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do positive std results take longer

By: Karen Terry

March 8, 2022

Do Positive STD Results Take Longer? Tips to Staying Calm While Waiting

If you just took an STD test, you're probably wondering, “Do positive STD results take longer? Just how fast do you get your STD results after taking a test?” Take a deep breath. It's only natural to feel anxious while waiting for STD test results. In this article, we're going to answer all your questions about how long it takes to get STD test results, tips to keep yourself calm while you're waiting, and how to cope with a positive test.

Whether you take a casual or committed approach to your sexual relationships, the key to maintaining a happy and healthy sex life is getting regular STD tests. At Rapid STD Testing, we offer same-day STD testing, making it simple for you to stay in control of your sexual health. Visit one of our 2500 nationwide locations today for a rapid STD test, or order your testing panel right now on our website.

How Long Does It Take to Get an STD Result?

Now, we'll discuss how long the test results for STDs are, which vary on many factors. Most STD testing centers can take up to two weeks to provide results, but at Rapid STD Testing, we offer quick online STD results within 24 to 72 hours. However, turnaround times depend on factors like the type of test, the STD you're testing for, and where you take the test.

Another factor affecting turnaround times is incubation periods, or how long the STD takes to enter your body. If you get tested too quickly, you could receive a false negative, which is why it's essential to get regular STD testing if you're sexually active. Here's a list of the most common STDs, their incubation period, testing types, and average turnaround times.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

  • Incubation: Two to four weeks
  • Testing: Self-testing requires an oral fluid sample with results in 20 minutes
    • Antigen or antibody laboratory blood tests take one to five days
    • Rapid antibody screenings and rapid tests (antigen/antibody) take 30 minutes


  • Incubation: One day to two weeks
  • Testing: Gonorrhea testing requires either a blood, urine, or swab sample, either from the cervix, urethra, mouth, or throat
  • Turnaround: One to five days


  • Incubation: One to three weeks
  • Testing: Chlamydia testing requires a urine or blood sample; swab tests require vaginal cells or urethral cells
  • Turnaround: One to ten days


  • Incubation: Five to 28 days
  • Testing: Trich testing requires a vaginal swab, urethral swab, urine sample, or blood sample
  • Turnaround: One to seven days

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

  • Incubation: One month to ten years
  • Testing: HPV testing requires a cervical swab
  • Turnaround: One to three weeks


  • Incubation: Three weeks to 20 years
  • Testing: Syphilis requires a blood test
  • Turnaround: One to ten days

Herpes (genital and oral)

  • Incubation: Two to twelve days
  • Testing: Herpes testing requires a blood sample or a fluid sample if you have an open sore
  • Turnaround: One to three days

Hepatitis (A,B,C)

  • Incubation: Between two and 26 weeks
  • Testing: Hepatitis testing requires a specific antibody blood test
  • Turnaround: One to three days

You're probably wondering which STD test takes the longest. HIV antibody blood tests can take a while due to HIV's long incubation period. The preferred method for testing (and most accurate) is antigen-antibody combination tests.

Do Positive STD Test Results Take Longer?

So, how long till you get STD results? We know the waiting period is extremely stressful. But if you need help, we have a staff of counselors waiting to answer your questions.

If your STD test results haven't come back right away, don't panic! Results can take a long time for various reasons and not necessarily because they're positive. Here are some common reasons why your test results could be taking a long time:

Type of Test: Some tests have longer turnaround times. For example, complete testing panels take longer to process than single testing panels. Also, some STD tests are more complex than others and may require sending your sample to another lab with the necessary equipment.

Clerical Errors: Administrative errors can also affect when you receive your results. For example, let's say you filled out your contact information incorrectly, or the office lost your paperwork. Either of those scenarios could result in a processing delay.

Lab Issues: Laboratory issues are another common cause of delay. For example, maybe a lab technician made a mistake or the processing equipment isn't working correctly. Or perhaps the lab was experiencing staffing issues, which caused a backlog in test processing.

Negative Results: Some testing centers will only notify you of your results if they are positive. At Rapid STD Testing, we have a secure online portal where you can view your results, whether they're positive or negative.

Positive Results: Of course, there is a chance your results could be positive. If it turns out the test is positive, labs will run a second retest to ensure that it wasn't a false alarm, which can take longer.

