Whens The Right Time To Get Tested For Stds
STDs have different incubation periods. People react differently to STDs, with some people able to produce antibodies as early as a few days after exposure. To get reliable results, youll want to get tested after these incubation periods:
- HIV: 2-4 weeks
- chlamydia : 7 to 21 days
- gonorrhea : 1 to 14 days
- syphilis: 3 weeks to 20 years
- hepatitis A: 15 to 50 days
- hepatitis B: 60 to 150 days
- hepatitis C: 2 to 26 weeks
- oral herpes: 2 to 12 days
- genital herpes: 2 to 12 days
- HPV: 1 month to 10 years
trichomoniasis: 5 to 28 days
What To Think About
- Normal test results do not mean you do not have a herpes infection.
- Herpes is often diagnosed by symptoms and by knowing whether the person has had contact with an infected person. Sometimes a test is not needed. A person who has genital herpes needs to learn how to avoid spreading the disease, because the disease is more likely to be spread when he or she has sores. If you have recurrent outbreaks, especially during times of stress or illness, you can also spread the disease.
- You may want to know whether a herpes infection is due to HSV-1 or HSV-2 so you can take steps to prevent or treat outbreaks.
- A genital herpes infection can be spread from a mother to her baby during vaginal delivery. In a newborn, herpes can cause organ failure, brain infection, and death. If active herpes is present near the time of delivery, a caesarean delivery may be done to prevent infecting the baby.
What Does Sti Testing Involve
STI tests may look for things like gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV or syphilis. If you dont have symptoms, STI testing involves providing a urine sample and/or a blood sample. The urine can be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia. The blood sample can be tested for HIV and syphilis.
If you do have symptoms, a clinician will evaluate your symptoms. The clinician may swab the symptomatic areas of your body for testing. They may also ask you to provide a urine sample and/or a blood sample. Although the clinician may be able to say whether or not you have an STI, the test can tell you for sure which STI you have, and will help identify the appropriate treatment.
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Are Test Results Accurate
Tests that identify evidence of HSV infections are routine and commonly used medical tests. The ability of a test to accurately diagnose or rule out HSV infection depends on the test used for analysis and the stage of a patients infection.
The Tzanck smear and viral culture are less able to accurately identify patients who have an HSV infection than other tests. PCR testing and antibody testing are more sensitive, which means that they miss fewer cases of infection.
Blood tests that detect antibodies to HSV can distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2 but not the site of infection. This means that blood tests cannot tell whether a patient has a genital or oral herpes infection.
Although these tests are valuable for identifying HSV infection, no test is perfect. When learning of test results, patients should talk to their doctor about the type of test conducted, the reliability of test results, and if additional tests are necessary to confirm or rule out a diagnosis.
Taking A Genital Or Oral Herpes Test
Testing for genital and oral herpes may be performed with a blood sample or a sample of fluid swabbed or scraped from a sore. Both types of samples are collected by a health professional when conducted at a doctors offices, clinic, or community organization.
If a patient is experiencing an outbreak, a doctor can collect a sample for testing by swabbing or scraping a sore. Material from the sore can be used for a herpes viral culture, PCR testing,
A Tzanck smear or an antibody test.
If a patient is not currently experiencing an outbreak, a blood test may be used to identify HSV antibodies. If a doctor suspects a brain infection with HSV, a lumbar puncture may be performed to obtain a sample of cerebrospinal fluid for analysis.
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Human Immunodeficiency Virus Testing
Several different tests are used to detect HIV, including lab testing, the rapid antibody screening test, the rapid antigen/antibody test and a self-test that uses oral fluid.
Lab testing requires blood to be drawn from your vein. Your blood is then analyzed in a lab to detect either the genetic material of the virus, or specific HIV antigens and antibodies.
It usually takes several days to receive the results from an HIV lab test.
If youre tested for HIV with a rapid antibody screening test, or with a rapid antigen/antibody test, your results will typically be ready in under 30 minutes.
If you test yourself for HIV using an oral fluid antibody self-test such as the OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test, youll receive results within 20 minutes.
Right now, there are no tests that can accurately detect HIV immediately after infection. If youre worried that you may have been exposed to HIV, its important to seek medical help immediately and, if possible, use post-exposure prophylaxis .
In order to undergo testing for HIV, youll need to wait for the window period to pass.
