Daye is a startup based out of the UK that is femcare-turned-gynecological-health that expanded its tampon-based home screening service to add STI testing. The startup is billing this “non-invasive screening” service for sexually transmitted infections as a “world first”. The “STI Diagnostic Tampon” service uses Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing tech to detect the presence of pathogens. Daye is launching with the ability to test for five STIs — namely, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomonas, mycoplasma, and ureaplasma — which were selected because they are the most common STIs. But more tests are planned. Daye tells in a report that its launch of a vaginal microbiome screening service was a success and “it’s had “thousands” of customers for that service — which is a little more complicated to engage with as samples need to be sent back along with an ice pack (and hopefully minimal postal delays) in order that the lab can detect live pathogens”.

The STI test is simpler as the PCR test is looking for genetic material — dead or alive; this type of test doesn’t distinguish — so the user just needs to pop their sample in the extraction solution provided before they post it off for analysis. Daye “sells tampons for regular menstrual use too, of course. But it’s always been interested in doing more with the staple female hygiene product than just catching flow. Its signature product is a CBD-infused tampon for combating period cramps. Though it also sells a “nude” version (i.e. no CBD) — and that core offering is the basis for a growing range of vaginal- and sexual-health-screening services that repurpose the basic tampon as a novel sample collecting device”.

Daye founder Milanova also told TechCrunch that they were not the ones who invented the use of tampons for STI tests, as “U.K. university researchers pioneered menstrual tampon screening back in the 1990s. But Milanova is on a mission to expand the technique’s use and utility — seeing it as a convenient way to help women learn a heck of a lot more about their own bodies from the comfort of their own bathrooms”. Daye also “claims tampons make a better testing device than the swabs or other protocols a patient might be administered at a sexual health clinic or doctor’s office since its test tampons collect more vaginal fluid and cover a larger surface area — so it contends this is both a more accurate way to STI test than a swab and more comfortable than a speculum”.