When you get tested, the doctor or nurse will explain when and how you’ll get the results. You may have to go back to the clinic to get them, or you may be able to receive them by phone or text. The doctor or nurse will also tell you what will happen next.
Some STIs can be diagnosed there and then (e.g. genital warts). Some clinics offer same day testing and most results are available within a few days but some test results can take up to two weeks.
Negative results (you didn't have a STI when you were tested)
Most negative results are very accurate, but some STIs can take up to 6 months to show on a blood test. So you may need to come back for a second test to be sure you’re clear.
Even if your final tests are negative, think about how you will protect yourself in future.
Positive results (you do have a STI)
A positive result is not the end of the world. Almost all STIs can now be cured or managed effectively, including HIV. Your nurse or doctor will give you all the information and advice you need about getting the right treatment. Some STIs can be treated immediately without waiting for the test results and for some a further test may be required to check the treatment has worked.
You may also be offered counselling and other forms of support to help you cope with having an STI.
Very occasionally, tests can give an incorrect result (telling you that you have an STI when in fact you don’t). It’s very rare, but the clinic may ask you for a second sample to make sure the diagnosis is accurate.
The next thing to consider is how to inform any partners who may be affected by your diagnosis.