The testing for any STD must be done within the correct testing period. All infections, STD included, have a so-called ‘incubation period’. During this period, identifying the infection may be difficult. The test may show a false negative result during the incubation period.
STI testing table below provides information on what is the optimal time to get tested after exposure to STI / STD.
The testing window for common STIs is as follows:
|Type of STI
|Type of test
|When to retest after treatment
|10–33 days for a nucleic acid test.
18–45 days for an antigen/antibody test.
23–90 days for an antibody test
|Blood or saliva test. Blood nucleic acid test gives earliest results
|Blood or urine sample, or swab of the throat, rectum, cervix, or vagina
|1 week to 1 month
|Swab of rectum, penis, or vagina
|Within 3 weeks after sores appear. Sores appear usually 1 week after exposure
|6 and 12 months
|5 days to 2 weeks
|Blood or urine test. Swab of the anus, urethra, cervix, or throat
|Test 2 weeks after treatment, or 2 weeks later after exposure if the first test is negative
|Blood test or swab of a sore
|3 weeks to a few months
|Pap smear in females only — no approved test for males
|3–6 weeks for hepatitis B. 2–6 weeks for hepatitis C
|Retest 6 months later