What is it?
Home tests – also called self-tests or home-use tests – are typically sold over the counter and allow users to test self-collected specimens and interpret the results on their own without the help of trained health professionals. There are also types of at home-collection tests that require patients to collect samples at home, mail them to a laboratory or clinic for analysis and obtain the results later.
Most recently, market growth for at-home testing has been spurred by the global Covid-19 pandemic. However, FDA-approved home tests have existed in the US for the detection, diagnosis, or management of various health conditions for several years.
Home tests have many applications. According to the FDA, some examples include:
- Detecting possible health conditions when you have no symptoms, so that you can get early treatment and lower your chance of developing later complications such as Covid-19, cholesterol testing, and hepatitis testing.
- Detecting specific conditions when there are no signs so that you can take immediate action and seek care such as pregnancy testing.
- Monitoring conditions to allow frequent changes in treatment such as glucose testing to monitor blood sugar levels in diabetes.