STD Symptoms: Get Your Facts

If you think you have STD symptoms, you’re not alone. And the best thing you can do to keep yourself and your sexual partner/s safe is to get the facts now.

Besides the potential long-term consequences—like cancer, infertility or death—the scariest thing about Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) is how many people aren’t aware they’re infected. The website www.safesexpassport.com notes that 80% of people infected with STDs are unaware. And many people also might be unaware some STDs come with great risks, but no symptoms.

That’s why it’s vital to know about STD symptoms, and to be aware if you’ve been exposed to the risk of infection by not using a condom or not knowing your partner/s sexual history.

There are at least 25 classifications STDs (another term–STI stands for Sexually Transmitted Infection; it generally refers to asymptomatic infections). Some of the more common STDs include syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV and HPV (Human Papillomavirus), the world’s most common STI. For HPV alone, over 80 types have been identified, but notes www.sexualityandu.ca, “Researchers believe there are likely over 200.”

Different infections will present different STD symptoms. The bottom line is, if you think something might be wrong, get it checked out ASAP before you become ill or pass your infection to someone else. Here’s a quick list of possible STD symptoms you may encounter—and remember—many STDs present no symptoms at all:

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Chlamydia – burning sensation while urinating, penile/vaginal discharge

Herpes – blisters on buttocks, genital or in mouth, fever, itching

HPV – warts in and around genitals or anus

Gonorrhea – burning sensation while urinating, pelvic pain, discharge

Crabs/Lice – itching, mild fever, swollen lymph glands

Hepatitis B – headache, pain in the abdomen, fever, jaundice

If you have STD symptoms, see a doctor and get treatment if necessary. Many infections are curable. Those that aren’t include Hepatitis B, genital herpes, HPV and HIV.

You’ll need a blood test for diagnosing syphilis, hepatitis B, herpes and HIV. Visual examinations can usually reveal genital warts and crabs. Cell samples (from a Pap smear or vaginal or penile discharge) can be used to check for gonorrhea, chlamydia and vaginitis.

STD symptoms have the potential to lead to infertility, cancer and death. If you’re waffling about getting checked out, here’s a few more statistics to think about:

- “40-70% of chlamydia cases present no symptoms. People may carry the infection for many years without knowing.” (www.sexualityandu.ca)

- “In Canada in 2005, approximately 30% of individuals with HIV were unaware of their infection.” (www.sexualityandu.ca)

- “An estimated one million people are newly infected with the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) each year.” (www.onlinedatingmagazine.com)

- “[The] Ratio of people living with a viral STD in the world [is] 1 in 5.” (www.safesexpassport.com).

Visit these pages for more information:

Knowing How To Have Safe Sex Minimizes STI Fears

Paying Attention To Male Sexual Health Issues Can Keep You Ready For Love

Keep Yourself Safe From Sexually Transmitted Infections

Lesbian Sexual Health – Busting Myths To Stay Healthy And Risk-free

Sexual Health For Teens = Education and Protection

Breast Cancer Awareness Should Be Part Of Everyone’s Health Knowledge

Is Breast Cancer Prevention Possible?

Health Benefits Of Sex Make Making Love Worth It

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