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STDs and testing
Dec 9, 1997

Excluding HIV, what is the window-period for other STDs?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question. This is actually a very complicated question. This is because STDs are actually an entire group of diseases. Therefore, you are dealing with many different answers. The following is a VERY GENERAL review of when symptoms will appear, and when tests will show positive, for various STDs. Remember that these time periods can vary from person to person, and from disease to disease. Some STDs (like Herpes, Genital/Anal Warts, and Molluscum) are usually diagnosable primarily when symptoms are present. It is important to remember that a person can have an STD and have no symptoms at all. Remember: ONLY a physician can diagnose an STD!

Genital Warts: Diagnosable when symptoms are present. Symptoms generally appear 2-3 months after initial infection (range 1-20 months). Symptoms may recur over and over. The HPV virus that causes Genital Warts, can sometimes be picked up on a Pap Smear in women.

Herpes Simplex 1 & 2: Diagnosable when symptoms are present. Symptoms generally appear 2-12 days after initial infection. Symptoms may recur over and over.

Chlamydia: Generally 7-14 days or more, for symptoms to appear (if present), but it may take up to a month to show up on a test.

Gonorrhea: Generally 2-7 days or more, for symptoms to appear (if present), but it may take up to a month to show up on a test.

Syphilis: See the posting, "Syphilis" for more information.

Viral Hepatitis: Go to the post "What is viral Hepatitis and how is it transmitted" in the "Frequently Asked Questions" area, for more information. See also the posting, "How soon should I test for Hep B?/ Window Period for Hepatitis?"

HTLV-I/II: May take up to 6 months to show positive on an antibody test.

Molluscum Contagiosum: Diagnosable when symptoms are present. Symptoms generally appear 7 days to 6 months after infection.

Lice: Generally causes symptoms in 1-2 weeks, but this is variable. The most common symptom is itching.

Scabies: Generally causes symptoms (itching) 2-6 weeks after infection (in people without previous exposure). People who have previously had scabies, develop symptoms 1-4 days after re-exposure.

Trichomonas: Generally, symptoms appear in 4-20 days (average 7 days) after infection. However, a person may be a symptom-free carrier for years. Detection is by microscopic examination of discharges, when they occur. Symptoms are rare in men.

Chancroid: Symptoms appear from 3-14 days after infection. This infection causes painful open lesions on the genitals. It is most commonly found in tropical areas of the world. It is rare in other parts of the world. It is diagnosed by a culture from the lesion.

For more information on a specific STD, please go to the area entitled, "Hepatitis and Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases", and look for questions on the STD you are concerned about. If you think you have been exposed to any STD, please contact your physician.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).



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