Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Syphilis Test


Hello Doctor Brice,

I am 23 years old. Recently I had a sexual encounter with a girl I had known for a couple weeks. We had our first sexual encounter last Wednesday on June 11th. I initially used a condom but removed it because it was too tight and she told me she was clean from a test she had 3 months ago. She had no symptoms but I know some people don't show any. She also had the birth control implant from previous relationship. It was a stupid move on my part. Also she told me that she had used condoms with any previous partner.

Apparently, a few days before our sexual encounter, she had a test which the results for came out today and they were positive for syphilis. Her doctor told her that it still is possible but much less likely to catch the infection when the partner wears a condom. Even though it could be a false positive, she recommended I go get tested which I fully agree with. By the way, I also don't have any visible symptoms but it has only been about 5 to 6 days.

My only question is how long should I wait until I know for sure the test will be accurate? Also, is it safe to wait if I am potentially infected? I know there is a simple course of antibiotics to cure it but I just want to be sure I don't get tested to early and have a false sense of security. If you could please give me some insight into this I'd be very grateful, I have learned my lesson.



Hi Chad,

I'm not an M.D., but I do want to make a few things clear for you. First of all: find a condom brand that's larger size. Trojan Magnums might be more your fit. One of the biggest reasons for condom failure is user error, but in second place: wrong condom size. Condoms should never break unless you A) put it on wrong or B) its not your size. Whatever the width and length of your penis is and you can either inform me or another health educator and we can assist you on this, matter when finding a condom brand suitable to your liking. Also, water based lubricant cuts down on the friction abrasions and discomfort during sex; especially if you're still having a "tight fit."

Second: It was wrong of her to convince you into having sex regardless of whether or not she "tells" you she's the epitome of health. Case in point-she tells you she's clean and she tests positive for syphilis. Hmmmmmm....methinks something is afoot! Either she was lying to you all along or she's lying to herself. Indeed, she could have gotten tested and been proactive and done everything to stay healthy, but she could have also ignored the fact that she was sick and did nothing about it. Either way, you're at risk now and what can you do about it? Bacterial and viral infections, once introduced to the body, must create antibodies within the host immune system. That takes, on average, about 3-4 weeks and STI panels are pretty darn good about picking those up. STI panels are very accurate and test for the 7 most common STI's and syphilis is one of those. So I would wait until your window comes and get tested then. Until then, please abstain from sexual activity or at least use protection if you must engage in sexual activity before then. If you do test positive then get yourself treated immediately and get it over with!

Finally: The primary stage of syphilis is usually but not always a unnoticeable sore. Some people don't have any symptoms AT ALL. So how would you know if you were infected? And the first signs, assuming you did have syphilis wouldn't appear until about 3-6 weeks, then stage 2 appears months beyond that point, but I hope you never get there. If you have any follow-up let me know, but further testing procedures should be directed to your primary care provider or a local health department.

Best wishes,


Sexually Transmitted Diseases

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


John Brice


Educated and certified in STI information, HIV and AIDS, and trained in comprehensive sex education for teens and young adults. Providing counseling in sexuality, sexual interests, and sexual orientations, pregnancy prevention, safer sex initiatives, and teaching health education seminars to adults ages 18-65 for the past 3 years. Serve underserved clients in homeless shelters, workplace readiness programs, and detention centers. Three term AmeriCorps domestic service volunteer and Peace Corps nominee for Health Service to Lesotho and Rwanda. Providing services to the GLBTQIA populations of which I am a member.


3 years as a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (Advanced) for 3 years and comprehensive sex educator for 3 years and parenting educator for 3 years. *North Carolina State Certified Emergency Medical Technician, #P083512 *Certified Health Education Specialist, #22589

*American Public Health Association *National Commission on Health Education Credentialing

American Public Health Association, Student Assembly, Quarterly Newsletter 2012-2014

*Doctor of Education (candidate), K-12 Teacher Leadership; Capella University *Master of Public Health, Social and Behavioral Sciences; Capella University *Master of Education, Curriculum and Instruction; Concordia University-Portland *Bachelor of Arts, Psychology and English; East Carolina University

Awards and Honors
Graduated with Distinction from Capella University AllExperts, Top Experts of 2014 (One and Multiple Categories)

Past/Present Clients
*Over 180 clients, lasting 30 sessions, in 5 locations during Florida service. *Over 150 clients, lasting 18 sessions, in 2 locations during South Carolina service.

©2016 All rights reserved.