what is the window period for testing STD/STI and HIV

You’ve probably been involved in one of these street conversations about Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

You’ve probably heard about the STD testing window period the total duration that the virus or an infection takes to be detected through testing in the course of your interactions.

Growing up, I always wondered about the meaning of a window period, especially in the STD/STI testing.

I also wondered what exactly happens after a sexual intercourse with an infected person.

I hope this did not happen to me only.

What actually happens after sexual intercourse with an infected person?

During sexual intercourse, a virus can be transferred from one infected partner to another uninfected partner.

While the virus continues to live in the body system, tests done immediately after sexual intercourse might not detect the existence of the virus.

Depending on the infection, it takes different durations for the infections to be detected in the body.This is the STD testing window period. You might want to go for a free STI testing near your residence!

The development of signs and symptoms also take a considerable amount of time to emerge. Signs and symptoms, however, are not a confirmation for the existence an STI, STI, or HIV/AIDS in the body.

Going for STD/STI tests provide the best opportunity for the determination of an infection in the body. Also, consistent tests help in the determination of the effectiveness of the treatment.

For HIV/AIDS the suppression of the virus that reduces the viral load can only be established through regular and consistent HIV/AIDS testing.

When the viruses are not suppressed, the immunity system of the body grows weak- and the body soon becomes vulnerable for many other infections.

So, what are the exact window periods for testing STD/ STI and HIV?

As I have noted, the window periods are different from one infection/disease to another. The testing mechanisms and samples are equally different.

We should then take a walk through the specific STDs/STIs to determine the various window periods that are involved for every infection.

Sounds good, isn’t it?

But just one more piece of critical information, the STD testing procedure!

Testing STD/STI has an almost similar procedure, though different. The first stage is often an interaction with the physician or medic who wants to test you. In an HIV/AIDS scenario, the engagement is done with a qualified counselor, offering a pre-test guidance and cancelling session.

The second step involves taking the sample, often the blood or a swab. The samples are subjected to different STD test before the result is given to you.


Let’s now have a look at some of the common STDs and their window periods

Chlamydia- The window period for the detection of a Chlamydia infection is between 24 hours to 2 weeks. The most accurate result for Chlamydia infection is two weeks after sexual intercourse with an infected person.
It is passed from one person to the other through semen, virginal fluid or the rectal fluids. The test for Chlamydia uses urine or swab.
Some signs and symptoms of the infection include discharge from the vagina, penis or anus and burning when a person is urinating.

Chlamydia is caused by bacteria and cured with antibiotics.

Gonorrhea- The most accurate gonorrhea window period is seven days. Gonorrhea is caused by bacteria through the semen,virginal fluids, or the rectal fluids.

The samples for testing gonorrhea are urine and swab.

Seven days after sex, the results from a gonorrhea tests are considered accurate. A positive result requires an administration of antibiotics.

Some signs and symptoms of gonorrhea are discharge from the vagina, penis, or anus and burning when urinating.

Sometimes, gonorrhea might not show any signs or symptoms.

Hepatitis A- The window period for Hepatitis A is four weeks. Signs and symptoms might start to show after two week of sexual intercourse.

Hepatitis A is caused by a virus and contained in the fecal-oral. The sample used for testing Hepatitis A is the blood.

Hepatitis A infection has no treatment. The surest way to prevent Hepatitis A is through the administration of Hepatitis A immunization drugs.

Some of the signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A include nausea, fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, and dark urine.

Hepatitis B- The results for Hepatitis B is often accurate after one month (28 days). The accuracy, however, can extend up to 60 days for some people.

It is caused by a virus through blood, semen, virginal fluids, or rectal fluids. Like for Hepatitis A, the infection is characterized with loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, and fever.

Also, Hepatitis B does not have any treatment. The virus might continue to stay in the body or clears itself from the body.

Immunization against Hepatitis B prevents a person from attracting the virus.

Syphilis- The surest result of a syphilis infection takes between 3-4 weeks after sexual intercourse. Syphilis is caused by bacteria than can be transferred from one person to the other through skin contact.

The sample used for testing Syphilis is blood. While syphilis has no significant signs and symptoms, the treatment involves the use of antibiotics.

Herpes simplex virus- Herpes simplex virus has two possible tests for a determination. The first test involves the use of a swab as a sample.

Using a swab as a sample requires 12 days for an accurate result.

The second test for Herpes simplex virus is through the use of blood sample. Blood sample requires at least 3 months for an accurate results.

Possible signs and symptoms of Herpes simplex infection include painful blisters around the mouth and genitals.

The infection does not have any treatment. The virus can, however, be managed using anti-retroviral drugs.

Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-  Studies have shown that at least 95% of the virus infection can be detected after 6 weeks.

Some people might have to wait for up to 12 weeks for the final results.

The infection is caused by a virus that weakens the body and reduces the immunity systems in the body. The virus can be transferred through the semen, vaginal fluids, rectal fluids, or breast milk.

Testing HIV requires blood samples to establish the existence of the virus. The virus can only survive in the human body.

Some of the signs and symptoms of HIV include swollen lymph nodes and body rashes. In some instances, the signs and symptoms might take a longer time to be seen in the body.

HIV does not have any treatment. The virus can, however be suppressed. The use of anti retroviral drugs suppresses the virus, making it inactive.

A reduction in the viral load makes the body stronger. The anti retroviral drugs, however, must be used regularly and consistently to effectively manage the viruses.