Recent research shows that more than half of all people will have an STI or STD at some point of their life.
These infections affect people of all ages and backgrounds. STD’s or STI’s are among of the most common infectious diseases in the United States today. However, the symptoms are not visible most of the times. So here’s a tip on the symptoms of these infections.
STD symptoms: Common STDs and their symptoms
If you have sex — oral, anal or vaginal intercourse and genital touching — you can get an STD, also called a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Straight or gay, married or single, you’re vulnerable to STIs and STI symptoms. Thinking or hoping your partner doesn’t have an STI is no protection — you need to know for sure. And although condoms are highly effective for reducing transmission of some STDs, no method is foolproof.
STI symptoms aren’t always obvious. If you think you have STI symptoms or have been exposed to an STI, see a doctor. Some STIs are easy to treat and cure; others require more-complicated treatment to manage them.
It’s essential to be evaluated, and — if diagnosed with an STI — get treated. It’s also essential to inform your partner or partners so that they can be evaluated and treated.
If untreated, STIs can increase your risk of acquiring another STI such as HIV. This happens because an STI can stimulate an immune response in the genital area or cause sores, either of which might raise the risk of HIV transmission. Some untreated STIs can also lead to infertility.
STIs often asymptomatic
STIs often have no signs or symptoms (asymptomatic). Even with no symptoms, however, you can pass the infection to your sex partners. So it’s important to use protection, such as a condom, during sex. And visit your doctor regularly for STI screening, so you can identify and treat an infection before you can pass it on.
Some of the following diseases, such as hepatitis, can be transmitted without sexual contact, by coming into contact with an infected person’s blood. Others, such as gonorrhea, can only be transmitted through sexual contact.
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection of your genital tract. Chlamydia may be difficult to detect because early-stage infections often cause few or no signs and symptoms. When they do occur, they usually start one to three weeks after you’ve been exposed to chlamydia. Even when signs and symptoms occur, they’re often mild and passing, making them easy to overlook.
Signs and symptoms may include:
- Painful urination
- Lower abdominal pain
- Vaginal discharge in women
- Discharge from the penis in men
- Pain during sexual intercourse in women
- Bleeding between periods in women
- Testicular pain in men
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection of your genital tract. It can also grow in your mouth, throat, eyes and anus. The first gonorrhea symptoms generally appear within 10 days after exposure. However, some people may be infected for months before signs or symptoms occur.
Signs and symptoms of gonorrhea may include:
- Thick, cloudy or bloody discharge from the penis or vagina
- Pain or burning sensation when urinating
- Heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods
- Painful, swollen testicles
- Painful bowel movements
- Anal itching
Trichomoniasis is a common STI caused by a microscopic, one-celled parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. This organism spreads during sexual intercourse with someone who already has the infection.
The organism usually infects the urinary tract in men, but often causes no symptoms. Trichomoniasis typically infects the vagina in women. When trichomoniasis causes symptoms, they may appear within five to 28 days of exposure and range from mild irritation to severe inflammation.
Signs and symptoms may include:
- Clear, white, greenish or yellowish vaginal discharge
- Discharge from the penis
- Strong vaginal odor
- Vaginal itching or irritation
- Itching or irritation inside the penis
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Painful urination
HIV is an infection with the human immunodeficiency virus. HIV interferes with your body’s ability to fight off viruses, bacteria and fungi that cause illness, and it can lead to AIDS, a chronic, life-threatening disease.
When first infected with HIV, you may have no symptoms. Some people develop a flu-like illness, usually two to six weeks after being infected. Still, the only way you know if you have HIV is to be tested.
Early signs and symptoms
Early HIV signs and symptoms may include:
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph glands
These early signs and symptoms usually disappear within a week to a month and are often mistaken for those of another viral infection. During this period, you’re highly infectious. More-persistent or -severe symptoms of HIV infection may not appear for 10 years or more after the initial infection.
As the virus continues to multiply and destroy immune cells, you may develop mild infections or chronic signs and symptoms such as:
- Swollen lymph nodes — often one of the first signs of HIV infection
- Weight loss
- Cough and shortness of breath
Late-stage HIV infection
Signs and symptoms of late-stage HIV infection include:
- Persistent, unexplained fatigue
- Soaking night sweats
- Shaking chills or fever higher than 100.4 F (38 C) for several weeks
- Swelling of lymph nodes for more than three months
- Chronic diarrhea
- Persistent headaches
- Unusual, opportunistic infections
Now you have to protect yourself and sexual partners and here are some of effective strategies to reduce the risk of STI or STD.
First seen on: http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/prevention-tips/
There are many things you can do to reduce your risk of contracting an sexually transmitted disease or infection (STD/STI).
We hear often that “abstinence” is a fool-proof way to avoid the risks of sexual activity, but what exactly is abstinence? There are different definitions for abstinence. Here at ASHA, we believe that abstinence means you are not having any kind of sex with someone else. Someone who chooses abstinence may have sexual feelings but chooses not to have sex with others–no oral, vaginal or anal sex of any kind. Someone who practices sexual abstinence does not run any risk of contracting an STI or having an unwanted pregnancy. You have a right to choose abstinence and any partner who doesn’t respect your wishes may not be the best partner for you.
Another type of abstinence sometimes discussed is selective abstinence. Many people are sexually active but limit what they do to avoid STD/STIs and/or pregnancy or because they do not feel ready to do some sexual things. Someone who chooses to be selectively abstinent might have some kinds of sex but not others. Someone who practices selective abstinence may or may not run the risk of contracting an STI and/or having an unwanted pregnancy, depending on the activities in which he or she does.
Mutual monogamy (only having sex with your partner) is another way to limit exposure to STIs. If neither partner has ever had sexual contact of any kind with another person, there is no risk of STIs. If either person has ever had sex with anyone else, we recommend getting tested and, if necessary, treated for STIs at the beginning of each relationship. Know that many STIs can be “silent,” causing no noticeable symptoms in men or women. Also know that some STIs may not be detectable through testing for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, so talk to your healthcare provider about the appropriate time to get tested.
Talk with your partner(s) about STIs, sexual health, and prevention prior to sexual activity. Open communication fosters trust and respect among partners and is a key aspect of reducing the risks for STIs. Also, don’t be afraid to talk honestly with your healthcare provider about your sexual practices or to ask about STD/STI tests, including determining which STIs you’ve been tested for—and which you haven’t been.
The only way to know if you or your partner has an STI is to get tested. Get tested and ask your sexual partners to get tested before you start having sex.
Low-risk and high-risk activities
Low risk activities include open mouth kissing (French kissing) and hand-to-genital contact. Activities that are higher risk for STD/STIs include oral sex (genital or anal), vaginal intercourse and other genital-to-genital contact, anal intercourse and sharing sex toys with no barriers. Both vaginal intercourse and any contact between a penis and a vagina are high risk for pregnancy. A woman can become pregnant even if a man “pulls out” and does not ejaculate into her vagina.
Barriers such as condoms can also reduce the risk of contracting a STI or having an unwanted pregnancy. Learn more about barriers and safer sex.
Avoid alcohol and recreational drug use
Avoiding alcohol and recreational drug use reduces the risk of contracting an STD/STI, having an unwanted pregnancy, or being coerced to have sex. Alcohol and drug use can reduce our ability to make good decisions and make it less likely that we will actually implement the safer sex decisions we had made previously. It may also make us more likely to be coerced into participating in an activity without being able to give our full and informed consent.
If you have a feeling that you are infected, be sure to ask your doctor to provide you with a test for STD. Be honest with your sexual practices when talking to your doctor since they can give you suggestions to reduce the risk of having and STD or STI.