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uBiome Launches Women's Home Screening for HPV, STIs and Bacterial Vaginosis

SmartJane is a new women's health test released from uiBiome today that promises to check 23 vaginal flora as well as 11 strains of the human papillomavirus and a series of sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea in the comfort of your own home.

uBiome, launched in 2012 to sequence and study the human microbiome, is best known for its home intestinal health test, SmartGut. This test can sequence the DNA in your well to determine what is happening in your digestive tract.

The SmartJane test goes in the same direction in that it can detect and genotype any trace of HPV to determine the strain and know with what type of healthy or unhealthy bacteria you work …

The genetic component is what distinguishes this test from other home-based STD tests available from startups like MyLabBox or Everlywell. Although these tests work the same way – you order online and then send it to a certified lab to get results – genotyping organisms that could live between your female parts can help determine the severity of the strain .

You can also go to a clinic or doctor's office to get tested for STIs like HPV. However, the uBiome kit includes some tests that are not readily available in other tests at home or common to physician offices such as Mycoplasma genitalium, which is an asymptomatic STI that can cause unexplained infertility.

"Often people are tested when there is evidence of infertility, but it is too late," said Dr. Jessica Richman, founder of uBiome at TechCrunch.

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uBiome has collected thousands of samples over five years in a peer-reviewed study and claims a precision of almost 100 percent in the detection of these diseases. The startup now publishes a scientific article on its discoveries

As with its original intestinal health test, uBiome processes SmartJane tests in a CLIA Certified and CAP accredited laboratory and sends the results to its HIIPA compliant website. People receiving results indicating an infection are then asked to speak to their doctor or the external clinical care network of uiBiome for further instructions.

Dr. Richman insisted that the SmartJane test was not meant to replace the tests that you could get from a doctor's office, but was rather something to help you continue the tests without needing to go back there.

It could also encourage women to be screened for some life-threatening STIs such as HPV. There are more than 170 strains of the virus, but only a few cause fatal cancer if left untreated. However, less than 80 percent of women in the United States go to their OBGYN for regular Pap screening. A home test can eliminate some of the worry and stress associated with using a cervico-vaginal smear (the commonly used method for collecting cells to screen for HPV).

In fact, women are more than twice as likely to self-test as going to see their doctor first, according to a meta-analysis of 10 studies.

"What we are doing is making it easier to get new tests that are better than what is available on the market," Dr. Richman said.

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Interested persons can either request the test through their doctor or go online and order the test through the ubiome.