Please note: this is by no means a comprehensive or diagnostic list of STDs. In addition, if you suspect you have an STD, you should not attempt to figure it out by yourself. If you’re sexually active, you should be getting tested regularly for STDs. You should direct any of your questions or concerns to the healthcare professionals at Rice Health Services
of the most common STDs in the U.S., is a bacterial that is passed during
sexual contact. Although symptoms are usually absent, if left untreated,
Chlamydia can cause serious reproductive damage and other health complications,
such as infertility, penis discharge, and/or damage to a woman’s reproductive
organs. It can infect the penis, vagina, cervix, anus, urethra, eye, or throat.
How is it spread? Chlamydia
can be spread by vaginal, anal or oral sex. It can also spread from a woman to
her fetus during birth.
Chlamydia has no symptoms. Most people are not aware that they have the
infection. However, if you do get chlamydia symptoms, they will probably appear
within 1 to 3 weeks of your exposure to it/your contracting it.
women have symptoms, they may experience
- lower abdominal pain
- abnormal vaginal discharge
- bleeding between menstrual periods
- low-grade fever or nausea
- painful intercourse
- pain or a burning sensation while
- swelling inside the vagina or around
- bleeding between menstrual periods
- vaginal bleeding after intercourse
men have symptoms, they may experience
- pain or a burning feeling while
- pus or watery or milky discharge
from the penis
- swollen or tender testicles
- swelling around the anus
women and men may experience:
- anal itching and/or bleeding
- eye redness, itching, and/or discharge
- throat soreness
- Chlamydia is typically treated with antibiotics,
either in one dose or for a short period of time. To avoid becoming re-infected,
both you and your partner should be treated before having sex again. You may
have to be re-tested for Chlamydia in 3 to 4 months. Please note: proper
treatment for Chlamydia or any STD is determined by a health care professional,
and is a decision made between you and your physician. This website is for
informational purposes only.
HPV, or human
papillomavirus, is a viral infection spread during sex that can infect the
genital areas, mouth, and/or throat of men and women. Though most types of HPV
infections have no harmful effects or symptoms, other types of HPV can cause
genital warts, while still other, high-risk strains may cause genital or throat
How does it spread?
HPV is spread by skin-to-skin
contact — usually during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
- There are no symptoms for HPV, even
high-risk types. In addition, HPV infections can “hide” in the body for years
- So, it’s impossible to know exactly when
someone got infected, or who gave them the infection.
- In fact, HPV is so common that most men
and women who’ve had sex get an HPV infection at some point during their lives.
But, because it is symptomless and, in most cases, harmless and goes away on
its own, most people are unaware if that they’ve had it.
- In cases in which HPV symptoms do appear,
some of the symptoms may include:
warts, which can appear within weeks or months after sexual contact with an
infected partner. They might go away, remain unchanged, or increase in
warts, which can sometimes block the airway, causing trouble breathing
and/or hoarse voice.
- High-risk types of HPV can cause cervical
cancer. Other less common types of cancer caused by HPV can include cancers of
the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, and head and neck (tongue, tonsils and throat).
The types of HPV that can
cause genital warts are not the same as the types that can cause cancer. But
there’s no way to know which people who get HPV will develop cancer or other
HPV-related health problems.
currently no HPV treatment to cure HPV itself. Most HPV infections are
harmless, do not require treatment, and go away by themselves. Common
treatments for the abnormal cell changes in the cervix that are caused by HPV include
colposcopy, cryotherapy, and LEEP.
To check for
HPV, ask for your physician to test for HPV during your annual pap smear. If
your pap smear results for HPV come back as abnormal, then you may have HPV. For
men, there is no way to tell for certain if you’ve been exposed to HPV.
However, most of the time the infection goes away and has no effects.
is a viral infection of the liver. Several type sof hepatitis, the most likely
to be STD is hepatitis B. very contagious and passed through an exchange of
bodily fluids (such as blood, semen, or urine). Some types of hepatitis can
cause very serious diseases and — in extreme cases — may lead to death.
