For the sake of clarity, we choose to use medical terminology for genitals but please understand that penis does not equal man and vagina does not equal women. Some men have vaginas, some women have penises, and some non-binary people have penises or vaginas.
- Who's At Risk? People with vaginas (including neo-vaginas)
- Symptoms - many people are asymptomatic, but symptoms may include thin white or gray discharge from your vagina, odor, pain, itching or burning in the vagina.
- Some people experience a strong fish-like odor, especially post sex.
- People may experience burning when urinating, itching outside the vagina.
- Testing - a health care provider will look at your vagina for signs of BV and perform laboratory tests on a sample of vagina fluid.
- Transmission - May be sexually transmitted but is often a result of overgrowth of normal vagina bacteria Treatment - it may go away without treatment, but if you have symptoms of BV, you should be checked and treated with medication prescribed to you.
- If you don't get treated, you increase your chances of contracting HIV and/or STI/STD if you are exposed.
- When symptoms may show up: 12 hours - 5 days after bacteria overgrowth.
- When to test: when you have symptoms.
- Who's at Risk? Everyone!
- Symptoms - Many people are asymptomatic.
- People with vaginas may notice abnormal vagina discharge, a burning sensation when urinating.
- People with a penis may have discharge, a burning sensation when urinating, pain and swelling in one or both testicles.
- For rectal infections, if someone has symptoms, they may experience rectal pain, discharge and/or bleeding.
- Testing - HCP may ask for a urine sample or take a swab of vagina tissue.
- Vaginal swabs are generally preferred for people with vaginas since that is where the bacteria are found.
- Transmission - sexual contact or fluid transmission with genitals, mouth, or anus of an infected partner
- Treatment - Chlamydia can be cured with the right treatment. Retest After 3 months as repeat infections are common.
- Without treatment, chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (see below) in people with uteruses and connected parts.
- People with penises rarely have health problems with untreated chlamydia, though it can infect the tube that carries the sperm from the testicles, which cause pain and fever.
- When symptoms may show up: 1 to 3 weeks after infection When to Test: 2 weeks after possible exposure
- Who's At Risk?
- Everyone! Symptoms - If they have symptoms, people with a penis may experience a burning sensation when urinating, a white, yellow, or green discharge from the urethra, painful or swollen testicles.
- Most people with vaginas do not have symptoms, but if they do, it may include painful or burning sensation when urinating, increased vagina discharge, bleeding between menstruation cycles (if this occurs at all), and pain during sex.
- Rectal Infections may cause some or no symptoms in people, but may include discharge, anal itching, soreness, and bleeding, painful bowel movements.
- Testing - urine is most often used to test for gonorrhea, but swabs may also be collected from the mouth or rectum if you suspect you were exposed during oral or anal sex.
- At FSU Health Services, our providers do a single vaginal swab to test for chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis.
- Transmission - sexual contact or fluid transmission with genitals, rectum or mouth of an infected person
- Treatment - may be cured with proper treatment. It is becoming harder to treat, as drug resistant strains are increasing, so if your symptoms continue for a few days after beginning treatment, return to your HCP. Untreated gonorrhea can lead to PID in people with uteruses.
- In rare cases, gonorrhea can be fatal. When symptoms may show up: 2 to 30 days
- When to Test: 7 days after possible exposure
- Who's At Risk? Everyone, but specifically those who share needles.
- Symptoms - Newly infected immunosuppressed adults may be asymptomatic.
- However, symptoms for others may include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain, and jaundice.
- Testing - Blood sample. Transmission - Injection drug use, blood transmission, needle stick injuries.
- Rarely, Hep B can be transmitted via sexual intercourse and fluid transmission.
- Treatment - For acute infection, treatment is provided for symptoms.
- For chronic infection, antiviral drugs are available.
- Vaccination is available for those who are not HepB positive.
- When symptoms may show up: 45 to 160 days
- When to Test: 4 weeks after possible exposure
- Who's At Risk? Everyone, but specifically those who share needles.
- Symptoms - People with newly acquired HCV infection usually are asymptomatic.
- However, symptoms may fever, fatigue, dark urine, clay-colored stool, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, joint, jaundice.
- Testing - Blood sample
- Transmission - Injection drug use, blood transmission, needle stick injuries.
- Rarely, HCV can be transmitted via sexual intercourse.
- Treatment - Acute and Chronic treatment are similar, both using antiviral drugs to treat the infection.
- When symptoms may show up: 2 to 26 weeks
- When to Test: Acute Infections: 2 weeks, Chronic Infections: 6 - 10 weeks after possible exposure
- Who's At Risk? Everyone Symptoms - May include blister like sores on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth.
