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Answered Questions

In the years since SmartSexResource launched, we have developed a library of questions asked by you, and answered by our expert sexual health nurses.

Our answered questions library cover a broad range of sexual health topics and common questions we hear at our clinics.

STI Testing (297)

I am from Bangladesh.have some stupid mistakes in my life and I am paying heavily for this Episode. #1 october 29,2014 I had protected vaginal sex with a female csw.I also french kissed her.Later found the girl HIV +.After 5 weeks I experienced severe flue type illness.Swollen lymph nodes under jaw and neck,loose stool,hedeach,severe muscle and joint pain,rash on both arm. I have tested after 3 months with 3rd generation rapid test,after 5 months with 3rd generation elisa, after 6.5 months with 3rd generation rapid test.All are negative. 2# July 16 2017 I had protected oral and protected vaginal sex with a female csw.Dont know why? Vaginal part only lasted 10-15 seconds.The girl seemed a consistent condom user.No real symptom aftee 1-4 weeks. Episode 3 # October 17 2017 I had protected vaginal sex with a csw.She offered me to have sex without a condom for extra charge.But she assured me she gets tested every month. Now you are thinking whats the real problem.Actually Im experiencing the symptom of overt aids.Lose of appetite,Loosing weight,fatigue, dizziness ,swollen lymph nodes,loose stool,nail fungus,clubbing nail are making my life hell.I have been loosing weight before my 2nd exposure. I dont know what to do? I cry and pray to God.Ive ruined my life.In my country HIV stigma is very deep and like a death sentence.

Hi there, and thanks for writing in.

The window period (time between when a person comes in contact with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and when the STI will show up on a test) for HIV is 3 months. If you have had a negative HIV antibody test 3 months or more after the encounter, this means that you do not have HIV.

Actually I can see that you have written to us previously with this same question. It is very difficult to live in a place where there is still a lot of stigma around HIV. It is also difficult to function in everyday life when we feel this much anxiety. It seems from your question and from the number of times that you have posted that question, that you are feeling a lot of anxiety about the possibility of an HIV infection. The fact is, you’ve had a negative test result more than 3 months after the encounter. This means that you are HIV negative.

The symptoms that we sometimes see associated with HIV seroconversion are what we call non-specific symptoms. This means that while swollen lymph nodes can be present with an HIV infection, for example, they can also be present with a multitude of other harmless things, such as a common cold.

Interestingly enough, all the symptoms that you’ve described to me can also be attributed to high levels of continued stress and anxiety. When we are feeling particularly anxious we don’t sleep. And when we don’t sleep, we get sick. When we are worried, maybe we don’t eat a normal healthy diet. And when we don’t eat, we lose weight.

In sexual health, we often meet people who are experiencing anxiety about an infection, but when we talk about it further, we discover that the actual feelings are around a new or different sexual encounter that the person feels unsure or ashamed about. I cannot determine exactly where your anxiety is coming from, but perhaps this is true for yourself.

At this point, I would strongly recommend that you see a professional counsellor or a healthcare professional about the level of anxiety you are feeling. Sometimes talking through these things in person can be helpful and counsellors have a lot of different tips and tricks to help people work through their anxious thoughts. In any case, further testing for HIV will likely not be helpful at this time, and will indeed most likely be more harmful to your mental health.

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns.
Health Nurse

Hii madem I done hiv rna pcr after 55 days and I done duo combo test after 76 days and ai done tridot after 90th day both are nagative madem I am safe?

Hi, and thanks for your question.

The window period (the time between when a person comes in contact with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and when the STI will show up on a test) for HIV testing is 3 months, or 90 days. If you have had a negative HIV antibody test 90 days or more after a high-risk exposure, then this means you do not have HIV from that encounter.

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns.
Health Nurse

Morning i had protected sex with a lady whom i just met, protected penetration and protected oral but at the end when i removed the condom she gave me a handjob and she used her saliva on my penis the saliva was white but couldnt see if there is any red in it so im scared to catch HIV , although my friend is studying microbiology and immunology and confirmed to me that no way hiv can be transmitted that way because even if there is blood in the saliva it wont be concentrated and the saliva has an enzyme that destroys the virus plus in open air the virus is weak, but i preferred to check with your professional nurses to loosen up. Any suggestion ? Thank you

Hi, and thanks for your question

Well, the short answer is that your friend is absolutely right! HIV is not transmitted this way. It is not present in saliva, which is why we don’t see HIV passed through things like kissing. In addition, the virus does not survive outside the body for more than a second or two. So even if there was blood in her saliva, there isn’t really a risk for it to have entered your body in the encounter which you had described. Finally, we don’t even know if this person had HIV or not herself! If your sexual partner is HIV negative, then there is no risk to yourself of getting HIV from that person. 

