STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) can be transmitted between anyone who is sexually active. It’s important to know whether you or your partner have an STD prior to intercourse in order to protect each other’s health. If you think you may have been exposed to an STD, you may be wondering: when do STDs show symptoms?
When do STDs Show Symptoms?
If you suspect you have an STD, see your doctor as soon as you can. Additionally, practice safe sex to prevent spreading the STD.
Chlamydia: 1 – 3 weeks, or asymptomatic
- Bacterial infection of genital system
- Can cause bleeding and pain in genitals
- Can cause discharge from genitals in both men and women
Genital herpes: 7 days to years, or asymptomatic
- An infection which causes blisters on and around the genitals
- Can cause painful urination
- Often marked by red, painful blisters and open sores
- May be accompanied by tingling or itching in genital region
Genital warts: 2 months – 1 year, or asymptomatic
- Small growths caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Appear in and around the genital region
- Usually painless, but may itch or become inflamed
- Can also be asymptomatic
Gonorrhea: within 2 weeks of infection
- Caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria
- Can cause painful urination
- Can be passed to unborn children and lead to health complications
- Often accompanied by a thick, green or yellow discharge from genitals
HIV: May take 5 – 10 years to show symptoms
- Breaks down the immune system over time
- Causes the individual to contract illnesses more easily than normal
- Symptoms can include swollen glands in the throat, armpits, or groin
- Symptoms may also include headaches, slight fever, fatigue, and aching muscles
- Most often leads to AIDS
- Not currently curable
Pubic lice and Scabies: 5 days – several weeks
- Small, parasitic insects which live on coarse human hair
- Can be found in pubic region, underarm or leg hair, facial hair, and abdominal hair
- Do not live in hair on the head
- Characterized by itchiness, inflammation, and irritation caused by scratching
- Also marked by black powder residue in underwear
Syphilis: 10 days – 3 months
- A bacterial infection which progresses in 3 stages
- Symptoms may include painless sores in the genital region or in the mouth, a red rash on the hands and feet, fatigue and muscle pain, and swollen lymph nodes
- If left unchecked, can spread to the brain and lead to long-term problems
When Should I Test for STDs?
Not all STDs show signs and symptoms. Even if you don’t show symptoms, you could pass STDs to your partner. Being tested is the only surefire way to know whether a person has an STD or not.
- If you suspect you have been exposed to an STD.
- Before having intercourse with a new partner, it’s important that both yourself and your partner are tested for STDs. Even if they do not have symptoms, hoping that they do not have an STD is not adequate protection!
It’s also possible that you may need to test multiple times because some STDs take a while to appear.
The type of test you have will depend on where you may have been exposed to an STD. Although it may feel uncomfortable, you need to tell your doctor all areas which may have been exposed for accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Knowledge is key when it comes to STDs so that you can seek treatment and protect both yourself and your partner.
List of Common STDs
There are many types of STDs. The most common types of STDs are listed below:
- Genital warts
- Hepatitis B
- HIV & AIDS
- HPV (Human papillomavirus)
- Molluscum contagiosum
- PID (Pelvic inflammatory disease)
- Pubic lice