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chances of getting an std from a one night stand

By: Karen Terry

September 3, 2021

Chances of Getting an STD from a One-Night Stand: Tips and Safe Practices

A one-night stand is something that many people have been through. It can provide an outlet for healthy sexual expression, but there are drawbacks: sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy. What are your chances of getting an STD from a one-night stand?

There’s no way to provide exact numbers since every circumstance is different. This article will go over what you need to know to keep yourself safe after having casual sex. At Rapid STD Testing, we offer same-day STD testing with full panels at our clinics throughout the United States, so you can know your status and take control of your sexual health.

Defining One-Night Stands

You might be wondering exactly what the definition is of a one-night stand. Essentially, it’s a sexual encounter with a partner you don’t intend to see again or keep in communication with after you hook up with them. Some may call it “no strings attached,” but it’s all the same: one night of casual sex with no emotions or attachments.

There are many conflicting views on one-night stands. Society often presents them as immoral or wrong, and there can be double standards for men and women. The truth is that these short-term encounters can be part of a healthy, normal sex life — as long as you educate yourself on how to stay safe from risk.

When you don’t have a history of trust and familiarity with your partner, it becomes even more essential to use protection during the sexual encounter to prevent STDs and pregnancy.

Odds of Getting an STD from a One-Night Stand

The chances of getting an STD from a one-night stand vary on a few different factors, including:

  • Whether you had protected or unprotected sex
  • If your partner already has an STD
  • The kind of STD your partner has

If you have unprotected sex, your chances of contracting an STD are much higher. The chances of catching an STD like chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis are about 30% if you don’t use the barrier method for protection when you have a sexual encounter with an infected person.

When it comes to HIV, the stats are a bit different. Here are some statistics from AIDSmap.com on your risks of catching HIV from unprotected sex:

Unprotected Sexual Activity Risk of HIV Exposure
Vaginal intercourse, female-to-male 1 in 2,380, or 0.04%
Vaginal intercourse, male-to-female 1 in 1,234, or 0.08%
Receptive anal sex 1 in 72, or 1.38%
Insertive anal sex 1 in 909, or 0.11%

A “one-night stand” doesn’t just mean penetrative sex. Oral sex and anal sex also involve exchanging bodily fluids that can lead to transmission. While condoms reduce the risk of getting an STD considerably, they don’t eliminate it entirely.

The only way to ensure that you won’t get an STD is to abstain from sexual activity. If you don’t want to practice abstinence, prepare to use protection every time and get regular STD testing.

Here are the best tips for staying safe if you have a casual sexual encounter:

  • Use the barrier method consistently and correctly every time you have sex, and have backup protection
  • Communicate with every sexual partner to find out their status
  • Get regular STD testing (every three months) and after any unprotected sexual encounter

These three things will help reduce your chances of getting an STD from a one-night stand and will also help reduce your chance of unknowingly transmitting an STD to your sexual partners.

How Soon After Unprotected Sex Can You Test for STDs?

You can get an STD test a few days after having unprotected sex. However, the window period of an STD, or how long it takes to show up on a test, can affect your results. Generally, you should wait about a week after having unprotected sex before getting an STD test. Every STD has a different window period. For example, HIV may take three months to show up in your system.

For that reason, it’s essential to get regular testing at Rapid STD Testing’s convenient locations. Even if you’re not showing any symptoms, it’s a good idea to get the full panel of testing since some STDs are asymptomatic.

Can You Get Chlamydia After a One-Night Stand?

Yes, you can get chlamydia after having casual sex with somebody if they are infected, and you don’t use protection. You have a 30% risk of contracting chlamydia after a one-night stand.

Can You Get Herpes After a One-Night Stand?

Yes, you can get herpes after a one-night stand if your partner has herpes, especially if your partner currently has an active breakout. If you’re showing any physical symptoms of herpes (like sores or bumps), it’s crucial to get tested.

You may be confused by the symptoms, especially if you’re researching online on ill-informed sources. For instance, many people have trouble telling the difference between an ingrown hair vs. herpes. With a herpes testing panel from Rapid STD Testing, you get results within one to three days.

Measures to Take to Reduce Odds of Getting an STD

While there’s no shame in having a one-night stand, it’s still essential to prepare yourself for the inherent risks. If you think a partner may have exposed you to an STD, Rapid STD Testing is here to help when you need a quick, safe, and confidential STD test. Consider ordering a 10-panel STD test so that you can know your status and get treatment as quickly as possible.

No birth control or STD prevention method is 100% effective, so follow these tips before, during, and after the sexual encounter to reduce the chances of getting an STD from a one-night stand.


