Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that are passed from person to person through sexual contact. They are not the same as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) because a “disease” is usually an obvious medical problem with clear signs and symptoms, and an “infection” with an STI may or may not result in disease.
If left untreated, STIs can cause serious health problems, including cervical cancer, liver disease, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infertility, and pregnancy problems.
Unfortunately, a person can have a sexually transmitted disease (STD) without knowing it. In many cases, there aren’t any signs or STD symptoms. When there are signs of STIs, they are most likely to be in the genital area.
One of the most common STIs.
Signs and symptoms of Chlamydia may include:
- Painful urination
- Vaginal discharge in women
- Discharge from the penis in men
- Painful sexual intercourse in women
- Bleeding between periods and after sex in women
- Testicular pain in men
Gonorrhea symptoms may include:
- Discharge from the vagina (watery, creamy, or slightly green)
- Discharge from the Penis
- Pain or burning sensation while urinating
- Urge to urinate more frequently
- Heavier periods or spotting
- Sore throat
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Sharp pain in the lower abdomen
Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The virus that causes AIDS. It is present in the blood, vaginal secretions, semen, and breast milk.
Get tested if:
- You have ever had vaginal, anal, or oral sex without a condom
- You are uncertain of your partner’s status or your partner is living with HIV
- You are pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant
- You have ever been diagnosed with an STI or STD
- You have hepatitis C
- You begin treatment for tuberculosis (TB)
The disease has several phases. With primary syphilis (early disease) a patient may have pain-free open sores, called chancres, in the genital or anal area or around the mouth.
Patients with secondary syphilis (a later stage of the disease) often have a rash and/or hair loss.
If left untreated, syphilis can proceed to the latent stage during which it may have no visible symptoms but can cause damage to the heart, brain, and other organs.
Inflammation (irritation) of the liver. Some types of hepatitis are caused by viruses that exist in blood, vaginal secretions, semen, and breast milk: hepatitis B (HBV), and hepatitis C (HCV), and all of them can be sexually transmitted.
Because HBV and HCV often have no symptoms, most people do not know that they have the infection.
The swelling of the foreskin or head of the penis.
Balanitis symptoms may include:
- Pain when peeing
- A thick discharge comes from under your foreskin
- Bleeding around your foreskin
- An unpleasant smell
- Difficulty pulling back your foreskin
Ureaplasma symptoms may include:
- It hurts when you pee
- Belly pain
- Pain, odor, or discharge from the vagina
- Swelling at the opening of the urethra
- Discharge from the urethra
Vaginosis symptoms may include:
- A thin white or gray vaginal discharge
- Pain, itching, or burning in the vagina
- A strong fish-like odor, especially after sex
- Burning when urinating
- Itching around the outside of the vagina
Every STI/STD requires different tests, but most of them involve:
- A urine sample
- A blood sample
- Swabs from the urethra
- Swabs from the vagina
- An examination of your genitals
Don’t worry, all STI/STD testing and results remain confidential no matter what. Many STIs can be treated (and cured) with antibiotics. If you have any doubts, don’t wait any longer, book your STD testing now.