Waiting for your test results can be a stressful experience, especially when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases and sexual health. However, there are many reasons to explain longer waiting times for STD results.
While it can be easy to imagine the worst, it’s important to keep an open, positive mind as the laboratory processes your sample. But, if your STD test takes longer than normal, does that mean you should expect a positive result? In this article, we’ll answer these common concerns and more!
How Long Does STD Testing Take?
Most STD test providers promise results between a few days to a week. At Priority STD Testing (PSTD), we process results in as little as 24 to 72 hrs after collection. However, there are many factors that can affect the timeliness of your results including the type of test, the type of testing provider and laboratory delays.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals who test positive for any STD should seek out treatment as soon as possible and abstain from sexual contact.1 And while home remedies for STDs might help ease symptoms briefly, they are not considered a form of treatment.
Though waiting might seem like a waste of time, getting tested is the only way to diagnose a potential STI and begin treatment.
Why Are My STD Test Results Taking So Long?
If your results are taking longer than expected, this can cause some understandable stress and anxiety. As a sexually active adult, you want to know if you test positive as soon as possible.
Some of the more common causes for delays include inclement weather or short staffing. Retests may be conducted to rule out false-positive results. If you were tested for a panel of sexually transmitted infections, many STD test providers wait to release results until after all the tests are complete. Additionally, doctor’s office STD testing may only notify patients of positive results. If you are receiving testing at an urgent care facility or a related healthcare provider, it’s possible that no news is good news!
Do Bad Results Take Longer?
Not necessarily. Longer wait times cannot be used to accurately determine the outcome of an STD test. Laboratories may require a second round of testing to ensure the accuracy of results. However, the time needed to confirm results is usually negligible.
Are Blood Tests Faster Than Urine Sample Tests?
Typically, regular STD check-ups require samples such as a swab of the genital area, a blood sample or a urine test. The type of testing method definitely influences how quickly the lab can release a result.
Generally speaking, STD blood tests are very accurate and generally quicker to process than urine tests. Rapid tests often have results ready within a couple of minutes; however, their testing accuracy is not as reliable. At PSTD, our tests are FDA approved and performed in CLIA-certified labs, making them the most accurate as compared to non-certified options.
Does An HIV Test Take Longer?
Depending on the type of test, the processing time for HIV testing may take longer. For example, the HIV 4th Gen Ab/Ag test can provide results within 24 to 72 hours. This test should only be taken 3 months after the supposed time of infection.
However, our specialty tests, such as the HIV RNA Early Detection test, can take up to 5 business days to process. While the early detection test can require longer processing times, it can provide reliable results for those exposed as little as 9 days after the infection.
What To Do When You Can’t Wait
From the type of STDs being tested to laboratory processing delays, there are many reasons why a test may take longer than expected. While the wait might be stressful, there are many ways to decompress while your test is being processed. Meditation, exercise and other self-care methods are all great practices for reducing anxiety.
At PSTD, we offer fast, accurate and easy access to STD testing for infections such as chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and more. You can get tested same-day, with results made available to you within 24 to 72 hours through a secure patient portal.
If you have concerns about your health or the status of your STD test, our care counselors are always willing to talk you through the process, help you understand when to expect your specific results, what precautions to take while you wait, and what safe sex practices to consider in the future.
- “The Lowdown On How To Prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases.” CDC online. Accessed February 10, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/std/prevention/lowdown/.