When to get Tested for a STD

If you are sexually active, you may wonder if you need a STD test. Anyone that is sexually active, even with only one partner and regular condom usage, should be tested. Many infections exist without any symptoms, which can be spread from one person to another and cause health complications, specifically among women. Once you are in a monogamous relationship testing does not need to be performed as often.

If you are having unprotected sex or would like to with a new partner, it’s important that both parties get screened for an STI. If you have had a recent sexual encounter and did not use protection, and are worried about a possible infection, it may be tempting to get a test right away. Unfortunately, many tests can not detect infections quite so easily. Generally, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea can be detected within a week or two after exposure. Syphilis can be tested for as early as 1 week while Hepatitis can be detected after six weeks. To test for HIV, the body needs to build up antibodies to test for the disease, which can start as early as 6 weeks. However, there is a new RNA test that is able to successfully detect the virus as early as 9 days after exposure. Herpes is trickier. There are 3 types of tests for Herpes. If you have sores on your genitals or mouth, there is a culture test which will get accurate results. If you do not have any sores, the other two tests can determine based on antibodies in your system, which unfortunately, is not accurate until 4 months after exposure.

You should also be tested if you are involved in a risky relationship. This includes having an intimate partner with long-term infections like Hepatitis or HIV. If you or your partner are not monogamous, you should also be tested often, about ever 6 months or so.

You should also be tested if you have sexual encounters with sex workers, gay or bisexual men, or have several sexual partners. Remember that STDs can be spread through any sexual orifice, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. You should also be tested if you use IV drugs.

Sometimes infections can re-emerge after the initial infection. If you have ever had an STI in the past, you should be tested again, around 3 months since being treated.

Lastly, if you have symptoms of any STD, you should be tested immediately. Be sure to check our STD Knowledgebase for symptoms, and schedule your STD test with us today.