Three types of hepatitis virus can be sexually
transmitted. The type of hepatitis most likely to be sexually transmitted is
hepatitis B (HBV).
How Does It
Hepatitis B is very contagious. It can be passed
through an exchange of semen, vaginal fluids, blood, and urine by:
sexual intercourse without a condom
unprotected oral sex
needles to inject drugs
personal hygiene utensils/tools such as toothbrushes and razors
pricks with contaminated needles in the course of health care (reword)
Because hepatitis B often has no symptoms, most
people are not aware that they have the infection. When hepatitis B symptoms do
occur, they usually appear between six weeks and six months after infection.
Early hepatitis B symptoms may include:
and pain in the lower abdomen
- loss of
- pain in
Later hepatitis B symptoms may include:
severe abdominal pain
- dark urine
- jaundice —
yellowing of the skin and eyes
is no cure for hepatitis B, but in most cases, it goes away by itself within 4
to 8 weeks. However, about 1 out of 20 people who get HBV as adults will be
"carriers" and have chronic (long-term) infection with HBV. Most HBV
carriers remain contagious for the rest of their lives.
carriers are more likely to pass the infection to other people. Chronic HBV
infections can lead to severe liver disease — including liver damage
(cirrhosis) and liver cancer. About 1 out of 5 people with chronic HBV
infection die from the infection.
Herpes is a very
common viral infection which can infect the oral, genital, or both areas with
blisters, depending on which of the two closely related viruses you contract.
Oral herpes is typically caused by HSV-1, while genital herpes is typically
caused by HSV-2. Regardless, herpes remains in the body indefinitely and can
occasionally produce symptomatic outbreaks . However, most people have no or
How does it spread?:
is spread by touching, kissing, and sexual contact, including vaginal, anal,
and oral sex. It can be passed from one partner to another and from one part of
the body to another. Brief skin-to-skin contact is all that's needed to pass
the virus. Because herpes may have no symptoms for years, sometimes it is very
difficult to know who passed it to whom.
is most contagious when sores are open, moist, or leaking fluid — until the
scabs heal and fall off. But herpes can also be spread when no symptoms are
present — most people get genital herpes from people with no symptoms.
lining of the mouth, vagina, penis, anus, and eyes can become infected with
herpes easily. Skin can be infected if it is cut, chafed, or burned, or has a
rash or other sores.
Most people experience no or minimal symptoms, but you can experience oral,
genital, or both kinds of symptoms. Initial symptoms are usually worse than
Oral herpes symptoms include "cold sores" or "fever blisters" which show up on the lips or around the mouth. Symptoms may last a few weeks and go away. They may return in weeks, months, or years.
Genital herpes symptoms include:
- blisters on the vagina, vulva, cervix, penis, buttocks, or anus.
- burning feelings if urine flows over
- inability to urinate if severe
swelling of sores blocks the urethra
- open sores
- pain in the infected area
initial herpes, symptoms may also include
- swollen, tender glands in the pelvic
area, throat, and under the arms
- general run-down feelings
- achy, flu-like feelings
- Recurrence of outbreak:
outbreak of herpes blisters may happen/flare up again after the initial
infection. Severity and timing of the outbreak varies from person to person;
while some people may not even notice their recurring symptoms, brushing them
off as a skin rash or bug bites, other people experience painful, heavy sores
several times within the course of a year. For more characteristics of a herpes
outbreak, read below.
note: herpes does not always recur. If it does, the frequency and severity may vary
depending on the person.
outbreak is most likely to recur in the first year after infection, but it may
appear years after the initial symptoms
- typically, it appears weeks or months after the initial herpes
- Potential causes:
- Oral herpes recurrences may be caused by
sunburn, injury to the lips, or other infections.
it’s unclear exactly what contributes to their recurrence, genital herpes outbreaks
may be prompted/caused by other infections, stress, surgery, menstruation,
sexual intercourse, and skin irritations.
may be more frequent for people with weakened immune systems.
- Warning signs:
- May start a few hours or a day before the
sores flare up.
- Tingling, burning, or itching where sores were
- What happens:
- When an outbreak occurs, the blisters burst open, leaving sores that may take
anywhere from 2-4 weeks to heal.
