Symptoms Checklist for common STDs

If you have sex — oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse and genital touching — you would have a risk to contract sexually transmitted infection (STI). You might have heard that rashes, sores, and ulcers are common symptoms of STIs, but what else should you be watching for?

Below is a full symptom checklist of the common STDs you might be worried about.

  • HIV

  • Gonorrhea

  • Chlamydia

  • Syphilis

  • HSV - 1&2

  • Hepatitis B&C

  • Ureaplasma

  • Mycoplasma

  • Trichomonas

  • Bacterial Vaginosis

  • Candida


Most people infected with HIV experience a short, flu-like illness that occurs 2-6 weeks after infection. After this, HIV may not cause any symptoms for several years. It's estimated up to 80% of people who have infected with HIV experience this flu-like illness.

The most common symptoms are:

  • raised temperature (fever)

  • sore throat

  • body rash

Other symptoms can include:

  • tiredness

  • joint pain

  • muscle pain

  • swollen glands

The symptoms usually last 1-2 weeks but can be longer. They're a sign that your immune system is putting up a fight against the virus.


Symptoms for women may include:

  • an unusual vaginal discharge, which may be thin or watery and green or yellow in color

  • pain or a burning sensation when passing urine

  • pain or tenderness in the lower abdominal area – this is less common

  • bleeding between periods, heavier periods, and bleeding after sex

Symptoms for men may include:

  • an unusual discharge from the tip of the penis, which may be white, yellow, or green

  • pain or a burning sensation when urinating

  • inflammation (swelling) of the foreskin

  • pain or tenderness in the testicles – this is rare

Infection in the rectum can cause discomfort, pain, or discharge. Infection in the eyes can cause irritation, pain, swelling, and discharge, and infection in the throat usually causes no symptoms.


Most people with chlamydia do not notice any symptoms and do not know they have it.

Symptoms for women may include:

  • pain when peeing

  • unusual discharge

  • pain in the tummy, bleeding after sex, and bleeding between periods

Symptoms for men may include:

  • pain when peeing

  • unusual discharge from penis or bottom

  • in men, pain and swelling in the testicles


The symptoms of syphilis are similar for men and women. They're often mild and difficult to recognize, and you may pass on the infection without knowing you have it. The first symptoms of syphilis usually develop around 2 or 3 weeks after infection, although they can start later than this.

The early symptoms may include:

  • the main symptom is a small, painless sore or ulcer called a chancre that you might not notice

  • the sore will typically be on the penis, vagina, or around the anus, although it can sometimes appear in the mouth or on the lips, fingers, or buttocks

  • most people only have one sore, but some people have several

  • you may also have swollen glands in your neck, groin, or armpits

These symptoms usually pass within 2 to 8 weeks. But if the infection isn't treated, it may progress to a second stage.

Symptoms of secondary syphilis include:

  • a blotchy red rash that can appear anywhere on the body, but often develops on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet

  • small skin growths (similar to genital warts) – on women these often appear on the vulva and for both men and women they may appear around the anus

  • white patches in the mouth

  • flu-like symptoms, such as tiredness, headaches, joint pains, and a high temperature (fever)

  • swollen glands

  • occasionally, patchy hair loss

Herpes simplex virus 1 & 2 (HSV - 1&2)

Most individuals infected with HSV are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms that go unnoticed or are mistaken for another skin condition. 9 When symptoms do occur, herpes lesions typically appear as one or more vesicles, or small blisters, on or around the genitals, rectum, or mouth.

Some of the symptoms associated with this virus include:

  • blistering sores (in the mouth or on the genitals)

  • pain during urination (genital herpes)

  • itching

You may also experience symptoms that are similar to the flu. These symptoms can include:

  • fever

  • swollen lymph nodes

  • headaches

  • Tiredness

  • lack of appetite

HSV can also spread to the eyes, causing a condition called herpes keratitis. This can cause symptoms such as eye pain, discharge, and a gritty feeling in the eye.

Hepatitis B&C

You may not have symptoms in the beginning. Symptoms may not occur until the damage affects liver function.

Signs and symptoms of acute hepatitis appear quickly. They include:

  • fatigue

  • flu-like symptoms

  • dark urine

  • pale stool

  • abdominal pain

  • loss of appetite

  • unexplained weight loss

  • yellow skin and eyes, which may be signs of jaundice

Chronic hepatitis develops slowly, so these signs and symptoms may be too subtle to notice.


Symptoms for women may include:

  • redness and inflammation

  • unusual discharge

  • pain during urination (dysuria)

  • lower abdominal pains

  • pain from the vagina

  • unusual odor

  • another symptom of ureaplasma includes urethrorrhagia (the flow of blood from the urethra). Some women may experience chronic cystitis or other similar urinary tract infections (UTIs

Symptoms for men may include:

  • burning or pain when urinating

  • frequent urination

  • slow urination

  • difficulty urinating

  • urethral discharge


Symptoms for women may include:

  • pain when peeing

  • unusual discharge

  • bleeding after sex and bleeding between periods

Symptoms for men may include:

  • pain when peeing

  • unusual discharge from penis or bottom

  • urethritis -- a swelling of the urethra, the tube that urine goes through as it leaves the body


Symptoms for women may include:

  • itching, burning, redness or soreness of the genitals;

  • discomfort with urination;

  • a change in their vaginal discharge (i.e., thin discharge or increased volume) that can be clear, white, yellowish, or greenish with an unusual fishy smell.

Symptoms for men may include:

  • itching or irritation inside the penis;

  • burning after urination or ejaculation;

  • unusual discharge from the penis

Gardnerella (Bacterial Vaginosis)

Up to 50% of women diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis do not have symptoms.

But when symptoms do appear, they may include:

  • vaginal discharge that may be white or gray in color

  • discharge with a strong, foul odor

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an infection in the vagina. Males cannot develop bacterial vaginosis, but they can spread the infection.


Symptoms for women may include:

  • genital itching

  • irritation or burning

  • abnormal vaginal discharge.

Symptoms for men may include:

  • itching and redness on the head of the penis (a condition known as balanitis).

Some men find symptoms are more noticeable after sex. Sometimes the itching is located in the groin.

Although it is a quick way to identify your risk of getting STI infections by checking the symptoms, almost all STDs still can cause infection without showing any symptoms. Asymptomatic infections can still be passed to your partners through sexual intercourse or skin-to-skin contact and can cause severe consequences if left untreated.

The only way to know if you have an STI is to get tested regularly, either through your preferred general practice doctor or at an STI specialize clinic. Now you also have the option of our at-home STI screening kits to learn about your risk in the comfort of your home!

If you are worried right now, check out our kits and get tested today!

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