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How Soon After Unprotected Can I Test For Chlamydia

What Is The Incubation Period For Most Stds

STD Incubation Period: How Soon Can I Get Tested for STDs After Unprotected Sex?

How Long is Each STD Incubation Period?

  • Here are the incubation periods for the most common STDs:
  • Chlamydia takes as little as one day to incubate in your system, but you can detect and treat it within five days of infection.
  • Gonorrhea takes 2-6 days to incubate.
  • Syphilis takes a little longer to incubate than ‘the chlam’ and the clap.

What Should I Expect During A Chlamydia Test

Your provider gives you a clean cup and asks you to urinate in it. Follow your providers instructions carefully when collecting a urine sample. Youll need to collect the urine as soon as it starts to come out .

Instead of a urine sample, your provider might collect a sample of secretions from your genitals or anus. They gather this sample by rubbing a cotton swab on the inside of your vagina, penis or anus. If your provider suspects that you have a chlamydia infection in your eye, they will collect a fluid sample from your eye.

If youre using an at-home chlamydia test, you will collect the sample yourself. Be sure to follow the instructions on the test kit carefully.

Golden Standard Algorithm For Early Hiv Testing

You should undergo Rapid HIV testing after unprotected sex and potential HIV exposure preferably with most accurate screening tests such as viral load assessment tests in combination with HIV antigen/antibody combined tests followed by HIV confirmatory differentiation tests if needed.3

  • If HIV antigen/antibody combined tests and HIV viral load tests turned out to be negative there is no evidence of being infected with HIV . If the risk of HIV contamination is high, the primary negative immune assessment and the virologic test should be retaken 1-2 weeks after the initial testing for more conclusive results3
  • HIV antigen/antibody combined testâs negative and HIV viral load testâs positive results are indicating early HIV infections

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What Is An Incubation Period

The incubation period is the time needed for the body to develop its response, following an infection. So, when the body gets exposed to a sexually transmitted infection, it starts preparing for an antibody attack to fight it off. As a result, symptoms start appearing. In other words, it is the interval of time between when the person gets exposed to an STD and when symptoms start appearing.

You should not get confused about the incubation and the window period.

How Long Will It Take For Chlamydia To Show Up In Women

How Soon After Unprotected Can I Test For Stds

Symptoms of chlamydia in individuals with vulvaswill need around 1 to 3 weeks to show up, but sometimes it can take upto a couple of months. The reason for that is the bacteria. Bacteria is aliving organism, which means it will have an incubation period that willpredetermine its effect before the infection becomes a real problem.

The incubation period will vary depending ondifferent factors like:

  • Howlong does it take for the chlamydia to reproduce
  • Areyou exposed to a lot of bacteria
  • Whereis the bacteria, does it infect the throat, anus, or genitals
  • Isyour immune system well-equipped to protect itself against the bacteria

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What Can Happen If Chlamydia Isnt Treated

Untreated chlamydia can put your health at risk. Make an appointment with your provider immediately if you notice any symptoms of chlamydia, and get regular STI screenings to avoid complications later.

Complications of chlamydia for people with vaginas

Untreated chlamydia can cause:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease . PID is a serious condition that requires hospitalization. It can occur when an untreated STI, like chlamydia, damages your reproductive organs. PID can lead to infertility and chronic pelvic pain. It can also cause an ectopic pregnancy,which is life-threatening for the fetus and potentially deadly for the mother or gestational parent, too.
  • Pregnancy complications. An untreated infection can lead to pre-term delivery. Also, if youre pregnant and have chlamydia, you can pass the infection on to your newborn. Babies born with chlamydia may have pneumonia or conjunctivitis that could lead to blindness if not treated.

Complications of chlamydia for people with penises

Untreated chlamydia can cause:

  • Epididymitis. Infection can spread to the testicles and the tube that carries sperm to your testicles , causing symptoms like pain, swelling and tenderness in your testicles.
  • Reduced fertility. Chlamydia can harm your sperm, negatively impacting your ability to conceive.

Complications of chlamydia that can affect all genders

Untreated chlamydia can:

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Types Of Chlamydia Testing

Lab tests allow doctors to confidently diagnose chlamydia. Types of chlamydia testing include:

  • Urine testing You pee into a cup, and the sample is sent to a lab to analyze for the presence of the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. This is the method we use for chlamydia testing.
  • Swab Your urethra, vagina, cervix, throat, anus, or eye is swabbed to take cell samples. This method may be considered for non-genital chlamydia, like if you had unprotected oral sex or receptive anal sex.
  • Blood More rarely, a small blood sample can be drawn for your arm to detect the presence of antibodies specific to chlamydia.

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How Long Is The Contagious Period For Chlamydia

Infection with chlamydia is relatively easy to cure with antibiotics. Treatment protocols for uncomplicated chlamydial infections include a single 1-gram dose of oralazithromycin . Another treatment option is 100 mg of doxycycline orally twice a day for seven days. During pregnancy, erythromycin or amoxicillin is often used. After beginning treatment, most physicians suggest that patients with uncomplicated chlamydial infections are no longer contagious after about seven days. Tests that detect chlamydia in the urine and in other secretions are available.