- Symptoms are usually not as severe as those
from the initial outbreak.
- Although it varies depending on the person, the frequency and severity of
outbreaks tends to decrease over time.
is no cure for herpes, but antiviral medications can help reduce and prevent the
occurrence of outbreaks.
causes AIDS. HIV, which stands for human immunodeficiency virus, breaks down
the immune system – our body’s protection against disease. HIV causes people to
become sick with infections that normally wouldn’t affect them. In its most
advanced stages, HIV causes AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome. AIDS
means that the immune system has completely broken down.
How does it spread?
is transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. The most common
ways HIV is spread are by:
- having vaginal or anal intercourse
without a condom with someone who has HIV/AIDS
- sharing needles or syringes with
someone who has HIV/AIDS
- being deeply punctured with a needle
or surgical instrument contaminated with HIV
- getting HIV-infected blood, semen,
or vaginal secretions into open wounds or sores
note: HIV is not transmitted by simple casual contact such as kissing, sharing
drinking glasses, or hugging.
some people develop HIV symptoms shortly after being infected, it usually takes more than 10 years. Oftentimes,
these symptoms recede after a few weeks, and then the HIV remains dormant and
symptomless within the body for years.
HIV symptoms during the early stages may include:
- swollen glands in the throat, armpit, or
- slight fever
- muscle aches
symptoms appear in the most advanced stage of HIV disease. In addition to a
badly damaged immune system, a person with AIDS may also have
- thrush — a thick, whitish coating of
the tongue or mouth that is caused by a yeast infection and sometimes
accompanied by a sore throat
- severe or recurring vaginal yeast infections
- chronic pelvic inflammatory disease
- severe and frequent infections
- periods of extreme and unexplained
tiredness that may be combined with headaches, lightheadedness, and/or
- quick loss of more than 10 pounds of
weight that is not due to increased physical exercise or dieting
- bruising more easily than normal
- long periods of frequent diarrhea
- frequent fevers and/or night sweats
- swelling or hardening of glands
located in the throat, armpit, or groin
- periods of persistent, deep, dry
- increasing shortness of breath
- the appearance of discolored or
purplish growths on the skin or inside the mouth
- unexplained bleeding from growths on
the skin, from the mouth, nose, anus, or vagina, or from any opening in
- frequent or unusual skin rashes
- severe numbness or pain in the hands
or feet, the loss of muscle control and reflex, paralysis, or loss of
- confusion, personality change, or
decreased mental abilities
is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS. However, people living with HIV/AIDs can
take treatments composed of drug combinations called “cocktails” which strength
the immune system to prevent AIDs development, or reduce AIDS symptoms.
However, these drugs can be very expensive, incur serious side effects, and
only last for a certain period of time. However, there is hope that new
research can shed light on improved treatments, preventions, and eventually, a
(gon-o-RHEE-a) is a bacterial infection which can be passed during vaginal,
anal, and oral sex. It’s a common STD which oftentimes does not have any
symptoms. However, if left untreated, gonorrhea can pose serious health risks
gonorrhea has no symptoms. If
you do get gonorrhea symptoms, they may begin in as little as 1–14 days after
you got the infection. When
women have symptoms, they may experience:
- abdominal pain
- bleeding between menstrual periods
- menstrual irregularities
- painful intercourse
- painful urination
- swelling or tenderness of the vulva
- the urge to urinate more than usual
- throwing up
- yellowish or yellow-green vaginal
men have symptoms, they may experience:
- pus-like discharge from the penis
- pain or burning feeling while
- more frequent urination than usual
- painful, swollen testicles
both men and women:
soreness of the throat
is easily treated with antibiotics prescribed by your healthcare physician.
