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Might have been exposed to STD. Could I be treated before symptoms appear?

Mar 2013
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Practicing since : 1998
Answered : 5627 Questions
I am afraid that I may have been exposed to an STD. Can I be tested and treated before symptoms appear?
Posted Thu, 31 Oct 2013 in Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham 23 minutes later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for writing to us with your health concern.
The commonest STDs that are transmitted and CAN be tested for are
1. Chlamydia
2. Gonorrhoea
3. Syphilis
4. NGU ( non gonococcal urethritis )
5. Trichomoniasis
6. Genital herpes
7. Hepatitis B
8. HPV ( human papilloma virus )

For most of these infections, symptoms may not appear for a few months or even years in some cases.
That does not mean that you are not infected, and you should DEFINITELY get tested if you have risk of exposure.
There is no logic or safety in waiting for symptoms to appear.
Symptoms for some infections ( eg. chlamydia and gonorrhoea ) might appear within a month ( maybe as early as 2 - 3 weeks ) , while for HIV, herpes etc. , it might take months or even years.
Hence, the common practice is to go for testing at 3 - 4 weeks, and then again repeat the testing at 3 months, and then preferably again at 6 months.
Meanwhile, of course, you should not repeat exposure to risk factors.
I hope this answer helped you.
All the best, and please feel free to ask for further clarifications.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Might have been exposed to STD. Could I be treated before symptoms appear? 8 minutes later
For those that can be treated with antibiotics, can that treatment begin before the normal incubation period for the infection? In this case, I may have been exposed on Tuesday. Could I begin taking antibiotics now if the test showed exposure?
Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham 10 hours later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
If the test shows exposure, the incubation period is already over ( time between exposure and manifestation of sign and symptoms - a positive test is a most reliable sign ) - then definitely treatment should begin.
If only symptoms are manifested, then treatment should not begin without a specific test pinpointing the specific disease, as treatments differ, while symptoms of STIs may overlap.
Hope this is clear.
Please feel free to ask if you should have any more doubts.
Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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