The window period varies depending on the type of HIV test:
If You Get A Positive Result Don’t Panic It Really Doesn’t Mean Much
All of this is to say that unless you have symptoms consistent with the herpes virus, why put yourself through the emotional turmoil of getting a blood test that may or may not give you legit results? As Hutcherson notes, if you do get a blood test and it comes back positive but you’re asymptomatic, what does that mean for you if you have nothing to treat? For many, due to the high rate of stigma still surrounding herpes, it can mean feelings of self-contempt, humiliation, and distress, all of which could be avoided if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms.
To recap, while there are some tests for herpes that can prove correct, none are 100 percent perfect, and blood tests are particularly problematic since they can produce false positives and negatives. We also know that the majority of the population has some form of herpes, so IMO it’s a mystery as to why we’re still making a big deal out of it. No one likes blisters or sores, but neither does anyone love having acne, a widespread condition without the same level of attached shame.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Genital Herpes
Most people infected with HSV-2 are not aware of their infection. However, the signs and symptoms of herpes during an initial outbreak can be quite pronounced. The first outbreak usually occurs within two weeks after the virus is transmitted, but the sores will also typically heal within two-to-four weeks. Other signs and symptoms during the primary episode may include a second crop of sores, and flu-like symptoms, such as fever and swollen glands. However, most individuals with HSV-2 infection never have sores, or they have very mild signs that they do not even notice or that they mistake for insect bites or other skin conditions like ingrown hairs or acne.
People who have one genital herpes outbreak can expect to have several more within a year. Over time, these outbreaks usually decrease in frequency. It is possible for a person to only become aware of the first episode years after the infection is acquired.
Do Regular Sti Tests Include Herpes
No. If you dont have symptoms, STI testing includes gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV and syphilis, and only involves time with a medical assistant. The Centers for Disease Control does not recommend herpes testing for people without symptoms.
If you think youve been exposed to herpes, but you arent showing symptoms, make sure to tell your health care provider prior to getting tested. At Planned Parenthood, herpes testing requires a visit with the nurse practitioner.
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What Does The Test Result Mean
Direct detection of the virus
- A positive HSV DNA test or culture indicates that you have an active herpes infection, and the result may indicate if it is HSV-1 or HSV-2.
- A negative PCR test or culture indicates that the herpes simplex virus was not detected, but this does not definitely rule out an infection. False negatives can occur if there is not enough active virus in the sample. This may happen if the lesion is cultured more than 48 hours after the symptoms appear. If suspicion of herpes remains high, repeat testing may be done.
Antibody blood tests
- A positive HSV-1 or HSV-2 IgG antibody test means antibodies are present in your blood, which means you have had an infection in the past even if you haven’t noticed any symptoms. The type of antibody detected indicates the type of HSV infection.
- Negative HSV antibody results mean that it is unlikely that you have been exposed to HSV or it may mean that your body has not had time to begin producing HSV antibodies.
Inpatient Vs Outpatient Blood Testing
Location can play a factor into how fast youll get your results back. For example, going to a place where theres an on-site laboratory may get you results more quickly than if your blood has to be sent to another laboratory. Specialty tests for rare conditions often need to be sent to specific laboratories.
According to Regional Medical Laboratory, most in-hospital results can be obtained within three to six hours after taking the blood. Sometimes blood drawn at other, non-hospital facilities can take several days to get results.
If youre hoping to receive blood test results as quickly as possible, some tips to do this can include:
- Ask to have blood drawn at a location where theres an on-site laboratory.
- Ask if there are quick test options for a particular test, such as an H and H for anemia.
- Ask if the results can be sent to you via a web portal.
- Ask if you can wait at the medical facility until results are available.
Sometimes, how quickly the blood tests take depends on how common the blood test is. Blood tests performed more often, such as a CBC or metabolic panel, are usually available more quickly than tests for rare conditions. Fewer laboratories may have the testing available for these conditions, which could slow results.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Sti Testing
By Donna White | Aug. 16, 2018, 2:01 p.m.
Missouri has STIs. Do you? Theres only one way to find out: get yourself tested.
Many people know they should get tested for STIs, but arent sure how testing works or what to expect when they get to the health center. Sexually transmitted infections may seem scary, but getting yourself tested doesnt have to be. Here are some of the most common questions we get about STI testing.
V Symptoms Of Oral Herpes
In addition to the presence of fever blisters and cold sores around the mouth, the following symptoms of oral herpes may appear:
- Newborns may experience fever, become lethargic, or have seizures.
- Young children may also experience fever or flu-like symptoms.
- Adults may have a sore throat and lymph node swelling.
If you have symptoms, avoid kissing people on the mouth, performing oral sex, or sharing items such as cups and utensils.
While some people experience severe or mild symptoms, others may not have any symptoms.
