Testing for STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) or STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) are part of being healthy and being responsible for yourself. STD Tests can be quite amazing at putting your mind at ease once you get the negative results. And even if you have a positive STD test, remember that most STDs are curable with treatment. And almost all STDs can cause serious health issues if you don’t detect and treat them early enough. The sooner you find out, the faster you can take care of yourself and your partner(s).
Get tested today at Statcare Urgent Care and Walk-in Clinic. The lab tests for STDs that we use on urine samples or blood samples are highly reliable, unlike the online home test kits or tests done by some labs. You can access the results privately and we can provide treatment options that best suit you.
When is the best time to get STD test?
There is no best time to get STD tests. If you are sexually active, get STD Tests often. At least once every 6 months unless you are in one of the high-risk groups.
You need to take charge of your sexual health because medical providers will not routinely screen you for sexual health. Many will shy away from asking you questions about your sexual habits unless you bring them up at the time of your medical visit.
What do I do if I think I have an STD?
If you think you have an STD, you should get tested by a health professional. The presence of STD symptoms is an indication for you to get tested right away. The symptoms of STD can come and go over time or be so minimal that they don’t bother you. However, it is not an indication that it is going away or has been cured.
All STDs need treatment and many are curable. If you have symptoms, you must see a medical provider right away. Quick intervention can cure the STD at an early stage and also help prevent its spread from person to person.
To know if you have STD, you need to get tested at an urgent care or clinic. All STDs have some overlap symptoms with other STDs. Many have symptoms of regular diseases, such as a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).
STDs fool medical professionals all the time and are often discovered when symptoms persist after initial treatment for other illnesses. Learning about a patient’s sexual history is key to diagnosing STDs. Unfortunately, many medical providers do not routinely ask questions regarding sexual health.
Common symptoms of STDs include:
- Flu-like symptoms (feeling feverish, having body aches, swollen glands esp in the groin or neck, and feeling fatigued and tired)
- Sores, wounds, bumps upon your genitals, inner thighs, or butt cheeks
- Feeling like you have to urinate frequently
- Discharge from your vagina or penis which looks or smells weird
- Irritation or a burning sensation when you pass urine
- Irritation, Itching, pain, and/or swelling in your pelvic area (penis, vagina, vulva, or anus)
Remember, getting tested for STD is the only way for you to know for sure what’s going on with your sexual health. The idea of getting tested for STD might be anxiety-provoking. However, once you get tested, the peace of mind that comes with it will all be worth it.
When to take STD test after exposure
It is not advisable to take an STD test right after exposure since STDs don’t manifest right away after sexual contact. It takes some time for them to show up after exposure has led to an infection.
Different STD tests have different abilities to detect an infection. You will therefore find STD tests range from $24 to several hundred dollars. For example, a good quality DNA amplification test if available, will detect the infection far more reliably and earlier than an antibody test that needs to wait for an immune response.
The window period varies by STD:
- Chlamydia and Gonorrhea: 2 weeks
- Syphilis: 1 week to 3 months
- HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C: 6 weeks to 3 months
- Genital Herpes Type 2: 2 weeks
How soon does STD show up on tests?
How soon STD show up on tests depends on when the test is done. There is what is called a “window period” or an “incubation period” for STDs. The incubation period varies by disease and by your own immune system. Each infection requires a different amount of time to multiply enough inside the body for it to show up when you get STD Tests.
If you get tested without taking the incubation period into consideration, the results you get may be falsely normal. Put in another way, you may have a false sense of security that your STD testing was negative whereas you may in fact be carrying an STD and risk spreading it to your partner, unknowingly.
Should I get an STD test if I have no symptoms?
You should get an STD test if you have no symptoms but are sexually active, have multiple partners, and are aware of recent exposure to someone who has STD. Just because you have no noticeable signs or symptoms does not mean that you have not been exposed to one.
STDs can remain inside your body for months or years without showing any symptoms. Therefore, symptoms are not a good measure of determining your STD status. A person can be infected with and contagious for transmitting Syphilis, Chlamydia, or HIV to any partner and still go undetected for years. One reason is that they have no symptoms at all or their symptoms get mistaken for other common infections, like how chlamydia is often treated as a UTI or a yeast infection.
