Most of the common STD tests are done by taking blood or urine samples, and you get your results within two to three days of the test reaching the lab. 

But the manner of doing the test, and the time it takes to get your results will depend on the symptoms you’re showing, the type of STD you’re testing for, and the period you are in after having been possibly exposed. 

Types of STDs And How They Are Tested

The most common STDs found in patients are Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea. Luckily, the test results from these STDs come back within a day or two from when the sample is received from the lab. Even more good news, these STDs are treatable with medication.

How Long Do STD Tests Take?

STD tests can now be completed very quickly. The modern-day procedure is to schedule an appointment at a clinic online, you would then arrive at a test center where they will take your test sample, this step usually takes 5-10 minutes. And finally, you will receive your results in 1-2 days. So the complete turnaround time for an STD test can be as little as 1-2 days.

How Long Does An STD Test Take?

The retrieval of a sample usually takes about 5 minutes.

The time taken for your sample to be processed and to receive your results is 1 to 2 days.

Symptoms Of STDs

Common symptoms of having an STD include genital itching or burning, vaginal discharge, genital discomfort, pressure in the abdomen, swollen lymph nodes, flu-like symptoms, and/or fever.

How Different STDs Are Tested + Their Time To Detection

Chlamydia

Symptoms of chlamydia usually take between 7 and 21 days from exposure to the present. A chlamydia test is done by taking a swab from the vagina, cervix, rectum, or throat, or through a urine sample. 

A test can detect chlamydia within one to two weeks from exposure.

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is usually tested for by taking a urine sample. Alternatively, a swab from the urethra, cervix, anus, or throat can be taken. A test can detect positive infection from five days to two weeks from exposure. However, if a test is done shortly after exposure a repeat test is recommended two weeks later.

HIV

An HIV test is done by analyzing a blood sample, and a positive test result can come back between 10 and 33 days from exposure. 

Hepatitis B And C

Hepatitis B usually shows symptoms between six weeks and six months from exposure. Hepatitis C can deliver symptoms from two to six weeks from exposure. However, both STDs may show no symptoms for years.

A blood test can give results for both of these diseases. Testing for hepatitis B is done in the three to six-week window from exposure. The hepatitis C testing window is two to six months from exposure. 

Bear in mind that you can contract hepatitis outside of sexual activity, including passing fecal matter or other infected body matter.

Herpes

Herpes symptoms start to show 4 days after exposure, with the testing window being between 2 and 12 days from exposure. A blood test will confirm whether you are infected. 

Syphilis

Blood tests will confirm whether you have syphilis or not, but you will usually see it presented with a sore on the genitals. The testing window is about four weeks from exposure. 

Trichomoniasis

Many people don’t show any symptoms of trichomoniasis, however, a discharge or burning sensation may be felt within 5 to 28 days from exposure. The test is done via a swab of the rectum, penis, or vagina. 

HPV

The human papillomavirus (HPV) can be tested in females by swabbing the cervix. This can be done from three weeks to a couple of months after exposure. There is no approved HPV test for males.

How Do You Know What STDs To Be Tested For?

When you visit your physician, they will ask a few questions to determine what to test for. These questions include:

  • Are you experiencing any symptoms?
  • How many people have you had sex with?
  • What kind of sexual contact you’ve had – vaginal, anal, oral – or anything that resulted in the exchange of sexual fluids.
  • What protection you use and how often you use protection.
  • If you or your partner has experienced an STD before.
  • Other actions that may increase the chance of contracting an STD (e.g. sharing of needles).

Where To Get Tested

The primary place to get tested will be at your doctor’s office. They will conduct an examination and ask about your sexual history and activities, then do the test through urine, a blood sample, or a cotton swab. The sample may either be tested on-site, with results coming through in around 20 minutes, or it will be sent to the laboratory to get your results, which will take up to 2 days until you receive your results.

You can also go to a community health clinic, your local health department, or a planned parenthood health center.

Cost Of An STD Test

The cost of an STD test will depend on your health insurance, where you go to be tested, what tests you need to be done, and your monthly income.

Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) has led to several insurance plans covering some or all of the cost of STD testing. This means that you’ll either get the test for free or at a significantly reduced rate.

Some government programs and Medicaid also allow for free or reduced-cost tests. This is true for some clinics and planned parenthood health centers that also take your income level into account before charging you.

Written by