STD Symptoms Guide for Men and Women

Diagnosing an STD can be a challenge. To help you navigate a complex list of possibilities, we have provided highlights of some of the most common symptoms for the most prevalent STDs.

STD Symptoms for Men and Women

Please be mindful, as many as 80% of individuals infected with an STD may exhibit little to no symptoms. Symptoms may also take several months to develop from the time the infection occurs. The only way to know for sure is to test before each new partner and to practice safe sex in between.


Symptoms of Trichomoniasis (Trichomonas) infection can include:

  • vaginal discharge
  • foul smelling vaginal odor
  • itching or redness in the vaginal area
  • discomfort and burning after urination
  • itching inside the penis
  • discharge from the penis
  • discomfort during intercourse and burning after ejaculation

About Trichomoniasis (Trichomonas)

Trichomoniasis is considered the most common curable STD. In the United States, an estimated 3.7 million people have the infection, but only about 30% develop any symptoms of trichomoniasis. Infection is more common in women than in men, and older women are more likely than younger women to experience an infection.


Some of the most common Chlamydia symptoms include: 

  • discharge from the penis or vagina
  • burning feeling during urination
  • more frequent urination
  • in women, abdominal and/or pelvic pain, pain during sexual intercourse
  • in men, testicular pain, tenderness and swelling
  • rectal pain, discharge and/or bleeding
  • pain in the lower abdomen
  • painful sexual intercourse in women
  • pain in the testicles in men

About Chlamydia: 

Most people who have chlamydia don’t know it since the disease often has no symptoms.

  • Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD in the United States.
  • Sexually active females 25 years old and younger need testing every year.
  • Although it is easy to cure, chlamydia can make it difficult or impossible for a woman to get pregnant if left untreated.

For more information about Chlamydia, visit the CDC website.


Some of the most common Gonorrhea symptoms include: 

  • discharge from the penis or vagina
  • burning feeling during urination
  • more frequent urination
  • in women, abdominal and/or pelvic pain, pain during sexual intercourse
  • in men, testicular pain, tenderness and swelling
  • anal itching and rectal pain, discharge and/or bleeding
  • sore throat and difficulty swallowing

About Gonorrhea: 

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can infect both men and women. It can cause infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat. It is a very common infection, especially among young people ages 15-24 years. Nine out of 10 oral infections show no symptoms at all. Untreated gonorrhea can lead to serious complications such as fatal pregnancy outside the womb, infertility and long-term pelvic/abdominal pain. In men, gonorrhea can cause a painful condition in the tubes attached to the testicles.

For more information about Gonorrhea, visit the CDC website.


Hepatitis C symptoms:

If you do develop symptoms relating to Hepatitis C, they’re generally mild and flu-like and may include:

  • Feeling very tired
  • Sore muscles
  • Joint pain
  • Fever
  • Nausea or poor appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Itchy skin
  • Dark urine

About Hepatitis C:

Hepatitis C is a liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Today, most people become infected with the Hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. Before 1992, when widespread screening of the blood supply began in the United States, Hepatitis C was also commonly spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants.

Hepatitis C can be either “acute” or “chronic.” Acute Hepatitis C virus infection is a short-term illness that occurs within the first 6 months after someone is exposed to the Hepatitis C virus. For most people, acute infection leads to chronic infection. Chronic Hepatitis C is a serious disease than can result in long-term health problems, or even death.

There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. The best way to prevent Hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, especially injection drug use.

For more information about Gonorrhea, visit the CDC website.


HIV symptoms:

A number of symptoms associated with the flu may be the first to arise as early signs of HIV. These include:

  • headache
  • fever
  • tiredness
  • swollen lymph nodes (generally in the neck)
  • rash

Other possible symptoms are muscle and joint pain, sore throat, and ulcers in the mouth or on the genitals. Some people also experience night sweats and diarrhea.

About HIV:

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. Unlike some other viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV. That means that once you have HIV, you have it for life.

No safe and effective cure currently exists, but scientists are working hard to find one, and remain hopeful. Meanwhile, with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. Treatment for HIV is often called antiretroviral therapy or ART. It can dramatically prolong the lives of many people infected with HIV and lower their chance of infecting others. Before the introduction of ART in the mid-1990s, people with HIV could progress to AIDS in just a few years. Today, someone diagnosed with HIV and treated before the disease is far advanced can have a nearly normal life expectancy.

For more information about HIV visit the CDC website.

Reviewed by Luis Ferdinand M. Papa, MD, MHA


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