate test. We also have an online video to make the process even more straightforward.


Fake tests will often have difficult to follow instructions that look like they’ve been printed on a home printer in black and white. The quality of English may be poor without any clear illustrations.

Before you buy

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Before you buy your test you should do your research. Genuine sellers will usually be backed up by a website that has thorough information about their products and general sexual health. Do they have a doctor on their website or are they backed by a proper laboratory? Do they have reviews and signage on their website that instills trust, such as TrustPilot, FeeFo or Trustwave. If you’re purchasing the test on an online marketplace do they have reviews?


Many fake tests will not have a trustworthy website to back-up their products. Their seller accounts may have been set-up only recently – something you will be able to tell by looking at their review history. It’s also worth asking, is this a product that should require medical assistance to carry out.

Look at the reviews to see if their customers were happy with the test and their results. Finally, work out if the test will enable you to receive medication. With Your Sexual Health you can gain a prescription when you test positive, not all test providers are the same.