STD Testing windows

The window period for each STD test is different.

The window period is the minimum time gap between infection time and testing time when a test can detect the presence of the specific STD accurately. The window period has to be taken into consideration while conducting a test, to avoid false negatives. False positives are a different problem altogether.

If  sufficient time is not allowed to elapse after a STD infection, then no test can detect the presence of  the RNA, antigens or the antibodies even if the viruses or bacteria are present in the system.

You want to know with certainty if you have so or so STD with certainty. You can only start treatment when you know for certain that you have the specific viruses or bacteria. Even if you don’t have one, you still want to be sure that your test results are not false.

After someone is exposed to STD, there is generally a time gap before a test will detect the infection in the individual. That period is known as the window period. The incubation period of a disease is not the same as the window period because, the former is the time that passes between being exposed to a disease and starting to experience symptoms.

STD testing windows vary by STD, so it’s important to make sure you’ve matched the window period with the specific STDs you are getting tested. So, here’s your go-to guide for the window period of the most commonly tested STDs.

The Window Period depends upon the types of test.

  • Whether the test is looking for the pathogen that causes the disease, or your immune system’s response to the pathogen.
  • The specific test that is being done. For example, aDNA amplification test that looks directly for the organism would usually be able to detect an infection more quickly than an antibody test that needs to wait for an immune response.

Typical STD testing windows are:

Chlamydia Urine Test:
Possible Detection – Within the first week
Most Likely Detection – 2 Weeks
Highest Accuracy – 4 Weeks

Gonorrhea Urine Test:
Possible Detection – Within the first week
Most Likely Detection – 1-2 Weeks
Highest Accuracy – 2-3 Weeks

Herpes Simplex 1 & 2 Blood Test:
Possible Detection – 2-4 Weeks
Most Likely Detection – 6-12 Weeks
Highest Accuracy – 12-16 Weeks

Syphilis Blood Test:
Possible Detection – 1-2 Weeks
Most Likely Detection – 6 Weeks
Highest Accuracy – 12 Weeks

HIV Antibody Test:
Possible Detection – 3 Weeks
Most Likely Detection – 4-6 Weeks
Highest Accuracy – 12 Weeks

HIV Early Detection Test :
Possible Detection – 1-2 Weeks
Most Likely Detection – 3 Weeks
Highest Accuracy – 3-4 Weeks

Hepatitis A Blood Test:
Possible Detection – 2-3 Weeks
Most Likely Detection – 3-6 Weeks
Highest Accuracy – 6-7 Weeks

Hepatitis B Blood Test:
Possible Detection – 1-6 Weeks
Most Likely Detection – 6-10 Weeks
Highest Accuracy – 12 Weeks

Hepatitis C Blood Test:
Possible Detection –  4-5 Weeks
Most Likely Detection – 6-9 Weeks
Highest Accuracy – 10-12 Weeks

NOTE:
  • During incubation as well as window periods, an infected person is infectious. He/she can transmit the infection/disease to a sexual partner.
  • As per CDC, most people infected with HIV will develop detectable antibodies within 25 days of exposure.
  • Approximately 97% of HIV infected people will have antibodies by three months after a potential exposure.
  • STD Test Experts recommend confirming any HIV test with a final ELISA HIV test after 3 months of exposure.
  • ELISA HIV test  is considered the gold standard in HIV testing.
  • Every case with a negative result must be re-tested after 6 months again to ensure a false-negative does not go untested.
  • If your partner tested positive for an STD but you were tested negative, then that result most probably is a false negative.