As long as you are having sex, you are at risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
This is going to be a surprise to you, but condoms do not protect you from all sexually transmitted diseases.
In fact, research has shown that a condom only reduces the risk of transmission of HIV by 85 to 94% only. Therefore, regular testing is essential especially if you are not in a monogamous relationship.
Here we will provide a list of some of the most common STDs and how they typically present.
Keep in mind, a lot of the STDs may not produce any symptoms all the time.
Types of STDs
- Genital warts/Human papilloma virus (HPV)
- Chlamydia/Lymphogranuloma venereum
- Mycoplasma genitaliae
- Ureaplasma urealyticum
- Trichomonas vaginalis
- Bacterial vaginosis/Gardnerella
- Hepatitis A/B/C
- Herpes simplex type I/II
- Molluscum contagiosm
- Crab lice
- Granuloma inguinale
- Tinea cruris
- Gardnerella vaginalis
- Penile discharges
- Vaginal discharges
- Pain during urination
- Lymph nodes
- Lumps and bumps
- Pain when having sex/Vaginitis
- Itch in the genital area
- Genital sores (painful/painless)
This is the most common STD in developed countries. Unfortunately, 40% to 60% of men and up to 80% of women may not have any symptom while they have the infection. Sometimes, the symptoms can be very subtle that it is easily brushed off by patients and even some doctors if a detail sexual history is not taken.
Some of the ways chlamydia presents is pain when passing urine, discharge from the penis and vagina. Besides this, it can also present as sore throat and anal discharge if you are the receptive (Giving) partner in oral sex and receptive partner in anal sex respectively.
The common symptoms are pain passing urine, discharge from the penis or vagina.
Similar to chlamydia they can present with pain when passing urine, discharge from the penis or vagina and anal discharge. The symptoms typically occur within a couple of days after and exposure but there are reported cases of symptoms appearing a few months after an exposure. However, it has been reported that approximately 10% of the people may not have any symptoms at all.
These are typically caused by bugs such as Mycoplasma sp, Ureaplasma sp and many more.
Unfortunately most of these infections may not show any symptoms. When they do show symptoms they are typically mild discomfort passing urine or a mild discharge.
HIVThe perception most people have of patients infected with HIV are patients who are already in the AIDS phase of the infection.
In the initial phase of HIV infection, most people do not show any symptoms. Even when they do present, which is more commonly about 3 to 4 weeks after an exposure, they present as fever, sore throat, rash and swollen lymph nodes. As you can see these symptoms are very common in infections such as the common cold.
This is one of the most common infections in the world. Most of the people are not aware that they have been infected by this virus which transmits through skin to skin contact. This is because a lot of people may not show symptoms or the symptoms are so mild that they go unnoticed.
However, for patients who do experience symptoms, their first episode is usually the worse and may last up to 3 weeks without treatment. The flairs tend to be less frequent and severe over time. They may present commonly as painful blisters that burst to form painful ulcers. These symptoms are usually preceded by itching, tingling or mild pain in the infected area just before a flair.
Hepatitis A, B and C
A lot of patients usually develop symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed. These include nausea, fever, itching, loss of appetite, yellowing of the eyes and skin.
However, some people may never develop any symptoms and are usually diagnosed after further investigation on a patient who presents with an abnormal liver function test.
SyphilisThe symptoms of syphilis varies depending on the phase of infection the patient is in and may present between 9 to 90 days after an exposure. This include a painless ulcer at the infected site, which will disappear without any treatment. This is why it may go unnoticed. If not treated, it will appear years later with a rash all over the body. If it goes untreated after this phase, it may spread to other parts of the body such as brain and major blood vessels causing detrimental effects.
This is caused by a virus called Pox virus and usually appears as separate pearly round painless bumps/lesions on the skin.
A lot of the time, HPV may not show symptoms. It can infect the skin, mucosal surfaces and cervix. Most commonly it appears as a skin colored cauliflower like lumps on the skin. However, this virus is known to cause cancers of the cervix, anus, penis and many more. The good thing is that vaccination is now available for this virus.
Scabies and Lice
These are caused by translucent tiny insects and that can be seen under good lighting and magnification.
They usually present with a lot of itching in the groin region, which is worse at night.
Note: Please remember that you can catch an STD and show no symptoms. If you feel you are at risk, go for STD screening.