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Everything You Need To Know About STDS


Different time frames for STD test accuracy

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Question:

"How soon after having sex can I get tested for STDs and have reliable results?"

- Anonymous

Response:

First of all, your proactive attitude towards taking charge of your sexual health and seeking information on STD testing should be commended. Medical experts agree that routine STD testing anytime there is a change in sexual partners or activities is a strong first defense against the spread of STDs. 

THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE AN STD IS TO GET TESTED.

Secondly, thank you for asking such a great question. Being tested during the correct time frame is important for ensuring accurate test results and the windows of time for getting tested for an STD will vary depending on the type of STD being tested for.  The reason some tests should be taken earlier or later have to do with how the current testing technology detects an STD infection. 

STD tests either look for antibodies or genetic materials (RNA/DNA). Antibodies are what the body naturally produces to fight off an infection. Antibody tests will look for antibodies that are specific to the type of disease being screened for and can require longer waiting periods before testing due to the amount of time it takes the human body to manufacture enough antibodies to be detected in a blood or urine sample. Tests that screen for genetic materials will look for the actual virus or bacteria in the testing blood or urine sample and will generally be accurate in a shorter amount of time, but a sufficient amount of time will need to pass for enough genetic material to be detectable in a test.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea can be detected relatively quickly after exposure, whereas, the testing for HIV or syphilis can require a more extended waiting period for accurate results. However, STDAware also provides an early detection HIV test that can detect actual HIV instead of the antibodies very quickly.

STDAware wants to arm the public with education and awareness about STDs and STD testing, and is committed to ensuring that patients get the best service and reliable results when getting tested at STDAware. To assist with the understanding of when to get tested for each type of STD, STDAware has compiled the following overview of each STD and how and when to get tested after suspected exposure.

Testing Time Windows By STD

Chlamydia:

Testing for chlamydia can be conducted immediately after suspected exposure. However, test results will be the most accurate around 2-3 weeks (14-21 days) after exposure. Chlamydia is relatively easy to cure with antibiotics but if not treated can cause permanent and severe health complications including infertility, certain types of cancer, and even death. 

Chlamydia has the highest rate of reinfection (meaning chlamydia can return even after it has been treated) making it critical to adhere to the treatment protocol and to have a follow-up “test-to-cure” test between 2 weeks and three months after treatment to ensure that the infection has been fully eradicated from the body.

Chlamydia often goes undiagnosed for extended periods of time because it can exist in the body while exhibiting no signs or symptoms. The asymptomatic nature of chlamydia makes this STD easily and quickly passed from one unknowing partner to the next. This fact, alone, contributes to the widespread infection rate of chlamydia in America, today.

THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE CHLAMYDIA IS TO GET TESTED.

STDAware offers an FDA approved Nucleic Acid Amplification (NAA) Urine test to screen for chlamydia. NAA testing detects actual chlamydia bacteria*. Testing results through STDAware are returned within 1-2 days after testing is completed. 

To learn more about the Chlamydia Urine Test offered by STDAware, click here.

Anyone who tests positive for having a chlamydia infection, through STDAware, will be contacted by an in-house physician for a post-test consultation, free of charge. During this consultation, the doctor will review the test results and treatment options. Patients who test positive for chlamydia through STDAware will qualify for free treatment. STDAware is the only online testing service that also offers prescriptive services to treat chlamydia. To learn more about the no-cost services provided by STDAware, click here.

Individuals who test positive for having chlamydia are advised to also to be tested for HIV and gonorrhea. Many people with a chlamydia infection are found to also have gonorrhea. Additionally, a chlamydia infection increases your risk of contracting HIV (NAM, 2017). 

*A chlamydia urine test will not detect a chlamydia infection in the throat, anus, or eyes. 

Gonorrhea: 

Similar to testing for Chlamydia, it is possible to get definitive results within a few days after suspected exposure, but for the most accuracy, it is advised to wait at least two weeks (14 days). Gonorrhea is, generally, easy to cure with the right combination of medicine and proper adherence to prescriptive measures. Early identification and correct treatment are vital to curing a gonorrhea infection. Improper treatment protocol (following the doctor’s instructions) could result in re-infection which could lead to a gonorrhea infection becoming resistant to treatment and therefore incurable. 

A gonorrhea infection left alone will cause severe medical complications and health risks including infertility, vital organ and soft tissue damage, and even death.

Like chlamydia, gonorrhea can persist without any physical signs or symptoms and is quickly spread from one unsuspecting partner to the next. Because of this, gonorrhea is the second most reported STD in the United States, today (CDC, 2016).

THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE GONORRHEA IS TO GET TESTED.

STDAware offers an FDA approved Dual Kinetic Assay (DKA) Urine Test to screen for gonorrhea. DKA testing will look for actual gonorrhea bacteria*. Testing results through STDAware are returned within 1-2 days after testing is completed. 

To learn more about the Gonorrhea Urine Test offered by STDAware, click here.

Anyone who tests positive for having gonorrhea through STDAware will be contacted by one of the STDAware physician's for a post-test consultation, free of charge. During this consultation, the doctor will review the test results and treatment options. Patients who test positive for gonorrhea through STDAware will qualify for free treatment. STDAware is the ONLY STD testing company that provides in-house treatment services. To learn more about the no-cost services offered by STDAware, click here.

Individuals who test positive for having gonorrhea are advised to also be tested for HIV and chlamydia. Many people with a gonorrhea infection are also found to have chlamydia. Additionally, a gonorrhea infection increases your risk of contracting HIV (NAM, 2017). 

HIV: 

De-stigmatizing HIV testing will play a significant role in reducing the number of HIV infections in America. Join the “Doing It” initiative funded by the CDC in the fight to bring awareness to how to get tested for HIV and prevent the ongoing spread of HIV & AIDS in the U.S.  

The CDC estimates that 1 in 7 people who have HIV actually know it and are taking steps to treat it.  Individuals infected with HIV can go for prolonged periods of time without exhibiting any signs or symptoms and continue to infect other people. Left untreated, HIV can progress into AIDS and become fatal.

THE ONLY WAY TO GET TREATMENT FOR HIV IS TO GET TESTED.

Routine and pro-active HIV testing should be a part of any sexually active individuals healthcare routine. HIV testing should be sought anytime there is a change in sexual partners or activities. Additional risk factors include sharing needles or needle equipment or working in a healthcare environment that could expose you to HIV infected equipment and materials. Men who have sex with men are recommended to get tested for HIV every 3-6 months. 

While HIV cannot be cured, there are a variety of effective treatments for managing HIV. Individuals with HIV infections can lead a long, fulfilling, and successful life while correctly following an HIV treatment protocol. 

There are also preventative treatments available. To learn about pre and post-exposure treatment options (PrEP & PEP), click here.

THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE HIV IS TO GET TESTED

The time windows for testing accuracy when getting tested for HIV will depend on the type of test performed. STDAware offers two kinds of FDA Approved HIV blood tests.

The HIV Rapid Antibody blood test looks for the antibodies produced in reaction to an HIV infection. The benefit of getting this test is that the results can be completed and returned in a very short amount of time. However, the earliest time frame in which this test will be accurate is two weeks (14 days) but may not be accurate until as many as nine weeks (2+ months) after exposure. If someone is tested using the HIV Rapid Antibody IA test at the early part of the testing window and the results are negative, it is advised to be tested again 2-3 months after suspected exposure.

Comparatively, the HIV RNA Early Detection blood test can be accurate within 3 -21 days after suspected exposure and can identify an acute HIV infection.  A follow-up test is still advised within 90 days of suspected exposure to confirm a negative test result. A negative HIV RNA blood test is required in order to start PrEP or PEP.

TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE HIV TESTS OFFERED AT STDAWARE, CLICK THE LINKS BELOW

The testing laboratory will contact anyone who tests positive for HIV, through STDAware, for a confirmation test. If the confirmation test comes back positive as well, ART (antiretroviral therapy) will need to be started as quickly as possible. STDAware's medical staff will provide a post-test consultation to review treatment options as well as offer referrals to support centers and groups to ensure the proper medical attention is given, free of charge. STDAware is the only STD testing service that provides in-house medical consultation services as part of the overall testing service and benefits. To learn more about the no-cost services provided by STDAware, click here.

Syphilis: 

Testing for syphilis can be conducted between 1-3 months after suspected exposure. However, individuals who test negative for syphilis are advised to be re-tested 3-4 months after suspected exposure to confirm a negative status. Failure to identify and treat syphilis can result in severe damage to the body, internal organs and brain function, and can lead to death. 

Syphilis can be cured but requires an extensive treatment plan including penicillin injections at structured treatment intervals. Treatment for syphilis cannot repair any damage done to the body by a syphilis infection, and it will not create immunity to the disease (meaning someone who has been treated for syphilis can be infected again). 