Tips to Keep Your Calm While Waiting for STD Test Results

With new cases of STDs growing every year, it can be challenging to remain calm while you're waiting for test results. According to the CDC, new cases of STDs have increased steadily over the last six years and are currently at an all-time high.

To stay in control of your sexual health, you can order a full 10-panel STD test from our website right now. But after you take the test comes the hard part: waiting. Fortunately, we have some tips that will help you stay calm while you're waiting. If you have worries about a negative STD result, please read through our informative blog post on the subject to get the answers you need.

1) Be with Your Friends and Family

One of the first places you can turn when you're stressed or anxious is towards your immediate support system: your family. Unfortunately, not everyone is close enough with their family to speak with them about STD testing. If that's the case, give your closest friends a call for advice and non-judgmental support.

2) Do Not Drink Too Much Caffeine

Although you probably wouldn't feel nervous from a few cups of coffee during a typical day, when you're already stressed, caffeine can take you over the edge. Feeling jittery on top of your racing thoughts will exacerbate your bad feelings. You don't have to stop altogether, but limiting your intake is a good idea.

3) Start Exercising

Whether you're a gym lover or you prefer the couch, taking the time to exercise while you're waiting for test results can help lower your stress levels. The neurotransmitter GABA in your brain is necessary to calm down the excited neurons that create those feelings of stress. A Princeton study found that when mice exercised regularly, their brains could shut off the effects of stress and calm down those excited neurons.

4) Maintain a Proper Sleep Schedule

Maintaining a proper sleep schedule is imperative to stay calm while waiting for test results. Even missing a small amount of sleep can adversely affect your mood, memory, and judgment. In fact, get in an extra hour or two at night to give yourself more time to rest, recover and de-stress.

If you have trouble getting to sleep, try taking melatonin (a natural sleep aid), or you can drink a cup of chamomile or Sleepytime tea. You can also take a long shower or bath, turn off the TV, or you can try reading or listening to music.

5) Limit Your Laptop or Mobile Device Use

We know it's too easy to fall down the rabbit hole of looking at terrifying pictures and worst-case scenarios. However, try as hard as you can to resist the temptation. Spending too much time online will only make you feel worse. Yes, you should stay informed regarding your sexual health, but it’s a better idea to speak with a health care provider if you have any questions.

6) Reminisce About the Good Memories in Your Life

The last piece of advice on our list for de-stressing while you wait for STD test results is to reminisce on the good memories and happy times in your life. While that may sound cheesy or cliché, you'd be surprised how much it can put you in a good mood.

One way to transport yourself back into a good memory is with your olfactory senses. For example, the fragrance of your mother's perfume, the smell of your favorite food, or another scent from a good memory can trigger those good feelings.  

Coping with Positive STD Test Results

Coping with a positive STD test result can be difficult. If your test was positive, it does not mean you're “slutty” or “dirty”—literally anyone can get an STD. It only takes one time! Keep reading for some advice on how you can cope with positive STD results and what to do next:

1) Remember that every STD is either treatable or curable

No matter what STD you tested positive for, please remember that it's either treatable or curable. You can quickly treat some common STDs with a round of antibiotics. Even HIV is highly manageable, with average life expectancies as long as you get proper treatment.

2) Get treated promptly

Leaving an STD untreated can have devastating effects on your health or fertility. Some can even cause death. At Rapid STD Testing, every patient with a positive result gets a consultation with our care professionals. Then, one of our physicians will prescribe you the proper medication right away.

3) Inform your previous sexual partners

Informing your prior partners is something nobody wants to do, but it's necessary. Here's what you could say: “Hey, I just tested positive for (insert STD). My doctor said there's no way to tell when I got it, so I'm informing my recent sexual partners.”

4) Practice some self-care and love

If you're coping with a positive STD test result, practicing some self-care and self-love is incredibly important. Whether you buy yourself something new, take a vacation or spa day, or even practice positive affirmations in the mirror, self-love is a great way to feel better during a difficult time.

Visit a Rapid STD Testing Center Today

Hopefully, we've now answered the all-important question, “Do positive STD results take longer?” Remember, something as simple as a lab backlog or incorrect contact information can affect your turnaround time. Call Rapid STD Testing at (866) 872-1888 today to order a testing panel and stay in charge of your sexual health.


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By: Karen Terry
March 8, 2022

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.