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Getting results

Waiting for results

Most STI test results come back from the lab within seven to ten days. When you get tested, talk with your health care provider about how you will get your results. Find out if you can call in, or need to return for your test results. If you cannot be contacted by phone, talk with your health care provider about how you will get your results. 

If you have symptoms or are taking treatment, it is important to avoid any sexual contact until you and your partners have finished the treatment. Ask your health care provider about when it is OK to have sex.

If your test results are negative

If you get a negative test result, it means that the tests did not find an STI.

Each STI has a ‘window period’. This is the time between when a person comes in contact with an STI, and when the STI will show up on a test. If the test is taken too soon after contact there is a chance that a test result is not accurate. You may be asked to come back to be retested after the window period is over. 

If your test results are positive

If you get a positive test result, it means that you have an STI and need treatment. 

In BC, positive test results for reportable STIs are shared with public health to ensure that you and your partners are offered support and treatment. If you have a reportable STI, you will be asked about your sexual partners so they can be encouraged to get tested and treated. There are a number of ways to let partners know they need testing.


Some STIs are treated and cured with antibiotics. If you are being treated with antibiotics, it is important to take all the medication as directed by your health care provider to make sure the infection is completely gone. Sometimes you will be asked to return for a follow-up visit to be sure that the treatment worked. With STIs that are curable, it is possible to get them again.

Other STIs can be treated but not cured. Medication is used to help manage symptoms and keep a person healthy. If you are diagnosed with an STI caused by a virus, such as herpes simplex virus or HIV, you may have questions or concerns about how these STIs will affect your life. Find out more about what to do when you have just been diagnosed and about living with an STI.

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