Syphilis is bacterial infection caused by contact with syphilis sores
through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It can infect the vagina, anus, urethra, or penis, as well as the lips and mouth. Though it
often has no or mild symptoms, syphilis poses a serious health risk if left
untreated. Potential health damages/complications from untreated syphilis
include internal organ and nerve damage, as well as an increased suspectibility
How does it
Syphilis is spread by contact with syphilis
sores, usually through vaginal, anal, or oral sex, though it can spread through
kissing. Sores occur mainly
on the external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum, but they can also occur
on the lips and in the mouth.
syphilis has no or mild symptoms. Even though syphilis is spread through
contact with syphilis sores, sometimes these sores are unrecognized/people are
unaware of their infection, so they’re unaware that they’re transmitting their
infection to other people.
Please note: There are several stages of
syphilis. Symptoms’ severity, appearance, and timing may vary depending on the
person. In addition, the stages may be separated by latent stages, or times during
which no symptoms are present.
by the appearance of one or multiple painless sores, known as chancres, which
can appear on the genitals, vagina, cervix, lips, mouth, breast, or anus. You
may also experience swollen glands.
- Chancres usually appear about three weeks
after infection, but may take up to 90 days. Without treatment, they last 3–6
- Marked by the development of skin rash
and mucuous membrane lesions. They usually appear on the palms of hands and
soles of the feet, and last anywhere from 2-6 weeks.
- Other symptoms may include: fever,
fatigue, sore throat, hair loss, weight loss, swollen lymph glands, headache,
and muscle pains.
- Without treatment, the infection will
progress to the latent and possibly late stages of disease.
when syphilis is left untreated in primary and secondary stages
when the primary and secondary symptoms disappear
- Syphilis can
remain latent in the body for years
- Late stage
symptoms can appear 10-20 years after infection was first acquired
- During the
late stage, untreated syphilis may cause serious damage to the nervous
system, heart, eyes, blood vessels, liver, bones, joints, brain, internal
organs, and even death.
of the late stage may include difficulty
coordinating muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness, and
early stages of syphilis are easily treatable with antibiotics prescribed by
your healthcare physician. Your partner may also require treatment at the same
time. If you get treated for syphilis, you have to abstain from sexual contact
with new partners until your syphilis sores are completely healed. Please note:
any damage done by untreated syphilis, particularly due to the development of
symptoms from later stages, is irreparable/irreversible. If you suspect that
you or a partner may be exhibiting early symptoms of syphilis, contact Rice
Health Services (link) as soon as possible to begin treatment and prevent
Molluscum contagiosum is
a viral infection that can be transmitted by nonsexual, close contact or
vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It can cause itchy growths of skin bumps which may
appear on the abdomen, genitals, or thighs.
How does it
Though most often spread through sexual contact,
molluscum contagiosum can also be spread through close contact with someone
who’s infected, including sharing clothes or towels. If left untreated, there’s
a risk that you could spread the virus to other parts of your body or other
you have molluscum contagiosum, you may have small, waxy, round growths in the
genital area or on the thighs. There is often a tiny indentation in the middle
of the growth. Symptoms usually appear between two to three months after
there are no other symptoms. But sometimes the bumps may itch or feel tender to
the touch. People
who have weakened immune systems — from HIV, cancer, or another illness —
usually have worse symptoms. If you have molluscum contagiosum already, you
can spread the growths by itching, scratching, or rubbing them.
Molluscum contagiosum can be treated in several different ways by your health care provider, including prescription medicine, freezing the growths off,
or removing them with an electrical current. During treatment, make sure you
manage your symptoms by keeping the treated area clean, not scratching it, and
washing your hands.
“Sexually Transmitted Infections.” SexualHealth.org. http://www.sexualhealth.com/channel/view/sexually-transmitted-infections/
“Health Info and Services.” Planned Parenthood.org. http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/stds-hiv-safer-sex-101.htm
“STDs.” KidsHealth.org. http://kidshealth.org/teen/sexual_health/stds/std.html?tracking=T_RelatedArticle
“Birth Control.” KidsHealth.org. http://kidshealth.org/teen/sexual_health/contraception/contraception_condom.html
“Birth Control.” NIH.
Sexually Transmited Diseases. CDC
“Birth Control FAQ.” Womenshealth.gov. http://womenshealth.gov/faq/birth-control-methods.cfm#hormet