According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 12% of young people who are newly infected with a sexually transmitted disease or sexually transmitted infection actually get tested in a typical year. Given that about half of new STD cases are among those between 15 and 24, the lack of testing tells us that many people who contract these infections every year are not aware they have any cause for concern.

Some STDs show mild symptoms that are often mistaken for other issues, while others will show no obvious symptoms at all in certain people. There’s a great deal of confusion, particularly among young people, about the signs and symptoms of STDs.

What are the first signs of an STD?

It’s important to remember that not all STDs will cause any obvious symptoms in all patients, and each one does something a little different to the body. But most of the common STDs cause symptoms like bumps, spots, warts or sores on or near the vagina, penis, anus or mouth as well as an unusual discharge from the penis or vagina. For many people, these signals of infection around the genitals will be the first obvious sign of an STD.

How soon will you see signs of an STD?

Each infection has its own period of incubation, so there is no single answer to how soon you will see signs of an STD. Some will appear very quickly, such as symptoms of chancroid, which is a bacterial infection of the genitals. Others, such as HIV, could take years to display symptoms for some infected individuals. While you should always take precautions to limit your exposure to infected individuals, it’s a good idea to closely monitor the skin around your mouth, vagina, anus and penis for at least a month after you’ve had unprotected sex.

What are the signs of STD in a man?

Many STDs show no obvious signs in either men or women, but for men the most common early signs of an STD include painful urination, discharge from the penis, sores or blisters on the penis and rash on the penis or testicles. Some STDs also will cause fever or flu-like symptoms in both men and women.

What are the signs of STD in a woman?

For women whose bodies do show obvious signs of STDs, the most commonly reported signals are vaginal discharge that may have a foul odor, vaginal itching, blisters or sores, pain during intercourse and a painful or burning sensation during urination. Just as in men, some women who become infected with an STD will display flu-like symptoms, though this is not

Would I know if I had an STD?

Not all sexually transmitted diseases and infections will show any signs at all, and the ones that do cause noticeable symptoms often have signs that are easily mistaken for other problems, such as a skin condition. However, if you’ve recently had any unprotected sexual contact and you have any unusual issues that seem centered around your genitals, such as painful urination or a rash, there’s a pretty decent chance that you have an STD. But the truth is that the majority of people who are infected with STDs do not know.

Are chlamydia signs different in men and women?

Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the United States; in fact, more than 1.7 million people will become infected this year. Infected men are more likely to show symptoms of chlamydia than are infected women, though the signs are often similar — discharge from the genitals and painful urination.

How long does chlamydia take to show up?

As many as 75% of infected women and 50% of infected men do not show any obvious signs of chlamydia infection, but for those whose bodies do display symptoms, most appear about 7-21 days after exposure.

How do you know if you have an STD without getting tested?

While your body might show signs that indicate you’ve contracted an STD, such as discharge from your penis or vagina, painful urination or rashes, blisters and sores around the genitals, the truth is the only way to know for sure that you have been infected with an STD is to get yourself tested. The vast majority of people who have STDs show no signs of infection and so they don’t think they need to get tested.

How do you know if you have the clap?

“The clap” is a nickname for the very common sexually transmitted bacterial infection gonorrhea. While many people won’t notice symptoms, the most common ones include painful urination, discharge from the penis or vagina, pain or swelling in the testicles, bleeding between periods and itching in or around the anus. Experiencing these symptoms not long after you’ve had unprotected sexual contact could tip you off that you have the clap, but the best way to know is to get tested.

What are the symptoms of gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is a very common but treatable bacterial infection that’s transmitted sexually. While it does not always cause obvious symptoms in those who become infected, the most common signals include pain or burning while urinating, bleeding between periods, itching in and around the anus or discharge from the penis or vagina.

How long after exposure to syphilis do symptoms occur?

Syphilis is a very common but potentially incredibly dangerous bacterial infection that’s spread readily during sexual activities. Not all infected people will show obvious of the STD, but symptoms generally begin appearing about three weeks after exposure and usually start with small, painless sores on the skin called chancres. These sores will appear at the spot where the bacteria entered your body, which could be inside your rectum or vagina.

What does the syphilis rash look like?

A syphilis rash will appear on the body of some people infected with the bacteria during the secondary stage. This rash, which sometimes shows up after the primary syphilis sore has healed, most often appears as rough, red or reddish brown spots on the palms of the hands or bottoms of the feet. A secondary syphilis rash will rarely itch and may be so faint that the infected person does not notice it.

How long does it take for gonorrhea to show up?

While gonorrhea often does not cause any obvious symptoms in the people it infects, those whose bodies do display clear signals of infection could start to notice them in as few as a couple of days after exposure or up to one month.

Can you have an STD for years and not know it?

Yes; in fact, the majority of people who are infected with sexually transmitted diseases are unaware of their infection. Most STDs will either run their course, be fought off by the body or never cause any serious problems, but there are several STDs that, if left untreated, can cause serious long-term health problems and even death.

What STDs give you a burning sensation?

Most sexually transmitted diseases will not cause any obvious signs in many patients, but several do have one sign in common — a burning sensation when urinating. Some of the most common STDs associated with burning during urination include chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes and trichomoniasis, or trich.

Can you have an STD without knowing?

Most people who have contracted a sexually transmitted disease or sexually transmitted infection do not know they are infected. That’s because most STDs do not cause obvious signs or cause symptoms that are easily mistaken for another issue, such as a skin condition. All STDs do specific things inside the body, but some of the most common signs include sores or lesions on the mouth or genitals, pain or burning during urination or defecation or discharge from the penis or vagina.

Can I get the same STD more than once?

Yes; in fact, many people who have undergone treatment for an STD can quickly become reinfected if they have another exposure to the disease, virus or bacteria.

Will my doctor be able to tell how long I’ve had an STD?

Some but not all STDs progress along a path where the signs of infection in the body can indicate how long an infection has been present. For instance, people who become infected with syphilis often will display a progression of symptoms that can help a doctor pinpoint how long the individual has been infected. However, because many STDs can go undetected in the body for years, it’s not always possible for healthcare providers to know exactly how long a person has had a particular STD.

What happens if you have an untreated STD?

While most sexually transmitted diseases will not cause serious long-term health issues, some can lead to permanent damage and even death. Untreated syphilis can cause damage to your internal organs, including your brain. HIV can lead to AIDS, which is fatal if untreated, and even some STDs that aren’t fatal on their own, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, can lead to a serious condition called pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause infertility in women. Additionally, human papillomavirus is the primary cause of several types of cancer, including penile, cervical and anal cancer.

How soon after unprotected sex can I test for STDs?

The window for a positive STD test depends on the infection in question, but here are some guidelines: 2 weeks for gonorrhea and chlamydia; 1-2 weeks to 3 months for syphilis; and 6 weeks to a few months for HIV and hepatitis B and C.