STDs are infections that are spread from one person to another, usually during vaginal, anal, and oral sex. They’re really common, and lots of people who have them don’t have any symptoms. Without treatment, STDs can lead to serious health problems. But the good news is that getting tested is no big deal, and most STDs are easy to treat.
If an STD starts with a symptomatic STI, you might first experience:
But remember that not all STIs have symptoms.
If an STI progresses to an STD, symptoms can vary. Some of them may be similar to the above, such as pain during sexual activity, pain during urination, and irregular or painful periods.
But other symptoms can be quite different and depend on the STD. They can include:
While the list of STIs is pretty lengthy, there are fewer STDs.
They range from pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), caused by STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea, to some forms of cancer, caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).
The best way to avoid an STD is to prevent STIs. And the only foolproof way to do that is to avoid sexual contact.
But there are ways to make sex safer and reduce the risk of contracting an STI: