How long to wait?
Apr 17, 2003
If I am concerned I may have come in contact with and STI or STD, how long should I wait to get tested? Do STI'S and STD's immediatley show up in tests (blood or uran)?
Response from Mr. Kull
Sexually transmitted infections are complicated, and the fact that they are all grouped into one category, STIs or STDs, can be deceiving. Each infection is caused by a different microorganism, some that are similar and some that are quite distinct. Some produce symptoms, some don't; some can be screened for, some can't. So to answer a question like yours would take a lot of space.
If you don't have symptoms of an STI, then you are off to a good start. If you ever have symptoms that you suspect are related to sexual activity, see a doctor when you are experiencing them. That can greatly assist in diagnosis.
If you are not experiencing symptoms, the need for screening is debatable. Decisions about this need to be based on your risk for STIs. That aside, its not possible, and not always useful, to screen for all asymptomatic infections.
If you have sexual contact with someone who has been diagnosed with an STI that could pose a risk to you, see a doctor regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms.
If you are a sexually active woman, get regular gynecological check ups. Pap smears can detect cellular changes that may be indicative of HPV. Women should also be screened for chlamydia as they are more likely than men to be asymptomatic.
If you are a man who has sex with men, you might be at increased risk for certain STIs. Talk to your doctor about screening options.
Read through here at Sexually Transmitted Disease Basics The Body for more detailed information.
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