Q: I’ve been exposed! When should I get my STD test?

Get Yourself Tested

Use protection


Students come in on occasion with immediate concerns about STDs, especially after an unprotected sex act, or one in which the protection failed.  Their questions?

  • What STDs could I have gotten last night?
  • When would I get symptoms if infected?
  • How soon can I be tested to know that I’m ok?
  • Can I spread this to another sex partner?
  • When is Emergency Contraception needed, if there is a pregnancy risk?

These are excellent questions, and require some discussion with a healthcare provider.  The reason is that STDs can vary from a few days to several months or more in terms of INCUBATION.  INCUBATION means the time needed from exposure to infection.  Getting tested immediately (or the next morning) may be too early to find the bug when it is first growing, but can tell us about your past risks. 

While testing may need to be delayed or repeated, treatment is often given right after exposure, if a partner is known to be infected with an STD.  This is called EMPIRIC treatment for an exposed partner, and can prevent an STD before it starts.

Final points –

  • While we will strive to address all your concerns on the first visit, there will likely still be some unknowns at the end of your visit.  We will establish a treatment and testing plan that is best suited to your needs.
  • Protection is Prevention if used consistently and carefully.  Most condoms fail because of user errors. 
  • Student Health Services is your healthcare provider in the heart of campus.  Come see us for our caring and expertise.   

Good Health!

Roger Miller, MD  (OSU Student Health)