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When do I need to test ?

To get the most accurate results for an STI test, it is important to know when to test. It takes time before an STI infection will show up on a test. This is called the “window period”.

If you test too soon after exposure to an STI (during the “window period”), you may not get an accurate result.

If you want to be tested because of a specific sexual contact you had, we recommend testing at 3 weeks and 3 months following contact. At 3 weeks, most tests should detect an infection, and at 3 months most are considered accurate. There are some additional considerations for HIV and Hepatitis C, so if you have specific concerns it’s best to speak to a health care provider.


 
STI How long until the test will show if I have it?
Chlamydia     2 to 6 weeks after contact for a urine or swab test.
Gonorrhea      1 week after contact for a urine or swab test.
​Syphilis 3 months after contact for​ a blood test.
​HIV

3 weeks after contact for a blood test. It may take up to 3 months to get an accurate result.  ​

Hepatitis C5 to 10 weeks after contact for a blood test.

 

How often should I test?

It’s a good idea to get tested for STIs regularly, usually every 3 – 12 months. For example, if you or your partner(s) are having sex with new or casual partners, you might want to test every 3 or 6 months. It is not usually recommended to test more often than every 3 months (ie. monthly).

GetCheckedOnline is a good option for testing when: 

  • It is part of your STI screening routine.
  • You've had a change in your sexual behaviours.
  • You want to test based on a sexual contact or experience you had (usually at 3 weeks and 3 months after contact). ​

We recommend that you see a health care provider when:

  • You have symptoms, such as discharge, pain, itching, or sores on the genitals.
  • You had sex with someone who has an STI.
  • You need tests that GetCheckedOnline does not offer.
  • You want support after sexual assault.
  • You need a printed copy of your results with your name on it.​

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Have Questions?

If you can't find answers here, you can ask your questions online at SmartSexResource. A sexual health nurse is available to answer your questions through the website or private chat.

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Having Safer Sex

Using condoms and other kinds of protection is a very effective way to prevent STIs. Spice up your safer sex life. Use protection and learn how to talk about safer sex with partners

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Your Privacy

Your privacy is important to us. Any personal information collected by this online service is protected by our privacy policy and provincial privacy legislation.

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Other Resources

Need more information or someone to talk to? There are lots of online resources and local services that deal with sexual health and STIs.

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PHSA improves the health of British Columbians by seeking province-wide solutions to specialized health care needs in collaboration with BC health authorities and other partners. Learn more about our agencies & services.

Copyright 2016 BC Centre for Disease Control. All rights reserved.

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