Sorry, You Can Now Use WHAT To Diagnose An STI?

OK, where do we sign up?
Daye's Diagnostic STI Tampon
Daye's Diagnostic STI Tampon

Listen, we all can appreciate that getting checked over for a sexually transmitted infection (STI) can be a bit of a stinker. They can be uncomfortable, a little invasive and STIs still carry social stigma.

It’s never a particularly pleasant experience, though it is a crucial one if you’re having casual sex, enjoying sex with a new partner or if your methods of protection (i.e. condom) fail.

According to data published in 2022 by Bupa, over half of UK women participants had never had a sexual health screening and up to 36% cite embarrassment as a reason for not attending.

Which is worrying, because there has been a 24% increase in sexually transmitted infections compared to the previous year, according to the UK Health Security Agency, and those assigned female at birth (AFAB) are statistically more at risk than men due to vaginal physiology.

This is dangerous, as low rates of testing mean that many women and AFAB individuals may be unaware that they have an STI, as 70% of them are asymptomatic.

If left untreated, STIs pose serious long-term health and fertility risks. For example, chlamydia and gonorrhoea are two of the leading preventable causes of infertility and ectopic pregnancies.

Meanwhile, mother-to-child transmission of STIs can result in stillbirth, neonatal death, low birth weight and other health complications.

Untreated STIs can also lead to chronic pelvic pain and pelvic inflammatory disease.

This is why gynaecological health startup Daye is today expanding its revolutionary tampon-based at-home vaginal microbiome screening kit, which launched one year ago, to include STI screening.

In a world first, you can now use Daye’s tampon-based at-home STI screening kit to find out your status.

Daye hopes that this will help speed up diagnosis and treatment, particularly among patient groups, such as emerging adults, who are too anxious or embarrassed about getting a traditional test.

The launch follows clinical trials with 600 patients.

However, it is still recommended that for a full screening, you undergo a blood test to rule out HIV/Aids and syphilis – and you find out more about free at-home blood tests here.

How does it work?

Daye's STI Diagnostic Tampon
Daye's STI Diagnostic Tampon

Daye’s new STI Diagnostic Tampon will allow people to collect a sample in the comfort of their own home and then discreetly send it to a lab that will test for multiple STIs, returning results within five working days.

Valentina Milanova, Founder of Daye, comments: “Despite living in a world where over a million people get an STI every day, STI testing has chronically low rates post-COVID-19, and as a result, many women and AFAB individuals could have an infection unknowingly because they have no symptoms.

“Our STI Diagnostic Tampon makes STI testing extremely easy, comfortable and discrete. We hope our approach will end the “STIgma”, revolutionise STI testing and lead to a dramatic uptick in the number of women getting checked, helping them protect their long-term health and fertility.”

As part of the service, Daye will also provide personalised aftercare, including prescription treatments such as antibiotics and antivirals, and consultations with sexual health nurses, gynaecologists and fertility specialists.

What does it test for?

The pioneering new “STI Diagnostic Tampon” utilises cutting-edge PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing technology to allow women and AFAB individuals to test for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomonas, mycoplasma and ureaplasma.

PCR technologies have revolutionised the screening and diagnosis of STIs by detecting even trace amounts of genetic material from pathogens.

The specificity of PCRs ensures that false-positive results are reduced, providing a more reliable diagnosis, and it can simultaneously detect multiple pathogens in a single sample.

Used just like a normal tampon, Daye’s unique STI Diagnostic Tampon collects more vaginal fluid than a standard swab and covers a larger surface area, making it more accurate than a swab and more comfortable than a speculum. This means it gets the most comprehensive results possible for common STIs – plus the ones you might not know about.

Daye’s research has found that patients and clinicians alike prefer the use of a tampon over a swab.

The tampon has a smooth sugarcane applicator, and the applicator allows the user to reach their cervix themselves, without a speculum.

OK, but is it safe?

The STI Diagnostic Tampon is MHRA registered, and Daye is certified for the manufacture, clinical validation and post-market surveillance of the Diagnostic Tampon.

So, there you have it. A new tried and tested, safe, shame-free way to check in on your sexual health.