People with syphilis often do not realize they are infected because the disease can persist without any signs, or the symptoms are so mild they are confused for other non-STD related conditions. It is common for an infected person not to exhibit any physical symptoms until critical damage has been done to the body.

Although usually transmitted during sexual activities, the infection can also be passed during drug use by sharing needles, or from mother to child (congenital syphilis).

THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE SYPHILIS IS TO GET TESTED.

STDAware offers and FDA Approved Rapid Plasma Reagin (RPR) Blood Test, which uses a methodology called flocculation to screen for syphilis. The RPR blood test will look for antibodies to a syphilis infection. A positive result will need a confirmation test using additional testing methodologies. A positive test result could also indicate antibodies from a past syphilis infection (the antibodies can stay in the body for years even if it was successfully treated), or other treponemal conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus, malaria, mononucleosis, infectious hepatitis, leprosy, brucellosis, atypical pneumonia, typhus, yaws, pinta, or pregnancy.

To learn more about the Syphilis RPR Blood Test offered at STDAware, click here.

Anyone who tests positive for syphilis through STDAware will be contacted by one of our physicians to review confirmation-testing procedures. STDAware is the ONLY STD testing provider that offers post-test consultations, free of charge. To learn more about the no-cost services provided by STDAware, click here.

Herpes

There are two types of Herpes Viruses. HSV-1 is typically responsible for oral or lip herpes and HSV-2, which is generally associated with genital herpes. However, due to the popularity of oral sex, in America, the instances of HSV-1 being found on the genitals and HSV-2 being located on the mouth, lips, and throat, is increasingly common. Because of this fact, it is wise to consider being tested for both strains of herpes at the same time. To learn more about the difference between HSV-1 and HSV-2, click here.

Testing for either strain of herpes is challenging to conduct unless one is experiencing physical symptoms of a herpes outbreak. When a person experiences symptoms after being exposed to either strain of herpes can vary greatly depending on the individual. Both types of herpes can lay dormant in the body for prolonged periods of time but can still be transmitted to unsuspecting sexual partners in the absence of physical symptoms (lesions or sores at and around the point of infection). 

Once a person experiences symptoms and suspects that they could be associated with herpes a test will confirm or deny the suspicions based on the antibodies in the blood sample that will be present in reaction to a physical herpes sore.

Herpes cannot be cured, but it can be managed. Millions of people are living with a herpes infection and continue to have successful and happy, fulfilled lives. Treatment of herpes involves viral suppressants as well as topical medications. It is important to know that while treatment for herpes can reduce the chances of transmission, herpes can still be spread even in the absence of physical symptoms. To learn more about herpes treatment and management, click here.

THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE HERPES, OR WHICH TYPE OF HERPES, IS TO GET TESTED

STDAware offers an FDA Approved Immunoglobulin (IgG) Immunoassay (IA) test for both HSV-1 & HSV-2. This IA will detect specific IgGs or antibodies specific to HSV-1 or HSV-2. Separate checks are required to test for each strain of HSV-1 or HSV-2 because the test must be “told” which strain of herpes antibodies to look for. 

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HERPES TESTS OFFERED AT STDAWARE CLICK THE LINKS BELOW

Anyone who tests positive for having HSV-1 or HSV-2, through STDAware, will be contacted by a medical professional for a free, post-test consultation. During this post-test consultation the doctor will review the test results and treatment options, at no cost. Patients who are diagnosed with HSV-2 through STDAware will qualify for a first time free treatment. STDAware is the only STD testing service that offers a full suite of medical support and prescription solutions. Other testing services send the results without any follow-up. To learn more about the no-cost services provided by STDAware, click here

Hepatitis

There are three types of Hepatitis infections: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, & Hepatitis C. All three infections affect the liver and can cause varying degrees of distress to the body ranging from an overall sense of malaise to severe liver damage, liver cancer, liver failure, or even death.

The time period for accuracy varies for each type of hepatitis. The most accurate timeline for Hepatitis A testing is between 2-7 weeks after suspected exposure. While Hepatitis B can be detected in as early as three weeks, testing accuracy is highest around six weeks after suspected exposure. Hepatitis C has the most extended waiting period for testing accuracy and is also the most serious of the hepatitis infections. Testing for Hepatitis C should be conducted 8-9 weeks after suspected exposure.

Hepatitis A does not require prescriptive treatment, but lifestyle and wellbeing factors should be addressed to limit the effects of the virus as the body works to heal from the infection. Properly managed, Hepatitis A infections can heal within six months.

