After engaging in a sexual activity that exposed you to an STI, you may want to visit a sexual health clinic for STI testing immediately, but this may not be the right next step to take. If you think you have gotten an STI and want to get tested, the information below will likely be useful.
Reading on, you’ll know how long after sex before you will experience STI symptoms, how soon you need an STI test and whether some STI symptoms are similar to UTI symptoms.
How long after sex do STI symptoms show?
The duration from when you contract an STI to when the symptoms show varies, depending on the STI contracted. Below is how long it takes for symptoms to show for specific STIs.
Chlamydia symptoms usually appear 1 – 2 weeks following sexual intercourse, but the symptoms appear much later in some cases. Note that about 70% of women and 50% of men infected with chlamydia do not experience symptoms.
Common chlamydia symptoms include pelvic pain, vaginal bleeding and discharge in women, penile discharge in men and pain while urinating.
The symptoms of gonorrhoea usually appear within two weeks following exposure to the bacteria. However, in some cases, the symptoms do not show until after a long time. About 10% of malesand 50% of females with gonorrhoea do not experience symptoms.
Gonorrhoea symptoms include yellow or green penile or vaginal discharge and discomfort while urinating.
If you contract trichomoniasis after engaging in any sexual activity, the symptoms will likely show within four weeks. However, some persons do not experience symptoms until after several months—about 50% of women and men infected with trichomoniasis experience no symptoms.
The symptoms include discharge from the penis and vagina, itching around the vagina opening and discomfort while urinating.
Following a syphilis infection, symptoms appear after 2 – 3 weeks. In some cases, the symptoms show earlier or at a later period.
The symptoms include one or several ulcers and sores on the genital area. Flu-like symptoms may also occur weeks after, but the symptoms are usually not obvious. They may also come and go during the treatment period.
The initial symptoms following HIV infection occur 2 – 6 weeks after the infection occurs and last for about two weeks. However, some people experience no symptoms.
The symptoms are flu-like symptoms such as headaches, achy joints or muscles, sore throat and high temperature. A red rash on the body is also present. Since HIV has no cure, medications that reduce symptoms and prolong life are available. You’ll likely experience no symptoms after the initial symptom with these medications.
If you contract genital warts, the symptoms may appear three weeks to several months after the initial infection.
The symptoms include small painless but itchybumps on the genitals or anus.
Symptoms from pubic lice infection can take several weeks following infection to appear. Women and men experience the same symptoms. These symptoms include small spots on the skin where itching occurs, irritation and inflammation due to itching and black powder in the underwear.
The timeframe from STI symptoms to show differ, so ensure you seek professional medical care if you think you’ve had a known exposure to an STD.
Can STI symptoms appear the following day?
The chances of STI symptoms occurring the next day after infection occurs is low. However, you may experience discomfort if your sexual partner is not hygienic. The discomfort may result from a pH level imbalance.
If you notice changes in your genitals and are unsure what caused it, ensure you consult your doctor.
How soon can I carry out an STD test after having unprotected sex?
Some sexual health professionals recommend waiting at least 14 days after unprotected sex before scheduling a private STI test to allow the STI’s incubation period.
The incubation period of a sexually transmitted infection is the period from when you contract the infection to the period antibodies in your body begin to fight the infection. If you do not give the antibodies time to develop and you carry out the test before the incubation period is over, your test may give a false-negative result.
Can you engage in sexual activity with someone who has an STI and not contract it?
STI transmission does not always occur every time you engage in sexual activity, but this doesn’t mean you should risk having sex with an infected person. STI transmission occurs through sexual activity such as touching, kissing and oral sex.
You can restrict the transmission of STIs by using a protective barrier contraceptive such as a condom. However, this does not guarantee 100% protection from STIs. A safe method is getting STI testing for yourself and any new sexual partner.
Ensure you get private STI testing in London if you experience STI symptoms or think you’ve contracted an STI. You can call 020 3475 1653 to schedule an appointment at Sexual Health Clinic for your STI testing.