What Does The Chlamydia Test Involve

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The recommended tests for chlamydia are simple, painless and generally very reliable.

They involve sending a sample of cells to a laboratory for analysis. You don’t necessarily have to be examined by a doctor or nurse first and can often collect the sample yourself.

There are two main ways the sample can be collected:

  • using a swab a small cotton bud is gently wiped over the area that might be infected, such as inside the vagina or inside the anus
  • urinating into a container this should ideally be done at least 1 hour after you last urinated

Men will usually be asked to provide a urine sample, while women will usually be asked to either swab inside their vagina or provide a urine sample.

The results will normally be available in 7 to 10 days. If there’s a high chance you have chlamydia for example, you have symptoms of the infection or your partner has been diagnosed with it and you’ve had unprotected sex with them you might start treatment before you get your results.

Read more about treating chlamydia.

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What Is An Std Incubation Period

An incubation period is the span of time from when you first come in contact with an STD to when antibodies form to fight the STD1). Tests look for the presence of these antibodies during testing2), and if you do not wait until the incubation period has ended, you may not allow your body sufficient time to develop enough antibodies for it to show up in testing, causing a false-negative result.

Even after you have waited for the incubation period to end, you may not see signs or symptoms of the STD. Many STDs do not display symptoms at all or are so subtle that you could think you have a cold or a rash. Your symptoms come and go, but this doesnt mean the STD has gone away. This is why its so important to get tested there is simply no other way to be 100% sure of an STD diagnosis.

Unprotected Sex: How Soon Can I Test For Stis

A question that may commonly pop up after a one-night stand is, how long after contracting a sexually transmitted infection is it detectable? This is a complex question, and the answer can often be ambiguous. The issue here is that each sexually transmitted infection consists of a unique incubation period. Meaning that an STI cannot be detected immediately, and what makes matters worse is that this period of incubation will differ from person to person. But because we can never be sure, this blog aims to inform you of the standard incubation periods for the most common STIs.


Otherwise known as the clap, Gonorrhea takes around 2-6 days to incubate. This infection is commonly characterised by symptoms including discoloured or unusual discharge from the vagina or the end of the penis, painful urination, discharge or bleeding from the anus, or sore testicles in men and tummy pains in women. Fortunately, Gonorrhea is easily treated with antibiotics. After diagnosis and treatment, it is important to test again in two weeks. This is to ensure that youre fully clear of infection.



Hepatitis C

Unlike Hepatitis A and B, Hepatitis C is very treatable with antibiotics. The incubation period for Hepatitis C usually falls within 8-9 weeks. Unlike the other STIs discussed, experts recommend that individuals retest for Hepatitis C roughly 3 months after a positive test result.

Why Wait?

We’ve put together a cheat-sheet of testing times here >

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How Soon After Unprotected Sex Can I Test For An Sti

Different STIs have different incubation periods, and therefore different testing windows. Below youll find the testing window periods for some of the most common STIs in the UK.

14 days after exposure

45 to 90 days after exposure

  • HIV certain types can detect the virus sooner than others

12 weeks after exposure

  • Syphilis

Two of the more common STIs in the UK genital warts and genital herpes can only be diagnosed if youre having symptoms. If you develop any lumps, growths, sores or blisters around your genitals, you should go to the sexual health clinic to have a physical examination.

Almost Everyone Needs Tested

How Soon After Unprotected Can I Test For Stds

If youre sexually active and not in a long-term relationship, you should be tested for STDs on a regular basis. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers this general testing guide:

  • Everyone 13 to 64: At least once for HIV.
  • Sexually active women under 25: Yearly for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • All pregnant women: Tested for syphilis, HIV and hepatitis B
  • All women in at-risk pregnancies: Tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Those having unprotected sex or sharing needles: Yearly for HIV.

Also, sexually active bisexual or gay men should get frequent tests for HIV, up to every 3-6 months, and yearly tests for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.

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When To Test For Std

Many STDs can cause serious health complications, and itâs possible to have an STD without experiencing any warning signs or symptoms. As a result, testing is the only way to know for sure whether or not you have an STD that may require treatment and potentially be spread to a partner. Generally, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends annual testing for sexually active men and women, particularly for those who have multiple partners or new partners.

What Is A Window Period

A window period is the phase between being exposed to an infection and the correct time when a test can detect the organism in the system, by measuring the produced antibodies. If you get tested without taking into consideration the infections window period, you might end up with a false-negative result. This means that you may have been infected but, you did not give your body enough time to develop enough antibodies that can be detected. To be 100% sure about your results, it is recommended to be tested after the end of the window period, even if symptoms did not show.

