I’m gay and had protected anal sex as the “bottom” and unprotected oral sex with a new partner two days ago. I’m planning on getting tested for STDs for the first time. How long should I wait before getting tested, and what should I expect?

The timing for getting tested depends on the type of sexually transmitted infection (STI, also called STD). For chlamydia and gonorrhea, you can get tested as soon as one week after you have sex. For other STIs like syphilis, Hepatitis A and B, and herpes, you should wait 6 weeks before getting tested. For HIV, you should wait at least 2 weeks before getting tested. If you notice any new symptoms before these timelines (like unusual fluid from your penis; sores near your penis, anus, mouth, or throat; pain in your testicles; or pain when you pee) it is best to see a healthcare provider as soon as possible.

A health care provider is the best person to talk to about your sexual health and can tell you when it would be best to get tested for STIs based on your personal history. You can either see your primary care provider or a health care provider at a local STI testing center. During your first visit, your healthcare provider will discuss your sexual history and recommend testing. Depending on your specific situation, you may have urine tests for gonorrhea and chlamydia, or blood tests for infections like HIV, herpes, Hepatitis, and syphilis. If you do have symptoms, the health care provider may take a sample for testing by brushing a cotton swab on your skin where you are having symptoms. Tests for different STIs may take longer to get results back. The health care provider can tell you when you will hear back about the tests. You will likely be scheduled for  a follow-up appointment  to discuss your results.

You can use the CDC’s Get Tested website to find out where to get tested for STIs.