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STD test result comes negative but still worried? What if it is a false negative? How to be sure?

Are you worried about having an STD even after being tested negative? Are you scares that the test results are False negative*? There are many reasons for a test result to appear False negative. Common reasons include the testing for the STD too soon, that is during its incubation period. A second most common reason is urinating too soon before a test, that means it is best if you do not urinate 2 hours before the test.

{*What is False negative test?}

A false negative test is when the test comes negative, but in reality, you already have the disease inside your body.}

Although any STD tests can be false negative there are predominantly two such diseases (Gonorrhea & Chlamydia) where there is a greater chance of having a false negative reason.

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Which STD test results are more likely to be False Negative?

Although chances of false negative STD test results are very rare, they do happen. In the case of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are the disease where the False negative test result is observed. You can be a carrier of chlamydia or gonorrhea and test negative, but only to discover later that it was actually positive.

What are the causes of false negative STD test?

a)Testing during the incubation period

The reason being the incubation period of both Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. What happens is when you test for Gonorrhea within the 7 days of contraction, the test result may appear negative. As Gonorrhea is an asymptomatic disease, it’s testing during its incubation period can result in false negative test result. Similarly for Chlamydia, if tested within most results are accurate after 2 weeks but it can take up to 6 weeks.

False negative test results are just not limited to Chlamydia or Gonorrhea alone. Diseases like HIV too have a complicated window period of getting tested accurately. Refer the Incubation chart of the STD which states the suitable time to get tested with accurate results for STDs.

b) Improper testing procedure or practices

The Second most common reason for Negative STD test result is related to how you get tested. Urinating too soon or before test,  it is best if you do not urinate 2 hours before the test. The accuracy of the test result can be affected if you urinate before this time period (of 2 hours).

The odds of a common test turning out to be False negative?

False negative result doesn’t only depend on the sensitivity and specificity of the test. It depends on the disease, its occurrence and commonality. The complex math to prove it can be found in this piece over here. 

Dangers of False Negative STD test?

a) Delay or No treatment

A false negative test can be a complete disaster, especially when you have your STD in the advanced stage and you require immediate medical attention or treatment. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea both are asymptomatic diseases in their respective initial stages, meaning they don’t show much symptoms or signs on the body during their initial stages. False Negative test result may end up a person thinking that he is not suffering from any diseases. Thus, doesn’t require any medical attention.

b)Permanent Damage

Certain STD like Chlamydia or Gonorrhea can cause permanent damage if left untreated. As per CDC Untreated, about 10-15% of women with chlamydia will develop PID. Chlamydia can also cause fallopian tube infection without any symptoms.

c)Other Fatal results?

As local antibiotics can mask STD symptoms, a false negative test with the masking of the STDs. An individual may think that he got cured.

How to avoid false negative?

a) Testing during the window period.

As taking the test early, severely affects the test result. Taking STD test during an appropriate time might just help. Based on the symptoms and window period of STD one may opt for STD test in the nearby clinic to make sure. Remember, Testing before and after Window period of the STD has the highest chance of being False negative.

b) Retesting for STD

In case, you missed the appropriate timing (testing window) of the STDs, or in case the symptoms persist. It is always advisable to get retesting for the STD. This is to make sure that the STDs are actually not present in the body.

c) Following proper STD testing procedure

This is critical, as mentioned above the causes of Negative STD test result is the procedure and type of STD test. It is essential to follow the proper testing procedure which includes giving a correct type of sample of urine. That means, it is best if you do not urinate 2 hours before the test.

d) Get tested for STD at an FDA approved clinics

You can escape all the pain, and the worry about getting False-negative test results by simply getting tested in an FDA approved clinics. These are well-equipped facilities wherein, once you book the STD test, you just have to visit the STD testing center for 15 minutes give the necessary blood/urine sample and can even opt for same day test results. These are HIPAA compliant STD testing centers which ensure the privacy of the STD test result, So why take chances? Get tested for as low as $24.