In terms of this encounter, I would not be concerned. However, in general we always do recommend regular testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) between every 6-12 months for all sexually active individuals. A routine test would include screening for HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. These infections often do not have any symptoms at all, so it’s good to just get checked out once in a while.

Have a look at our Clinic Finder to help locate a clinic in your area.

You also might want to check out our STIs at a Glance and Know Your Chances charts for a basic overview of different STIs and how they are passed.

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns.
Health Nurse

How long does it take to get results?

It depends what types of tests you did and where you had testing done. Generally, STI testing can take anywhere from a few days to up to 2 weeks for results to be ready. 

At our BCCDC clinics, we typically say 8 days after you tested. 

If you had done PAP testing, it will usually take a few weeks. 

Usually when you test at a clinic, they will provide you with a card that indicates when your test results will be ready and how to access them. If not, you can connect with the health care provided, who did the tests, to find out.

To learn more about results, have a look at our ‘Getting Results’ page.


I tested with a rapid hiv test on a roadside testing camp first they told me its a negative then after few minutes nurse said she can see a very very small positive dot nd she gave me a positive screen next day i went for my lab test and i was tested again on very same rapid test kit and it came negative now im worried about my lab test reports.

The rapid HIV tests are only 95% accurate at most. False positives are quite common with the rapid test which does not indicate that you have HIV. The rapid tests are never used to diagnose someone here in British Columbia due to the large margin of error. I recommend that you complete a more accurate HIV testing that includes HIV antibodies and HIV RNA. I have provided you with a link that can connect you to clinic where you can complete these tests. https://smartsexresource.com/get-tested/clinic-finder

Does this answer your question? Please let us know. 

I have green vaginal discharge, no smell and no other symptoms. What could it be?

Having abnormal vaginal discharge may or may not be an sexually transmitted disease. The best way to determine the cause of your discharge is to see a healthcare professional and discuss your symptoms with them. I have attached a link for you to find a clinic within British Columbia. https://smartsexresource.com/get-tested/clinic-finder

Does this answer your question? Please let us know.

Hi, i asked my doctor to check for HIV and Hepatitis B. The results came back after 8 days. He said everything is normal ( all negative). I asked him if i could see my result for HIV, he showed HTLV 3 non reactive on the result paper. He also said htlv 3 test actually looks for HIV. Is it true? I am confused and really worried. Plz help me. Thank you.


That would not be correct.

HTLV-3 stands for (Human T-Cell Lymphotropic Virus Type 3) and HIV stands for the (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). They are both Retroviruses, but are different viruses. I would contact your doctor and make sure they did do a HIV test for you.

The confusion I believe comes from the fact that in the early stages of HIV/AIDS what we now call HIV used to be referred to as HTLV-3. When they first discovered the virus in 1984 it used to be called HTLV-3 but this was changed to HIV in 1986, when they worked out that HIV was a different Genus to the HTLV viruses. To add more confusion another HTLV was discovered and is now referred to as HTLV-3 which has nothing to do with HIV.

Even today it is not unusual for a doctor to order HTLV testing on the lab requisition thinking that they are testing for HIV.

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any further questions or concerns.

Health Nurse

I got tested 6 weeks after a potential incident. Everything came back negative. How accurate would my results be? Should I retest? If so when. I had some burning when I urinated and itching swollen testicles one week after potential exposure so am kind of concerned. I know there are some window periods. I am thinking that most everything would be detectable by the 4 week mark? So chlamydia, ghonorea, and hiv should be fairly accurate by the 6 weeks? Same with Syphillis? I am a little bit concerned about herpes simplex virus 2, it came back negative, but I read only 70% of people detectable at the 6 week mark? I was unable to get swabbed in time. I am not sure about hepatitis when it would be accurate but I seem to remember getting some immunizations shots as a child for this, although I could be wrong and am maybe thinking about something else. Thanks!


You would expect most STI tests would give you a good result by 6 weeks. Gonorrhea and chlamydia would give you a final result by 6 weeks. We find that most people with HIV or syphilis would show it in a test by 6 weeks, but we recommend a final test at 3 months just to make sure.

