By Dr. Shivani Chaturvedi, Gynaecology,
When it comes to Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) testing windows, it is crucial to make sure that you get the test done at the right time so that you don’t end up receiving a positive STD result. If you have an STD, you would want to know it with certainty so that you can start its treatment. When you don’t have one, you would also want to confirm it so that rest can be assured.
When to get the test done
- When someone is exposed to some kinds of diseases and eventually becomes infected, there is normally a span of time which shows positive. This span of time is called window period which is quite different from incubation period.
- Incubation period is that span of time during which the individual becomes exposed to the infection and starts developing symptoms.
- The STD testing windows differ as per the sexually transmitted disease and therefore, it is crucial to ensure that you match the window period with the particular STD, which you are testing.
How long does it take to test positive for any STD?
Normally, this depends on a number of factors such as the following:
- Whether the test is directed towards searching for the pathogen that has led to the disease or whether it is trying to find out the response of the immunity system to that particular pathogen.
- The particular STD test that is performed. For instance, a DNA amplification test which directly searches for the organism is going to yield faster results than any antibody test that requires one to wait to receive the response of immunity system.
- The overall condition of your immune system as well as whether you have been subjected to same kinds of infections in the past.
It is crucial to note here that an infected person can transmit the disease or the infection to someone healthy during the window or the incubation period. Thus, you should get it re-evaluated after every six months to make sure that a false negative result did not come out when:
- Your partner tested positive for any kind of STD, or
- You feel that you have a false negative result, or
- You are going through symptoms, or
- You recently had unprotected intercourse.
It is presumed that most individuals having HIV would develop significant antibodies within 25 days of being exposed. Therefore, it is important to conduct ELISA HIV test after three months of exposure to know whether you have STD infection or disease.