HOTLINE – When is the Right Time to Test?

This may be the #1 question we hear. The short answer? If you are sexually active and have not been tested for HIV or other STDs in the past 12 months, the right time to get tested is right now. It’s possible that you may have an STD and simply do not know it. That’s why the CDC and other organizations want everyone who has sex to get a yearly STD test as part of their normal health routine.

Now, if you want to try to “time” an STD test based on what you think was a recent unsafe experience, there is a more nuanced answer. Let’s say that up until yesterday you were a virgin and never had any sexual contact – vaginal, anal, oral or other. And yesterday you got busy in an unsafe way with someone who told you, after having a robust night of lovemaking, “Wow, that was great, but I should tell you that I have genital herpes.” Or HIV or Hepatitis C or another STD. In that instance, you need to get yourself checked out and think about the timing of the test

Viral infections like Herpes (HSV-2) and HIV may not develop detectable antibodies to the virus for up to 3 months. This is called “seroconversion.” The HIV DNA by PCR test will look for DNA cells as early as 28 days after a possible exposure because it’s not looking for antibodies.

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