Learning that you’ve been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as HIV or herpes is frightening.Whether a former sexual partner tells you they are infected or you hear that you will have to get tested it is scary to know you could be at risk.However, it’s possible to check for some STDs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia relatively quickly after infection taking a sensitive urine test – but the STD testing time varies depending on the type of infection.
Any STD evaluation that finds an infection using antibodies can not be accurate for several weeks after exposure.
It can be six months or more before you can expect a negative result.
The unfortunate fact is that STD results take some time.
This article explains which diseases and STD tests take the longest time for an accurate result and which are the quickest – and why.
Why You Have to Wait
Many STD Tests, especially those for viral STDs like herpes and HIV, don’t look for the infection itself.
Instead, they observe your body’s response to the infection, especially your antibody reaction.
When you’re infected or exposed to an STD, your immune system will attempt to fight off the pathogen.
Part of this procedure involves making antibodies against the infectious agent.
These antibodies are specific to whatever you’re infected with.
That is how a blood test can look for antibodies to some particular STD and tell whether you have it. But these antibodies take time to develop, which is why the STD testing time takes longer than is ideal.
How Long Does an STD Blood Test Take?
The earliest test may have a chance of recognizing an antibody response is two weeks.
That’s true for tests that look for a particular early sort of antibody called IgM.
Several antibody tests look for IgG, which takes more time to develop.
Additionally, even an IgM test cannot be counted on to be accurate at this early stage after infection.
Within the first few months, there’s a substantial risk of false-negative test results (results that inform you that you don’t have the disease when you actually do).
This risk goes down with time. By six months after infection, many people will turn positive on an antibody test.
Because of this, antibody testing is not appropriate for people who are worried they might have been exposed to herpes or HIV.
If that is the case, then consult with your doctor about which sort of testing may be ideal.
Once you take a test, the turnaround time for test results also varies. Some infections have an STD testing time of an hour. Other STD results may take up to two weeks to come in.
This varies by what test is used and what facilities the office of your doctor has.
Some doctors will need to send out urine and blood samples to be analyzed.
Others can run the tests in-house. These factors may have a significant impact on STD test result time.
What Should You Do If You Can’t-Wait?
If you have recent exposure to HIV, specialized testing might be available.
These critical tests are designed to detect a new disease. However, not all doctors will have access to these tests.
They might want to send you to some more specialized clinics or laboratories.
If you think you’ve been exposed to herpes and have symptoms, visit your physician as soon as symptoms appear. Antibody tests need some time to become accurate.
If your physician can conduct a viral culture in your sores, you can get results a lot sooner.
To get a viral culture to work, your doctor needs to have the ability to isolate the active virus out of your sores.
There is a short window when that’s possible after the start of an outbreak.
If you are examined after your sores have started to heal, there is a chance of a false-negative test.
Your doctor can offer you a diagnosis based upon the appearance of your outbreak.
What an STD Panel Tests For
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Discomfort in genitals
- Flu-like symptoms
- Genital itching
- Genital burning
- Pressure in the abdomen
- Vaginal discharge in women
- Swollen lymph nodes