One common reason for this is that STDs present themselves differently in men than in women. HPV, for example, causes cervical cancer in women but does not affect men as much. Waiting before you have symptoms is obviously not a great strategy for deciding when to get STD Tests.
Can safe sex prevent STDs?
Safe sex can help prevent STDs and STIs. However, the risk factors associated with STDs are still there. Condoms and other barrier methods may reduce the risk of infections that spread from skin-to-skin or as a result of exposure to body fluids like saliva, semen, and vaginal secretions but they do not eliminate them.
Can faithful partners get STD?
Faithful partners can get STDs especially if they are sexually active but the risk is smaller. Many STDs only require a mere skin-to-skin contact or exchange of or contact with body fluids (saliva for example – from kissing, sharing straws, etc). From an STD perspective, routine STD testing is still recommended in all sexually active individuals, even faithful couples and pregnant women.
How do I know if I should get tested for STD?
You will not know if you should get tested for STDs but there are circumstances that should help you decide:
- You are sexually active. Everyone needs screening for STD, including an HIV test at some point (regardless of having just one partner or using safe sex practices).
- Women need to get STD tests for gonorrhea and chlamydia specifically because, unlike men, they can carry these infections without feeling any symptoms.
- You are having a specific concern based on something strange that you see or feel – a symptom, a rash, or another physical complaint that suggests something relative to STDs.
- Your last STD screening was 2-3 months ago and you just want to get STD tests again.
- You have the same sexual partner and are in a monogamous relationship. Regular testing for common STDs is a healthy, highly recommended practice.
- Your partner may be unfaithful and you want to get screened for possible infections immediately.
- You and your partner want to start an intimate relationship and both want to get screened for STDs before you engage in any sexual activity.
When should you retest for STD?
- Whether you or your partner have had a specific STD treated in the past, checking for that specific STD infection as a follow-up strategy makes sense as you are more likely to have that same infection again. It is a good idea to get STD Tests again about 3 months after your treatment.
- Whether you or your partner have a chronic long term infection (HIV, Hepatitis B, or Hepatitis C), frequent checking for that infection is recommended
- People born between 1945-1965 (baby boomers) have no idea about Hepatitis C. There were no tests for it back then. Hepatitis C infection remains a silent untreated infection and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC )recommends all baby boomers to get an STD test for Hepatitis C at least once in their lifetime.
- Whether you indulge in protected or unprotected sex. Some STDs are less likely when you have protected sex and zero body fluid is exchanged. However, when you have unprotected sex with a new partner, whether it is vaginal, anal, or oral sex, you need to get tested for STD.
- If you are in an open relationship or have multiple partners. You will need testing for many STDs with a repeat STD testing every 6 months.
- When you engage in certain behaviors that are considered to be high-risk for coming into contact with Hepatitis C, Syphilis, HIV, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia. High-risk behavior includes men who have sex with men, having any intimate contact with a sex worker, IV drug use, having multiple partners, or one-night stands.
When to get STD Test
Here is a general guideline we use at Statcare. Individual cases and decisions, however, will vary.
|STD||When To Get STD Tests||If Positive, When To Get STD Test Again|
|Chlamydia||1 – 5 Days||2 weeks after being treated.|
|Gonorrhea||2-6 Days||2 weeks after being treated.|
|Syphilis||3-6 Weeks||3 months after being treated.|
|Hepatitis A||2-7 Weeks||Retesting not required. Immunity is lifelong.|
|Hepatitis B||3-6 Weeks.||Retesting in 3 months to see if you developed immunity..|
|Hepatitis C||8-9 Weeks||Retesting in 3 months to confirm the initial results.|
|Oral Herpes Type 1||4-6 Weeks||If you test negative, get re-tested frequently.|
|Genital Herpes Type II||4-6 Weeks||Retesting in 3 months to confirm the initial results.|
|HIV (HIV Antibody Test Method)||1-3 Months||Re-testing depends on re-exposure. Get treatment if you tested positive.|