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STD Symptoms

STD Basics

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Updated May 19, 2014

Here are some of the most common STDs and their symptoms. It's important to remember that you can get and pass many of these diseases through different forms of sex (vaginal, anal, and oral).

See your doctor right away for STD testing if you think that you might have an STD and be sure to mention that you are worried about an STD if your doctor doesn't. Your doctor might think that some common symptoms of an STD, especially non-specific symptoms, like burning with urination, could be caused by a simple urinary tract infection and not something like chlamydia, especially if your doctor doesn't know that you are sexually active.

Chlamydia

Most people have no symptoms. Abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina, pain in the testicles, and burning with urinating. Long-term irritation may cause lower abdominal pain, inflammation of the eyes and skin lesions. In women, it can cause inflammation of the pelvic organs pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Chlamydia an be completely cured, but can be caught again, especially if both sex partners aren't treated.

For more information: Chlamydia

Genital Herpes

Small red bumps, blisters, or open sores on the penis, vagina, or areas close by. Also, vaginal discharge in women. Fever, headache, and muscle aches. Pain when urinating. Itching, burning, or swollen glands in genital area. Pain in legs, buttocks, or genital area. Symptoms may go away and then come back. Some people may have no symptoms. There is no cure. Treatment includes taking a medicine to lower severity of symptoms.

For more information: Genital Herpes

Gonorrhea

Pain or burning when urinating. Yellowish and sometimes bloody discharge from the penis or vagina. But, many men have no symptoms. Can be completely cured, but can be caught again, especially if both sex partners aren't treated.

For more information: Gonorrhea

Hepatitis B

Mild fever. Headache and muscle aches, joint pain. Tiredness. Loss of appetite. Nausea and vomiting. Dark-colored urine and pale bowel movements. Stomach pain. Skin and whites of eyes turning yellow (jaundice). About 30% of people have no symptoms. Treatment inlcudes taking a medicine to help the liver fight damage from the virus. There are medications available to treat long-lasting (chronic) HBV-infection. These work for some people, but there is no cure for hepatitis B when you first get it.

Fortunately, routine immunization of all children with the Hepatitis B vaccine will hopefully eliminate future Hepatitis B infections.

HIV Infection And Aids

May have no symptoms for 10 years or more. Extreme fatigue. Rapid weight loss. Frequent low-grade fevers and night sweats. Frequent yeast infections (in the mouth). Red, brown, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids. Women can have vaginal yeast infections and other STDs, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and menstrual cycle changes. There is no cure. Treatment includes taking medicines to stop the virus from replicating, or making copies of itself.

Keep in mind that the CDC recommends that routine screening for HIV should begin for all teens at age 13 and then repeated each year if they are at high risk for getting an HIV infection.

Genital Warts (Human Papillomavirus (HPV))

Genital warts that usually first appear as small, hard painless bumps on the penis, in the vaginal area, or around the anus. They sometimes can be hard to see, but if left untreated can turn into a fleshy, cauliflower-like appearance. Some people have no apparent symptoms. HPV is linked with a higher risk of cervical cancer in women.

Gardasil, the HPV vaccine, will hopefully decrease the risk of getting genital warts and cervical cancer and can be given to girls between the ages of 9 and 26 years of age.

Syphilis

In the first (primary) stage, about 10 days to six weeks after exposure: a painless sore (chancre) or many sores that will heal on their own. If not treated, infection spreads to the next stage. Secondary stage: skin rash that usually does not itch and clears on its own. Fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches, and tiredness. Latent (hidden) stage: symptoms disappear, but infection remains in body and can damage the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints. Late stage: not able to coordinate muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness, dementia, and possibly death. Can be completely cured, but can be caught again, especially if both sex partners aren't treated.

For more information: Syphilis

adapted from the National Women's Health Information Center

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