How many of your loved ones do you think put off having a PAP test? How many of your loved ones do you think don’t have access to a family doctor and therefore don’t have regular screenings done? How many loved ones do you think avoid doctors due to a number of valid reasons like trauma, fear of dismissal, judgment or discrimination? Enter the Eve Kit, the Canadian-designed at home STI and HPV test.
The importance of HPV/STI screening is not recent, and new developments like the Gardasil vaccine help prevent the Human papillomavirus, the virus responsible for almost 70% of cervical cancers. However, vaccines don’t eliminate the need for regular screening. The screening method for HPV, along with STIs, is a known deterrent for many people who have a cervix. The PAP testing method isn’t the most fun or comfortable – but everyone’s experience will always be different.
The Eve Kit is easier though – it looks like a tampon, and works very similarly. By inserting the tip like a tampon and turning the handle until it stops, a sample from close to the cervix is collected. The user will then mail the sample back to the lab. Results are available online and can be accessed via a private portal.
Despite the at home accessibility and the ability to order the kit without a prescription, there are still barriers. For example, if a positive result comes back and the person does not have a family doctor, they still need to seek healthcare, most likely from an after-hours clinic. Eve Kit also doesn’t test for non-STI infections like yeast infections or UTIs. The kit costs $85 dollars which is a huge barrier for lots of folks and still will force people to seek clinic care. It is not a perfect system – yet. False results and the requirement for follow ups after being treated for an STI make the process somewhat complicated for a host of reasons. It doesn’t mean you never have to look at another set of stirrups again, it means you CAN complete part of your screening process at home.
Even with obvious barriers, making HPV and STI testing even a little more accessible is a positive step forward and can help knock down a few healthcare hurdles. Thinking of my own home province, there is a huge rural population, which means people sometimes have to travel up to 150 kilometers to see a doctor. Plus, there as a very long wait list for a family doctor. My own doctor is in an entirely different city, so the ability to test at home and send him the results means I can save myself from having to take a half-day off work for a 15 minute test.
Right now the Eve Kit is undergoing a private launch via indiegogo.com in the hopes of eventually making the kit as accessible as possible. The designer of the kit was inspired after finding out many of her friends avoided screening due to the ‘awkward’ feeling. Eve Kit should not be used during pregnancy or mensuration. Results from the kit take about a week. Note that the Eve Kit is currently not available in the United States.
For more information, go to evekit.com, where you can pre-order and find more info. The Eve Kit is expected to be shipping in Fall 2016.