STD Symptoms

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can present with a variety of different symptoms depending on the infection. However, it’s important to note that many STDs are asymptomatic, meaning those who have been infected may not experience any symptoms at all.

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STD Symptoms

Medically reviewed by Amy Cyr, MD
Reviewed on October 11, 2019

The number of new STD infections has been going up, in part because they often do not cause any symptoms. People can then spread the infection without either partner knowing. Getting screened is often the only way to know if you have an STD. Once an STD is identified, though, most can be easily treated – if not cured.

Recognizing STD Symptoms

One of the main reasons STDs are so common is because carriers often don’t know that they are infected, even if they have symptoms. By educating yourself about the symptoms of various STDs, you can seek treatment sooner.

A significant challenge, though, is that many STDs can be completely asymptomatic, meaning people who are infected don’t have any symptoms at all. This can be especially true in the earliest stages of infection. That means that even the most informed of us could have an STD and not even be aware of it. This is dangerous, not only because you are at risk of spreading the disease to a partner, but because the infection could be doing harm to your body without you knowing. That is why it is so important to have regular STD testing—even when you don’t have any symptoms. You can catch infections when they are easiest to treat and prevent passing them on to your partners.

Common STD Symptoms

When STDs do cause symptoms, the symptoms may depend on the type of STD. For some people symptoms are mild and for others they are more severe. Men and women, even if they have the same infection, may have different symptoms. However, there are some common STD symptoms, across a variety of diseases, that you can look for. These are listed below, broken down by sex.

Source: CDC

Symptoms in Men
  • No noticeable symptoms
Symptoms in Women
  • No noticeable symptoms

Talking to your Partner(s) About Your STD Symptoms

If you think you may an STD, it can leave you with a lot of questions–especially where your sex partners are concerned. What do you share with them? When STDs are concerned, it’s best to be as open as possible for the health and safety of everyone involved. Because responsible sex doesn’t just mean protecting against STDs, it also means having the difficult conversations that can come after STD symptoms begin to develop.

If you have recently had multiple partners, you may wish to contact them and inform them of your STD symptoms. You can suggest that they get tested, like you, to help prevent them from unknowingly spreading any infection on to other people. It’s a conversation that, although difficult, can benefit many.

If you’re struggling to find the words to say, there are a number of online services that quickly and anonymously help with this process. It’s better to hear this news in a personal way, directly from our sex partners, but if the choice is between hearing it from a service or not at all, it’s better to go with a service that will keep your partners safe and healthy.