While it may seem strange, it would be best to wait a few weeks or even a month to get tested, depending on the STD you've been exposed to. While gonorrhea can take two to six days to show up on a test, it can take up to three months for HIV. The antibody test uses a sample of blood or saliva to look for antibodies to HIV. It takes longer to get a reliable result, 23 to 90 days after exposure.
A person can be sure that they do not have HIV if they get a negative test result during the waiting period and have no subsequent contact with someone who may have the virus. If you have symptoms, the STD has passed its incubation period and will test positive. However, beyond this general principle, there are specific periods of time during which you should get tested for each STI. The correct STI test depends on many factors, including medical history, sexual history, risk of exposure, and previous history of STI testing.
If you want to get tested for gonorrhea, also consider getting tested for chlamydia, since these two STDs usually occur together. Nick is proud to be able to help eliminate the stigma of STI testing through his writing and always tries to advocate for the importance of sexual health. It can be difficult to understand all this information and decide when to get tested for each STD. It's important to consider these time intervals because if you get tested before it starts, you could get a false-negative STI test result, according to the CDC.
If those tests come back negative, a follow-up test for HIV and syphilis a few months later can give you peace of mind. You can also stay safer if you talk openly with your sexual partners about your STD status and sexual history and get tested regularly. HIV RNA tests have shorter incubation periods than HIV antibody tests because they look in the blood for the presence of the HIV virus itself and not for antibodies to the virus. Window periods can provide useful information when deciding how long you should wait to get tested for STDs.
That's why it's important to get tested for STDs within a certain amount of time after having unprotected sex, even if you don't have any symptoms of infection.