The best measure to take before a one-night stand to reduce your chances of getting an STD is to have protection on you at all times. That means more than just the birth control pill; that means using the barrier method. Barrier methods include:

  • Male condoms (external condoms)
  • Female condoms (internal condoms)
  • Dental dams
  • Latex gloves (in a pinch)

Don’t believe the myth that using the barrier method prevents you from “feeling” during sex. You experience sensation and connect with your sexual partners, yet you’ll be safe at the time. Actually, the word “safe” is a misnomer.

There is no such thing as 100% safe sex, including sexual activities that don’t involve penetration, like oral sex. Instead, prepare yourself before a one-night stand by committing to having “safer” sex using the barrier method.

You can also prepare yourself for a one-night stand by getting vaccinations for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and HPV. Ask your primary care provider if you’re eligible to receive those vaccines. You’ll also need a backup plan for your contraception in case it fails in the heat of the moment.

Choosing a One-Night Stand Condom

A critical aspect you should consider before a one-night stand is choosing the right type of condom. Take the time to read the package and ensure that it will offer you the best possible protection. The box should also expressly state that the condoms inside can prevent disease.

If the box doesn’t say that the condoms inside can prevent disease, they most likely haven’t been scientifically tested for STD prevention. Use condoms with water-based lubrication, as this can help prevent the thin latex from ripping or tearing during penetration.

Any condom you choose (male or female) should be latex. If you have a latex allergy, the acceptable alternative is a polyurethane condom. It’s crucial to select latex or polyurethane because testing shows that these materials drastically lower your risk of transmission.

You may see condoms labeled “organic” or made from sheepskin, but those types are not acceptable for preventing STDs.


You can also protect yourself from getting an STD during a casual sexual encounter. It may sound awkward, but you should always ask your partner their status. Ask them when or if they last had an STD test, if they’re having unprotected sex with other people, and if they currently have an STD or any symptoms.

Communication is vital when it comes to having sex (especially casual sex), and it may not seem very sexy at the time, but you’ll be much happier later that you took the time to ask the difficult questions.

Of course, the most critical method for protecting yourself from getting an STD during a one-night stand is to use the barrier protection method. Otherwise, your chances of contracting an STI (sexually transmitted infection) or STD become much higher.

The CDC has an informative condom fact sheet that emphasizes this: correct and consistent use of latex condoms is highly effective in preventing the transmission of STDs like gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and more.


Did you have an unprotected one-night stand? If so, you can take specific measures afterward to protect yourself from STDs. If you’re experiencing physical symptoms, the most critical step is getting a rapid STD test. Once the results come back, you can start arranging for the appropriate treatment methods.

At Rapid STD Testing, we offer fast, confidential, and accurate STD testing, regardless of your need to get tested. You can log on to our website and order the STI testing panel that you want at a clinic near you. Then, all you have to do is head down to one of the convenient locations and give a specimen. You’ll have confidential and accurate results within one to three days.

You can also opt for post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, a medication that helps prevent HIV after a possible exposure to the virus. For example, if you have unprotected sex with somebody who is HIV positive, PEP could help prevent you from getting the virus. However, you must take it within 72 hours of exposure for the medication to be effective.

Measures That Are Not Helpful

One factor that doesn’t make things easier is the number of myths that surround STDs. Maybe you’ve heard some of these STD myths before or read about them online. For example, one myth says that rinsing your genitals with soda or alcohol after sexual intercourse will prevent STDs or pregnancy. However, that is false.

Washing your genitals or urinating after a sexual encounter will not prevent STDs. It can help prevent a urinary tract infection, but that’s about it. Douching or washing is ineffective against STDs.

If you feel worried or panicked about possible exposure, try to stay calm and take the steps outlined here to do what you can to mitigate the risk after your sexual encounter.  Schedule a test panel with Rapid STD Testing as soon as possible, especially if you’re showing STD symptoms.

If you had skin-to-skin contact with someone who has an STD, your chances of getting an STD from a one-night stand increase. Please get checked right away. Even if you aren’t showing symptoms, it’s still important to get an accurate test as quickly as possible.

Get Tested Today and Be in the Know

Order a quick, safe, and confidential testing panel from us here at Rapid STD Testing today to find out your status and keep your sex life safe, happy, and healthy


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By: Karen Terry
September 3, 2021

With a profound passion for making intricate medical information accessible to all, John possesses a unique ability to simplify complex concepts without sacrificing accuracy or depth. Armed with a comprehensive understanding of various healthcare fields, John is well-versed in the latest research and advancements. However, what truly sets him apart is his remarkable talent for distilling this wealth of knowledge into engaging, reader-friendly content.