Did you know that more than half of people get a sexually transmitted disease (STD) at some point during their life?
Are you aware that nearly 20 million people are diagnosed with an STD in the U.S. each year?
If you think you might have an STD, then it’s important to know that you’re not on your own. You’re one of many millions. And yet, it’s important to know how to tell you have an STD.
In this article, we’ll give you the low-down on how to spot STDs and what to about it. Let’s get started!
What Is an STD?
STDs are diseases that are passed from one person to another person via sexual activity, which includes oral, vaginal and anal sex between two or more people.
Normally, STDs require fluids (blood, semen or vaginal fluid) to pass from one person to another. However, genital contact can also cause STDs to pass between sexual partners.
How to Tell You Have an STD?
Not all STDs have symptoms. This makes it extremely difficult to know that you have an STD unless you get tested.
However, people usually spot the symptoms before they know they’ve got an STD. It’s also important to know that women and men usually develop different symptoms.
There are some symptoms which are common across STDs which are found in both men and women. These include:
- Pain during urination
- Rashes, swelling or irritation around the genitals
- Sores or warts around the genitals or anus
- Unusual discharge
If you have one or more of these symptoms, then you need to get tested for STDs. However, symptoms can vary according to the kind of STD. So let’s look at the different STDs you need to know.
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection which affects nearly 3 million Americans each year.
There are no symptoms associated with chlamydia. Therefore, people often don’t know they have chlamydia until the condition worsens.
Up to about two months after chlamydia is transmitted symptoms develop.
These include pain during urination and sex. Men also experience watery discharge and swollen testicles. Women often report strong-smelling yellow discharge from the vagina as a symptom.
Gonorrhea also presents no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Plus, women never experience any symptoms of gonorrhea.
Symptoms among men include painful burning during urination, swollen testicles, and unusual-colored discharge.
There are usually no symptoms of herpes. However, unfortunately, once you’ve got herpes, you’ve got it forever.
The herpes virus consists of virus 1 and 2. According to studies, over half of the U.S. population has oral herpes. One in six Americans between the ages of 14 and 49 years old have genital herpes.
However, some people develop blisters and sores around the genitals and anus. Oral herpes can result in blisters around the mouth too.
Symptoms similar to flu, such as fever, headaches, and migraines can also emerge in people with virus 2.
4. Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a liver infection which can develop into liver disease, which is life-threatening. Many people with hepatitis B show no symptoms.
Possible symptoms can develop after several months, which include flu-like symptoms.
You should also be aware of the symptoms of fatigue, dark colored urine and poor appetite. These can also indicate hepatitis B.
5. Human Papillomavirus
HPV for short, this STD can manifest as over one hundred different types. Anyone who is sexually active can develop HPV during sexual activity.
Most types of HPV are not harmful to health and show no symptoms.
However, there are also types which cause genital warts and cancer. You may show no signs of HPV until the severe health problems emerge.
Syphilis is another bacterial infection which can damage the nervous system. The disease is difficult to spot because the symptoms are minor in the early stages of the disease.
Symptoms in the early stages include sores (called chancre) on the mouth, genitals or anus. Then, you can also start to develop rashes around your feet and hands.
Thankfully, after a few months, the disease dissipates. But, you still require treatment.
What Should I do Next?
The symptoms of many STDs can be either mistaken for common diseases or absent completely. Therefore, you can not know for certain whether you have an STD or not by the (lack of) symptoms alone.
The only way to find out if you have an STD is to get tested!
And yet, only 30% of single adults in the U.S. get tested before they engage in sexual activity. While 1 in 4 millennials have never been tested for STDs.
It is understandable that STD testing is scary for many people. However, you should know that the tests don’t take long or incur any pain. It’s also often free!
Many sure your doctor is aware of the following:
- The symptoms you’re experiencing in relation to the above examples
- Your sexuality activity and protection usage
- The STD history of your partner(s) and yourself
What Happens in STD Testing?
The STD testing process can change according to the type of STD that the doctor is testing for. Tests can take between a few minutes and a few weeks to return with results.
Tests can include the following:
- Physical Examination
- Urine Test
- Blood Test
- Cheek Swab
- Discharge test
- Sore tests
Remember your doctor has heard and seen everything before. Don’t be embarrassed.
What to Do if You Have an STD?
So, your results are positive.
You need to do the following:
- Stay Calm
- Remember to breathe
- Know you’ll be ok
- Listen to your doctor’s advice
- Get appropriate treatment (e.g. medication and tests)
- Inform sexual partners and encourage them to have STD tests
- Inform yourself about the facts
Make sure you take care of your mental well-being too. You may need to take advantage of your support system and seek the help of a therapist or counselor.
Do You Want More Health Advice?
Discovering that you have an STD is difficult to handle.
However, you should know that with the right treatment and support you can overcome this. Millions of people already live happy and healthy lives with STDs.
It’s important to be aware of how to tell you have an STD so you can prevent transmitting STDs in the future.
Do you want more health advice? Check out our blog here!