Do You Have an STD? 4 Warning Signs to Look Out For
This will probably come as a surprise, but most people who contract an STD don’t know they have one. (This is one major reason why the US has faced a veritable STD crisis over the past few years.) Indeed, STDs can remain dormant for weeks or months at a time, and even when symptoms do manifest, it’s easy to confuse them with other maladies. Unfortunately, just because STDs are largely asymptomatic, it doesn’t mean they’re innocuous. In fact, the opposite is true. That’s why it’s important for all sexually active individuals to educate themselves about sexual health risks and the nature of STDs. Here are four warning signs to look out for in regard to these often misunderstood diseases:
Sores, Blisters, and Chancres
The most obvious and traditional symptoms associated with STDs are blisters, sores, chancres, and bumps occurring on or around the genitals. However, even this relatively straightforward STD warning sign is fraught with potential for misidentification. Occasionally, people will incorrectly assume bumps in pubic areas are ingrown hairs or pimples. What’s more, some STD pustules will appear inside a person’s genitals –– thus making them difficult to identify.
Discharges/Pain During Urination
If you experience sharp pain while urinating or have noticed a strange fluid discharge emanating from your genitals you may have an STD. Note, it can be tough to differentiate a yeast infection from STD-related discharge.
One horrifying truth about STDs is that the early stages of HIV bear a striking resemblance to a regular bout of the flu. Also just like the flu, the initial symptoms of HIV will usually abate after a few days or a week. In fact, this is the case with most STD-related symptoms. Just because you no longer notice bumps and sores, or feel fatigued, doesn’t mean the STD has “gone away.” Rather, unless you seek out treatment, the STD will likely continue to persist within your system.
Other Red Flags
STDs are a diverse bunch of ailments, and as such, there is no uniform set of signs and symptoms. Sometimes outward manifestations of STDs are mild, and other times they can prove quite aggressive –– even to a life-threatening level. At the end of the day, if you’ve had sex recently, you’re at risk for contracting a venereal disease. Even condom usage doesn’t complete eliminate the possibility of STD transmission. This means that all sexually active individuals need to get tested for STDs regularly. Otherwise, they run the risk of accidentally spreading STDs. Fortunately, even if you do test positive for an STD, treatment for many bacterial STDs are relatively straightforward. Plus, thanks to advances in medical technology, doctors can help those affected by viral STDs manage their condition better than ever before.