An acute Hepatitis B infection can also be healed by an otherwise healthy body and immune function, but if the infection progresses and becomes chronic, it will require antiviral medication and may require a liver transplant. 

A Hepatitis C infection should not be taken lightly as it can aggressively attack the liver and lead to death. Fortunately, several new treatments can cure many cases of Hepatitis C. If an infected individual does not qualify for the cure, other measures can be taken to manage the infection such as antiviral medication or liver transplant.

THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE HEPATITIS OR WHICH TYPE OF HEPATITIS, IS TO GET TESTED.

STDAware offers an FDA approved Immunoassay (IA) Blood Test, which will detect the antibodies specific to Hepatitis A, B, or C. Separate tests are required to test for each type of Hepatitis because the test must be “told” which type of hepatitis antibodies to look for.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HEPATITIS BLOOD TESTS OFFERED BY STDAWARE CLICK THE LINKS BELOW

Anyone who tests positive for having Hepatitis A, B, or C, through STDAware, will be contacted for a free post-test consultation. During the post-test consultation, one of the board-certified physicians, on staff at STDAware, will discuss the test results and treatment options. STDAware is the only STD testing company that offers medical counseling and follow up as part of their suite of services. To learn more about the no-cost services provided by STDAware, click here.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV): 

There are 100’s of strains of HPV. Many are considered low-risk (non-cancer causing) and are typically eradicated by the human immune system before any symptoms occur and without treatment. The low-risk strains HPV-6 and HPV-11 are most commonly associated with genital warts. High-risk strains of HPV are HPV-16, 18, which are associated with approximately 70% of cervical cancer and other cancer forming strains 31, 33, 45, 52 (NIH, 2018). 

Although a vaccine has become available in the past 12 years to guard against the most common genital wart and cancer-causing strains of HPV, according to the CDC nearly all sexually active people, who do not get a vaccine, will get infected at some point in their lives. An estimated 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV and suffer from genital warts, or unusual growths or a form of HPV caused cancer or pre-cancer.

While HPV is an all too common STD, there are currently no standardized, approved tests for males and the only type of testing for females is the PAP smear which detects cancerous or precancerous growths on the cervix that may or may not be due to HPV. Because HPV can be spread through any type of sexual contact (kissing, petting, mutual masturbation, oral, anal, or vaginal sex) the importance of safe sex practices are paramount in the reduction of the spread of any form of HPV. Click here to read the “Safe Sex Practices,” resource provided by STDAware.

STD Testing As A Routine Part Of An Overall Healthy Lifestyle

In today’s culture of casual sex and “hook up” apps such as Grindr and Tindr, the responsibility of an individual to take ownership of their sexual health and overall well-being is of vital importance. The spread of STDs has increased America to critical levels. According to the director the CDC, the widespread nature of STDs in America today is a “…is a clear warning of a growing threat.” And the growing number of infections “is outpacing our ability to respond.” (CDC, 2017)

Getting tested for STDs is associated with stigma and shame, when, in fact, the opposite should be the case. NOT getting tested for STDs should be a point of concern. 

GETTING TESTED FOR STDs DEMONSTRATES A LEVEL OF RESPECT FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR SEXUAL PARTNER(S).

STDAware makes getting tested quick, simple, and convenient. With the fastest turn around time for test results (1-2 days after testing is completed), there’s less time left wondering.

GET ANSWERS

To find out how STDAware makes getting tested simple and fast, click here.

ONLY YOU CAN DEFEND YOUR SEXUAL HEALTH

Aside from being in a mutually monogamous, STD-free confirmed relationship, routine STD testing is one of the strongest defenses against the spread of STD infection. Being tested (at the same time as your sexual partner) for STDs before engaging in sexual activity will ensure that any STD condition is adequately treated and addressed before moving forward

Taking point and guarding your sexual health is a personal responsibility. STDAware has over 4,000 testing laboratory locations, nationwide. To find an STDAware testing location near you, click here.

STDAware Cares

We’re here for you. STDAware is the ONLY STD testing provider that offers no-cost medical counseling and post-test consultations in addition to prescriptive solutions for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HSV-2. Other STD testing companies just send you the results leaving you to wonder “Now what?”

Advise counselors are available to answer your questions. Contact us toll-free: 1-855-588-6958 or email: customerservice@stdaware.com

STOP WORRYING. GET TESTED.


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