- Blisters break and leave painful sores that may take weeks to heal.
- The first outbreak may also include flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches, or swollen aches.
- Testing - Diagnosed through physical examination.
- Transmission - Through skin to skin contact, open sores and fluids from the blisters.
- Treatment - Herpes cannot be cured, but outbreaks can be managed.
- When symptoms may show up: 1 to 8 months
- When to Test: When symptoms appear
HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
- Who's At Risk? People with vaginas and people with neo-vaginas
- There are many different strains of HPV, and not all are harmful.
- Some may cause cancers or genital warts though, so you should be wary.
- Symptoms - a bump or group of bumps in the genital area (warts).
- They can be small or large, flat or raised, or bumpy like cauliflower.
- Testing - No approved tests, but screenings for cervical cancer for person with a cervix over the age of 30.
- Pap Smears will aid in catching cervical cancer strain early if the test finds abnormal cells.
- Transmission - Sexual contact with genitals or rectum of an infected person
- Treatment - It is recommended to get vaccinated no matter your sex or gender between ages of 11-26 years old.
- Genital warts may be treated by you or your physician in a variety of methods.
- Cervical Precancer can be treated as well (detected by cervical cancer screenings which may detect abnormalities before they develop into cancer.)
- Other HPV-related cancers may be treatable if diagnosed early.
- More information can be found at www.cancer.org by searching "HPV." When symptoms may show up: 1 to 8 months
- When to Test: If you are receiving an annual pap smear, you will be tested then, but you may be tested earlier if you suspect you have been infected.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) Who's At Risk? People with uteruses. PID is often the result of untreated STI/STDs, douching or use of an IUD, but only those with uteruses can experience the symptoms and negative repercussions.
- Symptoms - Pain in your lower abdomen, fever, unusual discharge with bad odor from your vagina, pain and/or bleeding when you have sex, burning sensation when you urinate, bleeding between periods.
- Testing - Diagnosed through a combination of your medical history, physical exam and other test results
- Transmission - PID is often the result of untreated STI/STDs, douching, or use an IUD.
- Treatment - If diagnosed early, it can be treated, but any harm caused is lasting and irreparable.
- If untreated, PID can cause ectopic pregnancies, infertility, and long term pain. Symptoms and testing times vary depending on what is causing the PID.
Trichomoniasis(also called Trich, pronounced Trick)
- Who's At Risk? Everyone
- Symptoms - Most people do not show symptoms, when symptoms are present, they can range from a mild irritation to severe inflammation.
- Symptoms include itching and irritation inside the genitals, burning after urination, or discharge from the genitals.
- In people with vaginas, the discharge may be clear, white, yellowish or greenish and have an odor.
- Testing - swab of discharge and lab test.
- Transmission - the parasite that causes trich is usually passed from insertive sex but may be passed from during any genital contact.
- Treatment - Curable with a single dose of prescription antibiotic
- When symptoms may show up: 4 to 28 days
- When to Test: 4 to 28 days after possible exposure
- Who's At Risk? Everyone
- Symptoms - There are three stages of Syphilis
- Primary Stage - one or more sores, which are firm, round and painless.
- These primary sores last 3-6 weeks. Even if the sore goes away, you still need treatment.
- Secondary Stage - skin rashes and/or sores in the mouth, vagina, penis or anus.
- It may also occur on the palms of hands and bottoms of feet. It rarely itches.
- Other symptoms may include fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches, and fatigue.
- Symptoms will go away without treatment but the infection is still present.
- Latent Stage - This is the hidden stage between secondary and late where you have no symptoms.
- Late Stage - May occur 10-30 years after initial infection without treatment.
- Symptoms include difficulty coordinating your muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, blindness, and dementia.
- It can affect your internal organs and result in death. Testing - Blood Sample, though some may test fluid from syphilis sore.
- Transmission - Direct contact with syphilis sore during vagina, anal or oral sex.
- Rarely, it can cross the placenta and infect the baby within.
- Treatment - Curable with the right antibiotics from your health care provider.
- When symptoms may show up: 3 day to 3 months When to Test: 3 to 4 weeks after possible exposure
Most common in USA:
I think I might have been exposed, when should I get tested?
|STD/STI||Time after Exposure|
|Genital Herpes||When Symptoms Appear|
|Genital HPV Infection||Annually with Pap Exam|
|Hepatitis B||4 weeks|
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that leads to AIDS (Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome)
You can get HIV from: Blood, Semen, Vaginal Secretions and Breast Milk You cannot get HIV from: kissing, toilet seats, sweat, urine, or tears.