If you’re sexually active and often have unprotected sex, you must get tested for STD. When you are potentially exposed to it, it’s natural to think that the next step is to get tested. Indeed, that is correct; however, you need to be mindful of the timing.
Once you’ve been exposed to or infected with a STD, it’s highly likely that you won’t get a positive result immediately. This is because there is a window period before you get an STD test. The window period is the phase between exposure and accurate detection in the system.
When is the Best Time to Get Tested for STD?
How soon you can get tested for STD will be based on the window period. This is because different types of STDs and tests are involved in the process.
There are tests that can detect the actual pathogen, while other tests monitor the body’s immune response to fight the pathogen. The latter usually takes longer to detect.
Here are some guidelines based on specific STDs:
- Chlamydia: The disease may show up in your system in one day, but the best time to get tested is at least five days after your exposure. Then, have a test done again after two weeks to ensure you’re free of the infection.
- Gonorrhea: You can get tested for this type of STD six days after possible exposure. Similar to other STDs, you need to get tested again after treatment.
- Hepatitis A: It usually takes up to seven weeks for hepatitis A to appear in the blood.
- Hepatitis B: It takes three to six weeks for hepatitis B to show up in your system. In some cases, some people won’t show any symptoms until at least three months after the exposure.
- Hepatitis C: It takes up to nine weeks to show up in the blood. Unlike hepatitis A and B, there is a cure for hepatitis C. Therefore, you need to get a retest to determine if the infection has left the body.
- Herpes: There are two types of this STD—oral and genital. You can get tested after six weeks from the day of exposure.
- HIV: It takes one to three months for the body to produce antibodies before your testing is accurate.
- Syphilis: It can take up to six weeks after exposure for the infection to show up.
If you tested positive for STD, don’t panic. There are various treatment options that will help you feel better. In some types, you can even totally eliminate it from your system.
However, keep in mind that STDs often don’t cause symptoms, albeit common. In the case that you experience symptoms, get tested, but be aware of the window period to ensure you get more accurate results.
There are many facilities that offer testing, even if you don’t have insurance. In general, for most types of STDs, you can get yourself tested within two to four weeks after the sexual contact. You need to give your body enough time to develop sufficient antibodies that can be detected.
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