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A syphilis test can produce accurate results 3 to 6 weeks after an exposure—even when symptoms aren’t present.


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What is a Window Period?

The window period (or incubation period) is the time after exposure to when the infection is detectable on a test. STDs, including syphilis, aren’t detectable immediately after sex. Each condition is different and can take anywhere from days to months for an infection to show up on an STD test.

Know the Syphilis Window Period

The syphilis window period is 3 to 6 weeks. If you are concerned about a syphilis exposure, it’s critical to wait at least 3 weeks after exposure to ensure accurate results. Just don’t wait until symptoms appear to test; many syphilis cases are asymptomatic.

Syphilis Testing Outside the Window Period

Taking a syphilis test before the window period has elapsed (before 3 weeks) can lead to a false negative. It’s important to wait for a detectable level of antibodies to develop before testing. Syphilis testing after 6 weeks will not affect accuracy.

Guidebook To Talking about Syphilis Testing

STD testing in a relationship

Why Should I Test for Syphilis?

Syphilis testing can avoid permanent damage

Syphilis Testing Prevents Permanent Damage

Diagnosing and treating syphilis early can prevent irreversible damage. If left untreated, this STD can eventually cause organ damage, blindness, dementia and even death. However, syphilis can be easily cured with a shot of penicillin.

Syphilis is on the Rise

Syphilis had been in decline for a number of years. Recently, this STD has made a comeback, especially among men who have sex with men and African Americans. This disease is easily spread since many people don't experience symptoms or attribute symptoms to less serious conditions.

Syphilis Testing After an Exposure

If you're worried about a specific syphilis exposure, get a syphilis test promptly. However, if you test too soon, there may not be enough antibodies present for an accurate test. Be sure to test within the recommended window period for syphilis: three to six weeks after exposure.

Syphilis Resources

I included syphilis in my yearly STD test because I wanted to have a through screen. I'm glad I did, otherwise I would have wondered.

What are Common Syphilis Symptoms?

Posted by getSTDtested on November 30, 2012

With syphilis symptoms vague and indistinguishable, this STD can be hard to diagnose unless STD testing is performed. Often called “the great imitator,” this infection mimics other conditions.

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Porn Industry Halts for Syphilis Testing

Posted by getSTDtested on November 30, 2012

Recently, an adult film performer had a positive syphilis test which has temporarily shut down the porn industry. While filming is halted, performers are undergoing syphilis testing and the STD risk is being evaluated thoroughly.

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5 Things to Know About Syphilis

Posted by getSTDtested on November 30, 2012

Syphilis is often perceived as an STD of bygone eras; the untreated venereal disease drove Al Capone mad, and rumor has it the infection also plagued the likes of Henry VIII and Vincent van Gogh. Today, this STDs is still active

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