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Symptoms and Signs of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) Symptoms, List, Types, and Testing

Doctor's Notes on Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) Symptoms, List, Types, and Testing

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are diseases (infections) that involve the transmission of an infectious organism between sex partners during any sexual activity. Signs and symptoms depend on what type of infectious organism infects the person (bacteria, viruses, protozoan, fungus or parasite). There are too many specific infectious organisms to list here with their possible signs and symptoms but the common signs and symptoms for each type of STD will be mentioned; the reader is advised to get details by searching the name of the infecting pathogen.

Bacterial – urethral or vaginal discharge, pain with urination, ulcers on genitals (some painful, some not painful), abscesses and/or fistulas in the groin and others like rash, fever, headache and joint pains.

Viral – recurring blister sores on the genitals, warts on the genitals, jaundice and flu-like symptoms, liver failure, and HIV symptoms like fatigue, night sweats, swollen lymph nodes, rashes, weight loss, cough, headaches, diarrhea.

Protozoan – frothy vaginal discharge with a strong odor.

Fungi - (please note, not always a STD as many are acquired without sexual contact), reddish itchy groin skin, cheese-like vaginal discharge and burning and itching of the penis or vagina.

Parasites – (please note, not always caused by sexual contact), visible tiny bugs in the pubic hair, intense itching especially at night.

Causes of STDs are the transmission of infectious pathogens by any type of sexual contact to an uninfected sexual partner.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.