STDs are diseases that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact. These include chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis, and HIV. Many of these STDs do not show symptoms for a long time, but they can still be harmful and passed on during sex.
You can get an STD by having sex (vaginal, anal or oral) with someone who has an STD. Some STDs, like herpes and HPV, are spread by skin-to-skin contact.
Sometimes these infections can be transmitted nonsexually, such as from mother to infant during pregnancy or childbirth, or through blood transfusions or shared needles.
So how do you know if you’ve been infected by an STD? Following are the common symptoms of STD.
There may be a range of symptoms from none at all to the following. Signs and symptoms may appear a few days after exposure, or it may take years before any symptoms show up.
You may have
- Discharge from the penis
- Unusual or odd-smelling vaginal discharge
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- Lower abdominal pain
- Painful or burning urination
- Sores or lumps on the genitals or in the oral or rectal area
- Sore, swollen lymph nodes, particularly in the groin but sometimes more widespread
Anyone who is sexually active risks exposure to a sexually transmitted infection to some degree. Factors that may increase that risk include:
Having unprotected sex. Vaginal or anal penetration by an infected partner without a condom increases the risk of getting an STI.
Having sexual contact with multiple partners. The more people you have sexual contact with, the greater your risk.
Abusing alcohol or using recreational drugs. Substance abuse can cause you to lose your judgment, making you participate in risky behaviors.
Injecting drugs. Needle sharing spreads many serious infections, including HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
To make sure that you don’t expose yourself to STDs, practice safe sex and get yourself checked by an expert medical professional from time to time. STDs are easier to cure in the early stages, so it is important to get a screening done periodically. STDs if left untreated can increase your chances of acquiring other STDs like HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and may cause complications like infertility.