Symptoms of Sexually transmitted disease (STD)

The term sexually transmitted disease or STD is used predominantly to refer to a condition or disease that is passed from one individual to another individual through sexual contact. The STD infection or disease can be contracted to any individual who has unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the STD. 

An STD is also called a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or venereal disease (VD). STIs or STDs are very common, and many people with this condition and don’t even know that they have it. One of the reasons for this is that many times, STD’s don’t have any symptoms. One can live with an STD for years without knowing about it. Even though STDs don’t have noticeable symptoms, they can still cause damage such as:

  • Can increase the risk of infertility
  • It can cause certain types of cancer
  • Can transmit to your sexual partners
  • Can damage an unborn baby in the uterus
  • It can also make an individual susceptible to contract HIV

Several types of infections are transmitted sexually. The most common STDs with their symptoms are described as follows:


Chlamydia is a bacterial infection of the genitals. In early-stage infections, chlamydia often causes few or no signs and symptoms, and it becomes very difficult to identify. The symptoms usually start after one to three weeks of been exposed to chlamydia. The symptoms are:

  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Painful urination
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge in women
  • Discharge from the penis in men
  • Painful sexual intercourse in women
  • Sometimes, bleeding in between periods in women
  • Pain in testicles of men

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Gonorrhoea is also a bacterial infection of the genitals. The bacteria can grow in the mouth, throat, eyes or anus. The first symptom of gonorrhea usually is seen after ten days of being exposed. Some people are infected for several days without having any symptoms. Common symptoms of gonorrhea are as follows:

  • Thick discharge, sometimes bloody from the vagina or penis
  • Pain or burning sensation during urination
  • Heavy menses or bleeding in between periods
  • Painful and swollen testicles
  • Pain during bowel movements
  • Itching in the anus


Trichomoniasis is a common STD caused by a one-celled parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis. This organism is passed during sexual intercourse with someone who has the infection. The organism infects the urinary tract in men and the vagina in women. The symptoms appear within 5 to 28 days of being exposed and are as follows:

  • Clear, white, yellowish or greenish vaginal discharge with a strong odour
  • Abnormal discharge from the penis
  • Vaginal itching 
  • Itching inside the penis
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pain during urination

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or AIDS

HIV is an infection that interferes with the body’s ability to fight against viruses, bacteria and fungi that cause sickness. It can lead to AIDS, which is a chronic, life-threatening disease.

Early signs and symptoms of HIV

Some people develop a flu-like sickness within two to six weeks of being infected. Symptoms usually go away in a week or month and are mistaken for some other viral infection. Severe symptoms of HIV infection might not appear for almost ten years or more after being infected with the initial infection. The possible symptoms are:

  • Fever with or without rash
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Tiredness 

One might develop chronic symptoms such as:

  • Swollen lymph nodes are one of the 1st signs of HIV
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Cough and shortness of breath

Late-stage symptoms of HIV:

  • Unexplained weakness
  • Night sweats
  • chills or fever more than 100.4 F (380 C) for several weeks
  • Swelling of lymph nodes for over three months
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Persistent headaches
  • Recurrent infections

Genital herpes 

Genital herpes is a highly infectious STD caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It enters the body through small breaks in the skin or mucous membranes. Many people with HSV are not aware that they have it as there are no signs or symptoms visible. When signs and symptoms become visible, then the first occurrence is mostly the worst one. The symptoms of herpes are:

  • Small red bumps or blisters or open sores in the genital and anal areas
  • Pain or itching around the genital area, inner thighs and buttocks
  • Painful urination
  • Fever with muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the groin

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection or genital warts

HPV infection is the most common types of STDs. Certain types of HPV can put women at high risk of cervical cancer. Other types cause genital warts. HPV generally don’t have any signs or symptoms, but the symptoms of genital warts are:

  • Small, flesh-coloured or grey bumps in the genital area
  • Several warts are attached together in a cauliflower shape
  • Itching in and around the genital area
  • Bleeding during sexual intercourse

Genital warts are very small, as 1 millimeter in diameter. They may multiply into large clusters. Warts can also occur in the mouth or throat of a person having oral sex with an infected person.


Syphilis is a bacterial infection, and it affects the genitals, skin and mucous membranes. However, it can also be seen in other parts of the body, including the brain and heart. The symptoms of syphilis can be seen in three stages: primary, secondary and tertiary. Few people experience latent syphilis as the blood tests are positive for the bacteria without any symptoms present.

In the primary stage, only a small, painless sore, known as a chancre, might occur at the infection site, such as the genitals, rectum, lips or tongue. In the secondary stage, as the disease progresses, the symptoms include:

  • Red or reddish-brown rashes on the body 
  • Penny-sized sores on any area of the body, including palms and soles
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Tiredness and general discomfort
  • Soreness of the body

Without proper treatment, syphilis can spread, resulting in serious damage to the internal organs. Few symptoms of late-stage or tertiary syphilis include: 

  • Numbness
  • Paralysis
  • Blindness
  • Dementia
  • Lack of coordination

A condition known as congenital syphilis occurs when a pregnant woman with syphilis passes the infection to her unborn baby. Congenital syphilis can be life-threatening, so it is very important for pregnant women with syphilis to be treated properly.