There are an estimated 20 million new sexually transmitted diseases and infections every year, and half of all Americans will contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) during their lifetime. Getting tested for STDs is essential if you are going to engage in unprotected sexual activity. Anyone who engages in unprotected sex runs the risk for exposure to sexually transmitted diseases.
The Right Time to Test for STDs
The timing for when to get STD tested varies depending on the sexually transmitted disease because the incubation time in everyone’s system varies. Check out the list below for information on when to get tested for the most common sexually transmitted disease:
|STD Name||How Soon to Get Tested; Why That Time-Frame?||If I Test Positive, Do I Need to Get Retested After Treatment?|
|Chlamydia||24 Hours - 5 Days||Get tested again 2 weeks after treatment to ensure that you are clear of the Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria.|
|Gonorrhea||2-6 Days||Get tested 2 weeks after being treated to ensure that you are clear of the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria.|
|Syphilis||3-6 Weeks||Get tested again after 3 months to ensure that you are clear of the Treponema pallidum bacteria.|
|Hepatitis A (HAV)||2-7 Weeks; the hepatitis A virus averages a 28-day incubation period.||Retesting is not necessary, since Hepatitis A is a virus, and remains in your system for life.|
|Hepatitis B (HBV)||6 Weeks; hepatitis B can occasionally be detected as early as 3 weeks after exposure, but for more accurate results we recommend getting tested after 6 weeks.||Retesting is not necessary, since Hepatitis B is a virus, and remains in your system for life.|
|Hepatitis C (HCV)||8-9 Weeks||Get retested after 3 months to confirm your initial test results.|
|Oral Herpes (HSV-1/Herpes I)||4-6 Weeks||If you tested negative, get retested frequently if you have unprotected oral sex or come in contact with Herpes 1 fluids like saliva or semen.|
|Genital Herpes (HSV-2/Herpes II)||4-6 Weeks||Even if you tested negative for Genital Herpes, it is advised to retest after 3 months to confirm the initial results.|
|HIV (HIV Antibody Test Method)||1-3 Months||Retesting is not necessary, since HIV is a virus and remains in your system for life. Seek treatment if you test positive for HIV.|
|HIV (HIV RNA Test for early detection)||9-11 Days||Retesting is not necessary, since HIV is a virus and remains in your system for life. Seek treatment if you test positive for HIV.|
Take control of your sexual health by arming yourself with knowledge. Protect yourself, avoid risky behavior, and get tested for STDs often. Preventing the transmission of diseases is the only way to decrease the number of infected people who can potentially spread diseases.