A herpes simplex virus (HSV) blood test (IgG) should detect something by 4 months. The herpes blood tests can be a bit tricky as it’s possible to get an inaccurate result (chance of a false positive or false negative result). If you do decide to do the herpes blood tests again I would talk with the health professional you see to discuss the pro/cons of the test. I think the best thing would be to wait and see if the symptoms return in the next few months. A common sign of herpes is that it is a reoccurring infection. The best test would be a swab from the area as that would let you know if it was herpes and if so what type. If someone did have herpes the best advice we give them to avoid transmitting it to someone else is to not have sex when someone is having symptoms and to use a condom. Given this it’s possible to still be safer while waiting to see about your HSV result. 

If you’re unsure about your vaccination history in regard to hepatitis B, you can get a blood test for this to see if you have been vaccinated. If your hepatitis B blood test is negative for the hepatitis B virus and you have no protection against it I would recommend to get the vaccine straight away.

I know it can be difficult to arrange sometimes, but if you do get similar symptoms again it would be good to get into the clinic while you are still experiencing symptoms as this can make it easier for the clinic to work out what is going on.

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any additional questions or concerns.

Health Nurse

Can you get an std if your partner has tested negative?


Your sexual partner would need to have an STI for them to be able to pass one to you.

What could happen is they have a negative test but end up having an STI (we call this a false negative test). It’s also possible they could have an STI that was not tested for.

The two situations that can come up in regard to testing accuracy are the window period and the quality of the sample. I can give you some example in regard to this. Window period is the time it takes for an STI to show up on a test after it has passed to someone. Say you have a partner who had a previous sex partner and gets a test a couple of days after having sex, in this case their test would be done too soon and most likely would not pick up an STI if one had been passed to them.

Quality of the sample is also another factor, say a test for chlamydia was done but the person had just urinated before doing the test or a swab sample was not taken well enough or from the correct place e.g. a test was taken from the genitals but they actually had the STI in their throat. These examples show how someone can have an STI but a test may have showed a negative result.

The other example is if a test for a certain STI was not done or it’s not possible to do one. For example someone comes into our clinic with no symptoms and gets a routine STI screen. At our clinics a routine screen for someone without symptoms would include gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, HIV and maybe hepatitis (depends on risk and vaccine history). This means that a person could have a common STI like herpes simplex virus (HSV) or human papillomavirus (HPV) and not know it. Currently we have no test available for HPV testing in our clinics. There are HSV blood tests available that can be helpful in certain situations but are not good screening tests so we do not use them for routine STI testing.

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any further questions or concerns.

Health Nurse

Hi there couple days ago i had a sex with an escort by appointment only i took a shower and she came back she wash my hands to make sure i’m clean than we started she put condom on my fellatio to give me oral sex and than she came on top of me than we did sideways when we did sideways the condom went inside her i pulled out and we put new condom on i think the condom went inside of her maby for 1-2 minute but at the end i came inside the condom my question is what are my risk for catching STD? when something like this happen do i need to go doctor or im safe? i have no history of STD i always put condom and check for STD every year they always come back negative im a bit worried that my condom went inside the escort what are my risks? thanku


Let me know if I got this wrong but is sounds like the condom slipped off while you were having vaginal sex.

The concern would be if you came in contact with any vaginal fluids when this happed, I could see that depending were the condom was when it slipped off that your penis may or may not have come in contact with vaginal fluids.

It sounds like you have been really safe with using condoms for vaginal/oral sex and going for STI testing on a regular basis. As it is possible that your penis may have come in contact with vaginal fluid I would recommend going in for a STI test, as this would be like having unprotected vaginal sex in terms of risk. In terms of the chance of something passing this is hard to know as it really depends if the person has an STI in the first place, even if they have an STI it is never 100% that it will pass the one time you have sex.

STI like chlamydia and gonorrhea usually show up in a urine test by 2 weeks so it best to wait at least 2 weeks before getting tested unless you develop symptoms e.g. discharge from penis, hurts when you pee, sores on the penis etc.… Blood tests that check for STI like HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B usually show up by 6 weeks on a test but can take up to 3 months to get a final result.

Given this I would recommend waiting 2 weeks before getting a STI check and then go back at 6 weeks to repeat the blood test. I would also consider getting the hepatitis B vaccine if you have not had it already. We know it can be a stressful for some people when they have to wait to do a test and then wait for the results. If this is happening for you, let us know if you need any help or support during this time.

In terms of using condoms in the future having a condom that fits better (feels comfortable and you can roll it down all the way) can decrease the chance of it slipping off and we also find that some people like using a female condom if they are having a problem with a male condom fitting.

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns.

Health Nurse