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When Is The Test For Hiv False

Likelihood of false-negative results is high if you took the test during the window period. To avoid false-negative results, you should repeat the test after the window period. If the initial testing was during the first 12 weeks after possible exposure, the test should be repeated after an extra 12 weeks for more reliable results.6

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How Soon After Unprotected Sex Can I Test For Stis

HIV Symptoms | STDs

If youve had unprotected sex, and you arent sure whether your partner has STIs, its a good idea to get tested. However, there are different window periods for different infections. It can take a few weeks or even months for some infections to show up on a test this means you might have to wait sometime after the unprotected sex and you may have to take some tests at different times.

  • After 14 days you can test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea
  • After 45 to 90 days you can test for HIV
  • After 12 weeks you can test for syphilis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C

To talk through what youll need, its best to visit a sexual health or GUM clinic as soon as possible after unprotected sex. This is particularly important if you think you might have been exposed to HIV and you need post-exposure prophylaxis.

Its also a good idea to go to a sexual health clinic or contraception clinic if you need emergency contraception after unprotected sex.

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What Happens If I Get A Test Too Early

If you get a test too early, it may not pick up the infection, which means you run the risk of getting a misleading result. To avoid this, you shouldnt use an STI test without speaking to a doctor or nurse first, as theyll be able to advise you on the best time to get tested.

There are some circumstances where you might be advised to take more than one test. If you think youve been exposed to HIV, for instance, you might be told to get a test as soon as possible, followed by another test to confirm the first result a few weeks or months later.

What About My Test Results

Some results may be available on the day you attend. Results from samples sent to the laboratory can take up to 10 days to return. If any of your results come back as positive we will contact you as soon as possible. This is why it is important for us to have your correct details. In some situations you may need to re-attend for your results or for treatment. This will be discussed with you at the time of your consultation.

If you have a sexual health check at your family doctors the standard tests you should be offered are:

  • A blood test for HIV and syphilis
  • A urine test for gonorrhoea, chlamydia for males
  • A vaginal swab for gonorrhoea, chlamydia and trichomaniasis for females
  • A rectal swab and oral swab for gonorrhoea, chlamydia if you are a man who has sex with men.

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How Long Does It Take To Show Up In The Throat

Symptoms of chlamydia in your throat are typically caused by having oral sex with someone whos contracted the infection.

Its much less common to notice throat symptoms, but they may still appear after a week or so, up to a few months or longer.

STI tests that look for chlamydia arent always done on the throat since its an area that does not carry the infection often. Ask your doctor for a throat swab or other chlamydia test if you think youve been exposed through oral sex.

Here are the most common symptoms of chlamydia in both people with penises and people with vulvas.

How Often Should You Get Tested For Stis

How Soon After Unprotected Sex Can I Test For STDs?

Reviewed by our clinical team

In the UK, sexually transmitted infections are pretty common. In 2020, there were almost 320,000 new diagnoses in England alone.

The good news is, most STIs wont cause lasting damage to your health if theyre treated early. However, for treatment to happen, you have to know that you have an STI in the first place. This is why regular testing is really important.

How often you get tested for STIs like chlamydia and HIV will depend upon your personal circumstances and lifestyle to find out more, read on.

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Are Std Tests Accurate

Most modern STD tests are very accurate. However, test accuracy varies depending on the type of sample collected and the test detection method.

Traditional in-office tests are more accurate than online-only tests, and home-to-lab tests are more accurate than self-collected ones. However, both are highly efficient.

How Long After Sex Do Sti Symptoms Appear

25 October 2021

Realising you have contracted an STI is a shock for anyone but heading immediately to a private health clinic isnt always the correct solution and may result in a wasted trip.

In this blog we will discuss how long after sex you will begin to experience STI symptoms, how soon you should get a private STI test, and whether some STI symtoms can be mistaken for a UTI.

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How Soon Can I Get Tested For Stds After Unprotected Sex

  • Trichomoniasis Incubation Period
  • Lets say youve recently had unprotected sex and now youre worried that you may have picked up a sexually transmitted disease . With STD rates rising higher than ever before, this is a totally valid and legitimate concern. So what do you do? Getting tested would be a very smart decision, but you may be surprised to learn that you can actually test too early.

    If you feel like you could have contracted an STD, your instinct may be to get tested immediately, but this can be a huge mistake. Testing too early can cause inaccurate results, possibly leading you to believe youre STD-free when youre really not. This is because each STD has its own unique incubation period, which you must out wait in order to get accurate results. Like many things in life, timing is everything.

    What Is an STD Incubation Period?

    An incubation period is the span of time from when you first come in contact with an STD to when antibodies form to fight the STD1). Tests look for the presence of these antibodies during testing2), and if you do not wait until the incubation period has ended, you may not allow your body sufficient time to develop enough antibodies for it to show up in testing, causing a false-negative result.

    When Should I Get Tested for STDs?

    How Soon Do STD Symptoms Appear?

    Chlamydia Incubation Period

    Gonorrhea Incubation Period

    If you would like to test for gonorrhea, consider also testing for chlamydia as these two STDs frequently occur together. 4)


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