STI Symptoms

Most information on this website regarding sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is from the Center for Disease Control — the leading experts on STIs. To see the effects of STIs on the body, or for more information check out the CDC website at

General Symptoms

  • Discharge from the penis or vagina
  • Rashes and sores on skin
  • Painful urination
  • Blisters, sores, and itching on or around the genitals
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Fever and headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Strong odor
  • Permanent damage from STIs include: chronic pelvic pain, infertility, cervical cancer or major organ damage.

If you have experienced any of these symptoms, it is very important to get tested for a STI.

Specific Symptoms


  • Most infected people have no symptoms. Some infected men and women have a burning sensation when urinating.
  • Chlamydia can impact a woman’s ability to have children if left untreated.
  • Tests to diagnose Chlamydia: Urine sample for men and cervical swab for women.
  • Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics.


  • Most infected people have no symptoms. Some infected men and women have a burning sensation when urinating.
  • Gonorrhea can impact a woman’s ability to have children if left untreated.
  • Gonorrhea can be diagnosed by a urine sample for men and cervical swab for women.
  • Gonorrhea is treated with injected antibiotics. (Drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea are increasing, and successful treatment of gonorrhea is becoming more difficult.)


  • Syphilis is transmitted from person to person by direct contact with syphilis sores. Sores occur mainly on the external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum.
  • Signs and symptoms of syphilis in the primary stage include a firm, round, and painless sore on the genitals, anus, or mouth; the secondary stage is marked by a rash on the body; the late and latent stages can include difficulty coordinating muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness, and dementia.
  • A blood test is the most common way to determine if someone has syphilis.
  • Syphilis is treated with antibiotics.


  • Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite. The parasite is passed from an infected person to an uninfected person during sex.
  • About 70% of infected people do not have any signs or symptoms. Men may feel itching or irritation inside the penis; women may notice itching, burning or soreness of the genitals.
  • Without treatment, trichomoniasis can increase a person’s risk of acquiring HIV.
  • Trichomoniasis is diagnosed with a doctor’s exam and laboratory test.
  • Trichomoniasis is treated with antibiotics.

Bacterial Vaginosis

  • Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a condition that happens when there is too much of certain bacteria in the vagina. This changes the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina.
  • Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection in women ages 15-44.
  • Researchers do not know the cause of BV or how some women get it. We do know that the infection typically occurs in sexually active women.
  • You cannot get BV from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools.
  • Pregnant women with BV are more likely to have babies born prematurely (early) or with low birth weight (having a baby that weighs less than 5.5 pounds at birth) than pregnant women without BV. Therefore, treatment is especially important for pregnant women.


  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection. There are more than 40 types of HPV that can infect the genital area. These types can also infect the mouth and throat.
  • HPV is passed through genital contact, most often during vaginal and anal sex. HPV may also be passed on during oral sex and genital-to-genital contact.
  • Potential health problems include genital warts and cervical cancer. Genital warts usually appear as a small bump or group of bumps in the genital area. Cervical cancer usually does not cause symptoms until it is quite advanced.
  • There is no general HPV test for men or women. A PAP smear test is available to help screen women for cervical cancer.
  • There is no treatment for the virus itself, but there are treatments for the health problems that HPV can cause.


  • HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that leads to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
  • Initially, patients suffer from generic flu-like symptoms.
  • HIV is diagnosed with a blood test.
  • Treatment? There is no cure at this time; however, scientists continue to work on finding a cure. With the proper treatment and medication, HIV can be controlled.