Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD)- Causes and Symptoms

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD)- Causes and Symptoms

What is STD

  • STD also known as a sexually transmitted disease is a condition in which infection is passed by having unprotected oral, anal, vaginal sex with a person suffering from STD
  • There are more than 20 types of STD’s
  • Though STD can spread through unprotected sex, it can also spread by sharing needles and body fluids
  • The causes of STD are bacteria, parasite, yeast and virus.

Types of STD and their symptoms

The most common types of STDs are chlamydia, genital warts, genital herpes, gonorrhoea, hepatitis B&C, syphilis and HIV. Below is a list of sexually transmitted diseases and their symptoms-causes and symptoms


  • Chlamydia is the most common type of STD.
  • It is a bacteria that enters your body
  • It is easily curable
  • The treatment usually consists of a single dose antibiotic.
  • Most of the Men and Women don’t see any symptoms for years


  • Women suffer from abnormal vaginal discharge and vaginal bleeding,
  • In men, there is a discharge from the tip of the penis and pain when peeing or during sex.
  • When left untreated, chlamydia can lead to infertility in both men and women. People infected with chlamydia, have a higher chance of suffering from other STD’s too.
  • It takes upto 6 weeks for the symptoms to show up


  • Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection. It may occur without any symptoms especially in women
  • It is a bacteria called Neisseria, that enters your body and spreads the infection
  • About 1 in 3 women infected with gonorrhoea also has chlamydia.
  • You can only catch it through sexual activity.


  • Discharge from the vagina, penis or anus
  • Men feel a burning sensation when urinating
  • Women often do not notice any symptoms
  • Men may not notice symptoms when gonorrhoea is in the throat
  • The symptoms show up after 5-6 days but often no symptoms can be seen.


  • Herpes is a contagious infection, which is transferred from one person to another by having unprotected sex(oral,vaginal,anal)with an infected person
  • Genital herpes is a virus bHerpes simplex virus also known as HSV. They are of two types, genital herpes and oral herpes. The symptoms are soreness of the infected area or painful blisters around the genitals. Most people are able to recognise herpes due to the itching and tingling sensation in the genitals that they feel a few hours before the blisters appear.
  • Most of the people who are infected with genital herpes, don’t know they have the virus. They live their entire life without knowing about their infection or suffering from any symptoms.
  • People suffering from herpes can pass the virus to another partner who can then develop these symptoms.

Genital herpes symptoms

The most common symptoms of genital herpes is itchy or painful blisters on your vagina, vulva, cervix, penis, butt, anus, or the inside of your thighs. You may also suffer from other symptoms like

  • burning when you pee if your urine touches the herpes sores
  • having trouble peeing because the sores and swelling are blocking your urethra
  • itching
  • pain around your genitals

If your genital herpes is caused by HSV-2, you might also have flu-like symptoms, such as:

  • swollen glands in your pelvic area, throat, and under your arms
  • fever
  • chills
  • headache
  • feeling achy and tired
  • The first outbreak usually starts about 2 to 20 days after you get infected with herpes. But sometimes it takes years for the first outbreak to happen.
  • Herpes symptoms may be more painful and last longer in people with illnesses that damage your immune system — like leukemia and HIV.

Oral herpes symptoms

  • Usually, oral herpes is less painful than genital herpes and doesn’t make you feel as sick.
  • Oral herpes causes sores on your lips or around your mouth also called cold sores or blisters.
  • Cold sores last a few weeks and then go away on their own. They can pop up again in weeks, months, or years.

Genital Warts

  • Genital warts (also known as anogenital warts) are located in or around the anus and genital area. They’re caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) which often doesn’t cause any symptoms, and sometimes shows only years after infection.
  • Genital warts appear as little bumps that form clusters with a cauliflower shape. Since they come in different sizes treatment ranges from antiviral creams (e.g. Warticon) to surgery (e.g. laser, cryosurgery).
  • While they are not dangerous, they are easily transmitted and require immediate treatment. As far as symptoms go, genital warts are sometimes itchy and in rare cases, they can be painful. Women can suffer from irregular vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • More than 80% of HPV infection will clear on their own in 24 months
  • Immunization with HPV vaccine prevents strains of HPV


  • Syphilis is one of the most common STDs.
  • It is a bacteria that enters your body
  • Syphilis is easy to treat with antibiotics.
  • Syphilis is transmitted from person to person by direct contact through sex, breastfeeding or by sharing towels, needles etc.
  • Pregnant women with syphilis can spread it to their baby which can cause abnormalities or even death


The symptoms of syphilis are seen in three different stages

  • Primary stage: In the primary stage people will see sores on the genitals, around the mouth.
  • Secondary stage: People with secondary stage syphills experience rashes on different parts. They may also experience moist warts in their groin, white patches indise their mouth, swollen lymphglands, fever and weight loss
  • Final stage: In this stage there are severe problems related to the heart, brain and the nerves. If not treated it can result to blindness, paralysis, deafness, impotence and even death.

Hepatitis B

  • It is a virus that attacks the liver
  • It can cause scarring of the organ, liver failure, and cancer
  • It is passed through sexual contact and blood.


  • Jaundice
  • Fever
  • Extremely tired for weeks
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomache ache
  • Symptoms may not show uptill 6 months after catching virus and can only be found through blood test

HIV – Human Immunodeficiency Virus

  • HIV can be transmitted through blood exchange or sex. It can also be transmitted to the new-born by a pregnant woman
  • It is caused by a virus that attacks your immune system, due to which your body cannot fight infections and diseases.
  • If the HIV is not treated, it results in your body to suffer from AIDS – the Acquired Immunodeficiency Symptom
  • HIV is incurable but with modern treatments people living with HIV rarely develop AIDS, and their life expectancy is similar to a normal human being.


  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Skin Rashes
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dry cough
  • Night Sweats
  • The fever tends to develop within 2-4 weeks after the virus has entered the body, but it can sometimes take several months.
  • Most patients will only suffer from AIDS about 10 years later as they start losing weight and suffer from uncommon infections and cancers.
  • There is no cure or vaccine for HIV at the moment, but early treatment considerably slows down the spread of the virus in infected patients.

List of STDs & Symptoms – Other infections

There are many infections that are often misunderstood as STDs, such as urethritis, which is simply an infection of the urethra (part of the urinary tract).


  • Pubic lice (crabs) is another example, which is neither an infection nor a disease but just tiny bugs (lice) that settle in your pubic hair to lay their eggs and reproduce. They are transmitted during intimate contact between two pubic areas.
  • Many people don’t have any symptoms, but some do suffer from itchy genitals and inflammation. You can only get rid of them with special treatment for lice (shampoos, lotions & creams).

Trichomoniasis (Trich)

  • Trichomonas is a germ causing a benign infection known as trichomoniasis. It’s a treatable infection which is cured with a simple course of antibiotics. The symptoms it causes are common STD symptoms, namely an abnormal discharge from the genitals and pain when urinating or when having sex.
  • The majority of people actually develop their own antibodies against the virus and are protected from further infections. Yet, 5 in 100 people who are infected will suffer from serious consequences from the virus.

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