Are you concerned you may have been exposed to an STD? It’s important to remember though that some STDs will not show up on tests right away. When someone is exposed to an infection there is generally a period of time before the infection will appear on any test which means testing at the right time is crucial.

You should generally wait at least two weeks after the potential exposure before taking a test. They also recommend waiting until one week after finishing any treatment of antibiotics to test because antibiotics can disrupt any tests for bacterial infection such as chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis.

Some common STDs can have an incubation period of only a few days while others can take several weeks. Not all people will show signs or symptoms of an infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people won’t show any symptoms but can still pass an infection along to others. It is important to get tested at the appropriate time. Testing too early can give you inaccurate results and you won’t really know your current sexual health status..

The CDC recommends screening for syphilis, HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea and hepatitis B in all at-risk women who may be pregnant. This will help to protect both you and your unborn child from spreading these infections. Some STDs can cause complications during pregnancy and precautions need to be taken, so it is best to know as early as possible if you have an infection. Also, the CDC believes all sexually active women under the age of 25, or older women with multiple sex partners, are should test for chlamydia and gonorrhea annually. All sexually active gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men should test for syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea every 3-6 months.

It is important to keep in mind that during the incubation period of an STD, even without symptoms present, a person can still transmit the infection to someone else. The best way to know the current status of your sexual health is to have STD testing performed. Please speak with a doctor if you have additional questions or concerns about your sexual health.