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How to Recognize the Symptoms of an STD

Learn how to recognize sexually transmitted disease symptoms from sexpert Jane Bogart in this Howcast video.


One of the key things to know is that many sexually transmitted infections have no symptoms. When there are symptoms present they often fall into several categories. Some of the symptoms might be discharge or discomfort upon urination. Some of the symptoms might be visible on your skin so you might notice a sore or a bump, or a callous or a wart. There are many different things to look at and so if you're trying to think about, alright, do have I have a sexually transmitted infection, what do I look for? You might want to go through a checklist. Do I have any pain upon urination? Do I see any discharge? Do I notice anything on my genitals that wasn't there before? Am I having tingling sensations that weren't there before? Of course you want to know what was there before so it is kind of helpful to do a visual scan of your body, particularly your genitals, to say "okay, here's what I looked like where I think I'm not infected with anything" and then you would notice, oh, as I go along, "I notice this new bump that was never here before, I want to get that checked out." So the things that you're looking for are: Anything visual, so you're looking for a sore or a bump, or a discomfort, or a lump that wasn't there before, something that looks like a wart. And you're looking for those on the vulva, the outside of the genitals. You're looking for it on the shaft of the penis, looking around the anus, you're looking on the outside of your mouth. The next thing that you might look for is: Am I having any burning upon urination? Am I having any discharge? Is that normal discharge? And just to know that most people have some normal discharge, particularly women, have vaginal discharge and that's normal. But, you're looking for a change in color, or texture, or an odor. So those would be the kinds of things you're looking for, but also remember that many sexually transmitted infections do not have symptoms. So, not having a symptom does not necessarily mean that you don't have an infection. If you suspect at all that you've been exposed to an infection or you feel like you've been having unprotected sex and you want to get checked, you have to ask your provider to do sexually transmitted infection testing for you.

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