A PROJECT OF THE County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency

Sexually Transmitted Disease (STDs)

This information is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

There are more than 30 kinds of infections that can be spread through sexual contact. As you probably already know, these are called Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and they should always be taken seriously.

Some STIs are curable if you see a doctor right away. There is no cure for the herpes virus but it can be controlled with medication. HIV/AIDS is not curable and often ends in death.

STIs are spread during sexual contact. Sometimes you can have an STI with no signs or symptoms. Other times, you may have the symptoms and the symptoms go away on their own. EITHER WAY, you still have the STI until you get treated.

You may feel embarrassed about going to a doctor/clinic to get tested for an STI, but embarrassment and shame get in the way of people taking care of their health. Infections that go untreated can develop into worse health problems. Many people find it hard to talk about their sexual health, but this can lead people to neglect taking care of themselves and their partner.

Common STIs

The following is a short list of STIs with details for each listed. For a complete list of STIs, facts, and more information about each one, go to http://www.plannedparenthood.org, click on health info, and sexually transmitted infections.

If you think you might have an STI, go to your doctor or clinic. Diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections requires laboratory tests and/or physical examination. For confidential testing you can call toll-free 1-800-230-PLAN to reach your nearest Planned Parenthood health center.

STIs: What to Watch For, How You Get Them, and What Happens if You Don’t Get Treated

Chlamydia

  • Symptoms show up 7-21 days after having sex.
  • Most women and some men have no symptoms.
  • Spread during vaginal, anal and oral sex with someone who has chlamydia.
  • You can give chlamydia or NGU to your sexual partner.
  • Can lead to more serious infections.
  • Reproductive organs can be damaged.
  • Both men and women may no longer be able to have children.
  • A mother with chlamydia can give it to her baby during childbirth.

Women

  • Discharge from the vagina
  • Bleeding from the vagina and between periods.
  • Burning or pain during urination.
  • Pain in belly, sometimes with fever and nausea.

Men

  • Watery, white or yellow drip from penis.
  • Burning or pain during urination

Genital Warts aka- HPV

  • Symptoms show up 1-8 months after having sex
  • Small, bumpy warts on the sex organs and anus
  • The warts do not go away
  • Itching or burning around the sex organs
  • After warts go away, the virus stays in the body. The warts can come back
  • Spread during vaginal, anal and oral sex with someone who has genital warts
  • You can give genital warts to your sexual partners
  • Warts cannot be cured
  • More warts grow and are harder to get rid of
  • A mother with warts can give them to her baby during childbirth
  • May lead to precancerous conditions

Gonorrhea

  • Symptoms show up 7-21 days after having sex
  • Most women and some men have no symptoms
  • Spread during vaginal, anal and oral sex with someone who has gonorrhea
  • You can give gonorrhea to your sexual partners
  • Can lead to more serious infections
  • Reproductive organs can be damaged
  • Both men and women may no longer be able to have children
  • A mother can give it to her baby during childbirth
  • Can cause heart trouble, skin disease, arthritis and blindness

Women

  • Discharge from the vagina
  • Bleeding from the vagina and between periods
  • Burning or pain during urination
  • Pain in belly, sometimes with fever and nausea

Men

  • Watery, white or yellow drip from penis
  • Burning or pain during urination

Hepatitis

  • Symptoms show up 1-9 months after contact with the hepatitis B virus.
  • Many people have no symptoms or mild symptoms.
  • Flu-like feelings that don’t go away.
  • Tiredness
  • Dark urine, light-colored bowl movements.
  • Spread during vaginal, anal and oral sex with someone who has hepatitis B.
  • Spread by sharing needles.
  • Spread by contact with blood infected with the virus.
  • You can give hepatitis B to your sexual partners or someone you share needles with.
  • Some people recover completely, some cannot be cured even when symptoms go away.
  • Can cause permanent liver damage.
  • A mother can give it to her baby during childbirth.

Herpes

  • Symptoms show up 1-30 days after having sex.
  • Some people have no symptoms.
  • Flu-like feelings.
  • Small, painful blisters on the sex organs or mouth.
  • Itching or burning before the blister appears.
  • Blisters last 1-3 weeks.
  • Blisters go away but you still have herpes; they can come back.
  • Spread during vaginal, anal and oral sex with someone who has herpes.
  • Transmission requires skin to skin contact only (can still get it when using a condom)
  • You can give herpes to your sexual partners.
  • Herpes can not be cured.
  • A mother with herpes can give it to her baby during childbirth, which may cause the baby to be blind.

HIV

  • Symptoms show up several months to several years after contact with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
  • Can be present for many years with no symptoms.
  • Unexplainable weight loss or tiredness.
  • Flu-like feelings that don’t go away.
  • Diarrhea.
  • White spots in the mouth.
  • In women, yeast infections that don’t go away.
  • Spread during vaginal, anal and oral sex with someone who has HIV
  • Spread by sharing needles to inject drugs or for other reasons
  • Spread by contact with infected blood
  • You can give HIV to your sexual partners or someone you share a needle with.
  • HIV can not be cured.
  • Most people die from the disease.
  • A mother with HIV can give it to her baby in the womb, during birth or while breastfeeding.

Syphilis

1st Stage

  • Symptoms show up 3-12 weeks after having sex
  • A painless, reddish-brown sore(s) on the mouth, sex organs, breasts or fingers
  • Sore(s) last 1-5 weeks.

2nd Stage

  • Symptoms show up 1 week-6 months after sore heals
  • A rash anywhere on the body
  • Flu-like feelings
  • Rash and flu-like feelings go away, but you still have syphilis
  • Spread during vaginal, anal and oral sex with someone who has syphilis
  • You can give syphilis to your sexual partners
  • A mother with syphilis can give it to her baby during childbirth or have a miscarriage
  • Can cause heart disease, brain damage, blindness and death.