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Testing With No Symptoms
Blood tests can be used when a person has no visible symptoms but has concerns about having herpes. Blood tests do not actually detect the virus instead, they look for antibodies in the blood.
IgM vs. IgG
When an individual contracts herpes, the immune system responds by developing antibodies to fight the virus: IgG and IgM. Blood tests can look for and detect these antibodiesnot the virus itself. IgG appears soon after infection and stays in the blood for life. IgM is actually the first antibody that appears after infection, but it may disappear thereafter.
IgM tests are not recommended because of three serious problems:
The accurate herpes blood tests detect IgG antibodies. Unlike IgM, IgG antibodies can be accurately broken down to either HSV-1 or HSV-2. The challenge here is that the time it takes for IgG antibodies to reach detectable levels can vary from person to person. For one person, it could take just a few weeks, while it could take a few months for another. So even with the accurate tests, a person could receive a false negative if the test is taken too soon after contracting the virus.
For the most accurate test result, it is recommended to wait 12 16 weeks from the last possible date of exposure before getting an accurate, type-specific blood test in order to allow enough time for antibodies to reach detectable levels.
What Type Of Tests Do You Need To Screen For Different Stds
There isnt one universal test for all STDs, as they attack the body in unique ways. Here are the specific tests you should expect when getting tested for each particular STD.
- HIV: specific antigen/antibody blood test
- chlamydia : blood, swab, or urine tests
- gonorrhea : blood, swab, or urine tests
- syphilis: blood tests
- trichomoniasis: NAAT blood test
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Polymerase Chain Reaction Test
As with the viral culture, your doctor swabs or scrapes a sample from one of your sores. A lab gets the sample and looks for genes from the herpes virus. PCR test results usually come back to you within 24 hours.
Youre more likely to get this test if you have symptoms but its been longer than 48 hours since they showed up. In this case, you can rely on the results from this test more than the viral culture.
How Long Do Sti Test Results Take
STI test results can take between five and 10 days. If you have testing done at Planned Parenthood, well contact you ONLY if your results are positive. If this is the case, well give you a call to ask you to come back for follow up. Planned Parenthood does not contact patients if the results are negative. Patients can view negative results in the Patient Portal. If you want to confirm a negative result or want a copy for your records, please call the health center or stop by for a copy.
If the result is positive or inconclusive, we will call you to notify you of the results and ask you to make a follow up appointment to receive treatment or further services. The call also gives you a chance to ask questions.
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There Are Two Common Blood Tests Used To Identify Herpes And They’re Often Misleading
“I had a patient once who underwent this test, which was positive, and was told she has herpes, which to her was devastating and life-altering,” Friedman says. “She burst into tears when I explained the significance or lack thereof with this test, which is very misleading.” There are two common blood tests used to identify herpes: IgG and IgM. The IgM test is still used by some doctors even though it has been denounced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . According to the American Sexual Health Association , IgM tests can lead to deceptive results, as well as false assumptions about how and when a person acquired HSV.
And that’s not all: IgM tests fail to accurately distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2 antibodies, leading them to provide false-positive results for HSV-2. In other words, if you’ve been exposed to oral herpes , results of the IgM test could lead you to believe you’re positive for genital herpes, when in fact you simply have antibodies against HSV-1.
IgG tests, on the other hand, are more accurate, but aren’t without their own issues. For instance, ASHA says that while an IgG test can distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2, the problem is that the time it takes for IgG antibodies to reach a detectable level varies from person to person. This means that even with accurate results, someone could get a false-negative if they have the test administered too soon after contracting the virus .
When To See A Doctor
People should see their doctor if they think they might have herpes, or if they have any symptoms of herpes. Getting tested for herpes is also important to rule out other sexually transmitted infections.
People can visit their doctor or a sexual health clinic for a test. If people have any sores or blisters present, a healthcare provider will use a swab to take a sample from the sores. The sample will indicate whether or not the sores are due to a herpes infection.
Some people may be concerned that they have the herpes virus but no symptoms. In such cases, a doctor might be able to order a blood test to check for the virus in a persons blood. However, the
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How Long Do Std Test Results Take
2-3 days is the average length of time it takes to receive STD test results. However, its very important to make sure you follow certain instructions so your test is as effective as possible. Making sure you take the sample correctly and wait until the incubation period is over can make the difference between a false and a true negative.
The body takes time to recognize and produce antibodies in reaction to the invading bacteria, virus or parasite. This is known as the incubation period.
Taking an STD test too early you may lead to negative result for the disease even if you do have it.
Here are the following incubation periods for some common STDs:
- Chlamydia: 7-21 days