When do I need to test ?

To get the most accurate results for an STI test, it is important to know when to test. Tests cannot detect an STI until a certain amount of time has passed and the infection has built up in the body enough to be detectable – 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.

The time it takes for an STI to be picked up by a test can vary. We give a time range for each STI because it can sometimes take longer to get an accurate result. Usually the infection will show up within the shortest time, but occasionally it takes longer.


 
STI Window period
​Chlamydia     ​wait 2 weeks after exposure to get a urine or swab test.
​Gonorrhea      ​wait 1 week after exposure to get a urine or swab test.
​Syphilis ​wait 3 - 4 weeks after exposure to get a blood test.
​HIV

​For women, wait 6 weeks after contact to get a blood test. It may take up to 3 months to get an accurate result. 

For men we offer a different test.  Wait 2 weeks after contact to get a blood test, and it may take up to 6 weeks to get an accurate result.

Hepatitis C ​wait 6 to 9 weeks after exposure to get a blood test.

 

How often should I test?

It’s a good idea to get regular STI testing, even if you don’t have any symptoms. People often have no symptoms when they have an STI. GetCheckedOnline will recommend testing every 3 or 12 months, based on your online assessment. You can also set testing reminders to your own preference. 

In addition, we recommend that you get tested for STIs when: 

  • You have a new sexual partner.
  • You or your sex partner has more than one sexual partner.
  • You had unprotected sex or the condom broke.
  • You are sexually active and have never been tested before.
 

When should I see a health care provider in person?

We recommend that you see a health care provider when:

  • You notice any symptoms, such as discharge, pain or itching, or sores on the genitals.
  • You had sex with someone who has an STI or a sex partner has told you to get tested.
  • You need tests that GetCheckedOnline does not offer, such testing for herpes or HPV.
  • You had sex without your consent (sexual assault).
  • You need a printed copy of your results with your name on it.​

​​

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.

Learn More...

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

Learn More...

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.

Learn More...

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.

Learn More...

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.

Give us your feedback

We’d love to hear any suggestions you have to make this service better.