STD tests are used to check patients for sexually transmitted diseases and sexually transmitted infections. If you have recently had sex with a new partner, it is important that you both look after your sexual health by getting an STD test as STDs are surprisingly common – it is currently estimated that around 1 in every 5 Americans have an STD.
STD tests come in many different forms depending on the type of STD you are testing for. None of them should be painful or particularly uncomfortable and they are simple to complete.
But how long do STD tests take? How does STD testing work? And how long can you expect to wait for your STD test results?
We are going to take a look at some of these questions and find out just how long an STD test takes.
How long do STD tests take?
STD tests are usually very quick and should take just a few minutes to complete as they only require a blood or urine sample to be taken, a swab of the infected area, or a physical examination. To make the process even quicker, if you know that you have been exposed to a particular STD then let the doctor or nurse know in advance so that they know which of the tests to perform.
The process of STD testing is set up to be as quick and as smooth as possible in order to ensure that patients are at ease and comfortable with going for testing as regularly as they need to.
So let’s now jump in and find out just how long it takes to get your results back.
How long does it take to get STD results back?
The amount of time it takes to get your STD test results back depends upon the type of STD test you have had. A blood test or urine sample, for example, can take between two and ten days to return, but some physical tests simply require inspection and you can have your results available immediately. In most cases, your STD test results should take no longer than ten days to be given to you. Many clinics will always provide results within 72 hours of testing.
What happens during an STD test?
There are over 20 different STDS, each of which has its own test. You can discuss with the doctor or nurse as to which tests you should have.
STD tests all fall into one of four groups. You can either get a blood test, which involves extracting blood with either a safety lancet or a needle; a urine test, which involves urinating into a sample cup; a swab, which involves swabbing the inside of your cheek, your genitals, or a particular infected area; or a physical examination, which involves a doctor or a nurse examining an area of your body that may show signs of infection.
You can choose to have all types of testing done or opt for just one type. The different forms of testing are used to check for different types of STDs.
What STDs are tested for?
Both chlamydia and gonorrhoea can be tested by using a urine sample, as well as other methods. Blood tests are used for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and C, and herpes.
With both blood tests and urine tests, once the samples have been taken, they are sent to a lab in which a technician examines them for antibodies produced in response to an infection. In some cases, if you have only recently contracted the STD, the antibodies may not yet show up, so it is important to get tested again if you suspect you have contracted an STD.
You may also get a swab test to diagnose HPV, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, or herpes, but blood and urine tests are more common. A doctor may also be able to diagnose conditions such as genital warts or herpes just through physical examination.
Can I book an STD test on the day?
You can book same-day or next-day appointments with many different healthcare providers online or use an online search tool to find a nearby STD testing center. Getting tested for STDs is important and healthcare professionals understand that people don’t want to be left waiting for days or even weeks to get an appointment. So it is vital that if you need an STD test you book yourself in as quickly as you possibly can.
If there are no appointments available that day, you should usually be able to book an appointment for the next day.
Can I perform an STD test at home?
There are STD home testing kits available, but their reliability does vary. When it comes to STDs, the accuracy of the test largely depends upon the quality of the sample collected. With things such as a blood sample, it can be particularly difficult to get a quality sample as some people find it hard to self-administer a blood test. Trained healthcare professionals collect blood samples every day as part of their job, so it is advisable to get tested in an STD testing centre rather than at home.
However, if for some reason it is not possible for you to attend an STD test appointment at an STD testing centre, then an at-home STD test is preferable to none at all.
STD tests are quick, easy, and reliable. The tests are designed to make the patients as comfortable as possible so they are not deterred to get them in the future should they need to. The different forms of testing differ in how long the results take to come back, but you should never be waiting for more than ten days. The STD test itself should only take a matter of minutes.
If you receive a positive test result, make sure you inform any sexual partners you have had since your previous test. And be sure to seek professional medical advice from your doctor or from the medical staff at your local STD clinic.