Sexually Transmitted Diseases

By: Tori Kearney

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)

Signs/Symptoms: It is common to experience flu like symptoms two to four weeks after becoming infected with HIV.

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Sore throat

  • Swollen lymph glands

  • Rash

  • Fatigue
  • Signs and symptoms of late-stage HIV infection include:

    • Persistent, unexplained fatigue

    • Soaking night sweats

    • Shaking chills or fever higher than 100.4 F (38 C) for several weeks

    • Swelling of lymph nodes for more than three months

    • Chronic diarrhea

    • Persistent headaches

    • Unusual, opportunistic infections

Herpes - #3 in college students according to CDC- Cureless

When present, genital herpes signs and symptoms may include:

  • Small red bumps, blisters (vesicles) or open sores (ulcers) in the genital, anal and nearby areas

  • Pain or itching around the genital area, buttocks and inner thighs

Chlamydia - #2 in college students according to CDC-Treatable

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Painful urination

  • Lower abdominal pain

  • Vaginal discharge in women

  • Discharge from the penis in men

  • Pain during sexual intercourse in women

  • Bleeding between periods in women

  • Testicular pain in men

Future complications: result in sterility, infertility, genital neoplasia, pre-term delivery, and foetal/neonatal pathologies


Signs and symptoms of gonorrhea may include:

  • Thick, cloudy or bloody discharge from the penis or vagina

  • Pain or burning sensation when urinating

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods

  • Painful, swollen testicles

  • Painful bowel movements

  • Anal itching

Future complications: result in sterility, infertility, genital neoplasia, pre-term delivery, and foetal/neonatal pathologies


Signs and symptoms of secondary syphilis may begin three to six weeks after the chancre appears, and may include:

  • Rash marked by red or reddish-brown, penny-sized sores over any area of your body, including your palms and soles

  • Fever

  • Enlarged lymph nodes

  • Fatigue and a vague feeling of discomfort

  • Soreness and aching


Signs and symptoms of gonorrhea may include:

  • Clear, white, greenish or yellowish vaginal discharge

  • Discharge from the penis

  • Strong vaginal odor

  • Vaginal itching or irritation

  • Itching or irritation inside the penis

  • Pain during sexual intercourse

  • Painful urination

Pubic Lice (Crabs)- Treatable

Signs and symptoms of pubic lice include:

  • itching in the genital area

  • visible nits (lice eggs) or crawling lice

Hepatitis B- Cureless

Some people never develop signs or symptoms. But for those who do, signs and symptoms may occur after several weeks and may include:

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially in the area of your liver on your right side beneath your lower ribs

  • Loss of appetite

  • Fever

  • Dark urine

  • Muscle or joint pain

  • Itching

  • Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)

HPV (Human Papilloma virus) - #1 in college students according to CDC-Cureless

The signs and symptoms of genital warts include:

  • Small, flesh-colored or gray swellings in your genital area

  • Several warts close together that take on a cauliflower shape

  • Itching or discomfort in your genital area

  • Bleeding with intercourse

Future complications: result in sterility, infertility, genital neoplasia, pre-term delivery, and foetal/neonatal pathologies

Mycoplasma genitalium - an emerging issue according to CDC-Treatable

Symptoms of Mycoplasma Genitalium:

  • urethral discharge.

  • burning on urination.

  • pain and swelling of the joints (arthritis)

  • many cases have no symptoms.

  • Mycoplasma is the most common cause of non-chlamydial non-gonococcal urethritis in men

Prevention from STDs and HIV:

The only way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting STDs and HIV:

  • Choose less risky sexual behaviors

  • Use condoms consistently and correctly;

  • Reduce the number of people with whom you have sex;

  • Limit or eliminate drug and alcohol use before and during sex;

  • Have an honest and open talk with your healthcare provider and ask whether you should be tested for STDs and HIV;

  • Talk to your healthcare provider and find out if pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a good option for you to prevent HIV infection.