Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Curable and Incurable

 If left untreated for an extended period of time, STIs and STDs can increase your risk of infertility, cervical cancer, and

other long-term complications.

Sexually transmitted infections and diseases (STIs and STDs) are transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sexual contact.

Vulvar and vaginal STD symptoms can include:

Many STIs display no symptoms at all.

Every year worldwide, there are approximately 376 millionTrusted Source new transmissions of syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis.

Because many people don’t show symptoms with some STIs, they may not know they need treatment. It’s estimated that as many as 1 in 6 Americans has genital herpes, but most are unawareTrusted Source that they have it.

You’ll notice that the language used to share stats and other data points is pretty binary, fluctuating between the use of “male” and “female” or “men” and “women.”

Although we typically avoid language like this, specificity is key when reporting on research participants and clinical findings.

Unfortunately, the studies and surveys referenced in this article didn’t report data on, or include, participants who were transgender, nonbinarygender nonconforminggenderqueeragender, or genderless.

    Some of the most common STIs include:

    HPV is the most common STI in women. It’s also the main cause of cervical cancer.

    A vaccine is available that can help prevent certain strains of HPV up to age 45 yearsTrusted Source. For more information, read about the pros and cons of the HPV vaccine.

    Gonorrhea and chlamydia are common bacterial STIs. In fact, chlamydia is the most commonly reported STI in the Unites States.

    Some gynecologists will automatically check for both during normal checkups, but you should ask for medical screening if you think you may be at risk.

    Genital herpes is also common, with about 1 out of 6Trusted Source people between the ages 14 and 49 years having it.

    People should be aware of possible STI symptoms so that they can seek medical advice if necessary. Some of the most common symptoms are described below.

    Changes in urination. An STI can be indicated by pain or a burning sensation during urination, the need to pee more frequently, or the presence of blood in the urine.

    Abnormal vaginal discharge. The look and consistency of vaginal discharge changes continually through a woman’s cycle or even in the absence of a cycle. Thick, white discharge can be a sign of a yeast infection. When discharge is yellow or green, it might indicate gonorrhea or trichomoniasis.

    Itching in the vaginal area. Itching is a nonspecific symptom that may or may not be related to an STI. Sex-related causes for vaginal itching may include:

    Pain during sex. This symptom is often overlooked, but abdominal or pelvic pain can be a sign of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is most commonly caused by the advanced stage of chlamydia or gonorrhea.

    Abnormal bleeding. Abnormal bleeding is another possible sign of PID or other reproductive problems cause by an STI.

    Rashes or sores. Sores or tiny pimples around the mouth or vagina can indicate herpes, HPV, or syphilis.

    Everyone should take certain preventive measures to avoid acquiring or transmitting STIs.

    Get tested regularly

    Typically, those with a vagina should get a Pap smear every 3 to 5 years. It’s also important to ask if you should be tested for any other STIs and whether the HPV vaccination is suggested.

    According to the Office on Women’s HealthTrusted Source, you should talk to your doctor about STI testing if you’re sexually active.

    Use protection

    Whether it’s for vaginal, anal, or oral sex, a condom or other barrier method can help protect both you and your partner. Female condoms and dental dams can provide a certain level of protection.

    Spermicides, the birth control pill, and other forms of contraception may protect against pregnancy, but they don’t protect against STIs.


    Honest communication with both your doctor and your partner(s) about sexual history is essential.

    A person can get STIs while pregnant. Because many conditions don’t show symptoms, some people don’t realize they’re living with one. For this reason, doctors may run a full STI panel at the beginning of a pregnancy.

    These conditions can be life threatening to you and your baby. You can pass STIs on to your baby during pregnancy or birth, so early treatment is essential.

    All bacterial STIs can be treated safely with antibiotics during pregnancy. Viral conditions can be treated with antivirals to prevent the likelihood of passing the condition to your child.

    Some people will develop STIs as a direct result of a sexual assault. When people see a healthcare provider immediately following an assault, the healthcare provider tries to capture DNA and evaluate for injuries.

    During this process, they check for potential STI diagnosis. If some time has passed since a sexual assault, you should still seek medical care. Your doctor or another healthcare provider can discuss possibly reporting the event, along with health-related concerns.

    Depending on the person and their individual risk factors and medical history, the healthcare provider may prescribe preventive treatment, including:

    Following up with a healthcare provider at the recommended time is important to ensure that the medications were effective and that no conditions need to be treated.

    Here are a few things you should do after being diagnosed with an STI:

    • Start any treatment your doctor prescribes for you immediately.
    • Contact your partner(s) and let them know that they need to get tested and treated, too.
    • Abstain from sex until the condition is either cured or until your doctor gives approval. In the case of bacterial conditions, you should wait until the medications have cured you and your partner.
    • For viral conditions, wait long enough for your partner to be on antiviral medications, if necessary, to reduce the risk of transmitting the condition to them. Your doctor will be able to give you the correct time frame.

    Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Curable and Incurable

    Most STDs can be cured with medication. Incurable STDs, like hepatitis B and herpes, can still be effectively managed with treatment.

    Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are contracted from person to person through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. STDs are extremely common. In fact, 20 million new cases are reported in the United States each year, with 50 percent of these cases generally affecting people between the ages of 15 and 24.

    The good news is that most STDs are curable and even those without a cure can be effectively managed or minimized with treatment.

    There are many different STDs, such as:

    If you haven’t heard of some of the above, it’s because many of these STDs are uncommon. The eight most common STDs are:

    Out of these eight infections, only four are incurable.

    Most STDs are curable through the use of antibiotics or antiviral medications. However, there are still four incurable STDs:

    • hepatitis B
    • herpes
    • HIV
    • HPV

    Even though these infections can’t be cured, they can be managed with treatment and medication.

    Hepatitis B

    Hepatitis B is one of the leading causes of liver cancer. Babies usually receive a vaccine against this infection at birth, but many adults born before 1991 may not have received the vaccine.

    Most cases of hepatitis B don’t cause symptoms and most adults can fight the infection on their own. If you have hepatitis B, your best option is to speak to your doctor about checking your liver and your medication options to lessen symptoms. Immune system modulators and antiviral medications can help slow the virus’s damage to your liver.


    Herpes is one of two chronic viral STDs. Herpes is very common — over 500 million peopleTrusted Source are estimated to have herpes worldwide.

    Herpes is spread through skin-to-skin contact. Many people with herpes may not know they have it because they show no symptoms. However, when there are symptoms, they come in the form of painful sores around the genitals or anus.

    Luckily, herpes is very treatable with antiviral medications that reduce outbreaks and the risk for transmission. If you have herpes and are showing symptoms, talk with your doctor about the right antiviral medications for you.


    HIV is the other chronic viral STD. Thanks to modern medicine, many people with HIV can live long, healthy lives with practically no risk of infecting others through sex.

    The main treatment for HIV is called antiretroviral therapy. These drugs reduce the amount of HIV in the blood to undetectable levels.


    Human papillomavirus is extremely common. About 9 out of 10 sexually active peopleTrusted Source will contract HPV. About 90 percentTrusted Source of these infections go away within two years of detection. However, HPV is still incurable and, in some cases, it can lead to:

    Many children are vaccinated to protect against different forms of HPV. Pap smears for women check for HPV once every few years. Genital warts can be removed with creams, liquid nitrogen, acid, or minor surgery.

    Contracting an STD, even an incurable one, can be manageable. Many are treatable, even curable, through antibiotics or antiviral medications, and some STDs clear up on their own.

    With most STDs, you may not show any signs or symptoms. For this reason, it’s very important to get tested for STDs on a regular basis for your own safety, the safety of your partner(s), and general public health.

    The best treatment for STDs will always be prevention. If you have an STD or think you might have one, speak with your doctor to discuss your options.

    Signs and Symptoms of Common STDs in Men

    While most STDs and STIs do cause symptoms, many are easily mistaken for other conditions. In some cases, there are no symptoms at all. Possible STIs in males include chlamydia, gonorrhea, and hepatitis.

    Many people with a penis are quick to assume that if they had a sexually transmitted disease or infection (STD or STI), they would know it. However, this is not always the case.

    Understanding the risks and knowing the signs and symptoms of common STIs in men and people with a penis is crucial for anyone who’s sexually active.

    Chlamydia is a bacterial STI that’s transmitted during anal, oral, or vaginal sex with someone who acquired chlamydia. It’s one of the most common STIs in the United States.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, 2,457,118 chlamydia diagnoses were reported in the United States in 2018.

    Many people who acquire chlamydia don’t ever display symptoms. Others only begin to display symptoms several weeks after transmission.

    Common symptoms of chlamydia in those with a penis include:

    Less common symptoms can occur when chlamydia has been transmitted through the rectum. These symptoms can include:

    • rectal pain
    • discharge
    • bleeding

    Gonorrhea is a bacterial condition that can affect the anus, throat, or urethra.

    It’s transmitted during anal, oral, or vaginal sex with a person who has acquired it. Most people with gonorrhea don’t display any symptoms at all.

    For those who do, common symptoms include:

    Less common symptoms can include:

    Hepatitis A is a form of hepatitis caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). Hepatitis A usually requires no treatment and goes away on its own, but it’s highly contagious.

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO)Trusted Source, 1.4 million people acquire hepatitis A globally annually.

    It can be acquired via food, drinking water, raw shellfish, and sexual contact without a condom or other barrier method.

    Symptoms of hepatitis A include:

    • eating contaminated food
    • eating contaminated raw shellfish
    • polluted water
    • neglecting the use of condoms or other barrier method when having sexual contact with someone who has the virus
    • being in contact with contaminated fecal matter

    Treatment for hepatitis A usually focuses on reducing any symptoms as there is no official treatment.

    People can avoid contracting hepatitis A by using a condom or other barrier method for any sexual contact, including oral and anal sex.

    Hepatitis B is a form of hepatitis that is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV).

    Unlike other common STIs that can produce more obvious symptoms focused around the genitals, hepatitis B causes a dangerous inflammation of the liver.

    You can contract hepatitis B by coming into contact with the blood or bodily fluids of a person who has acquired the virus.

    Many people who have transmitted hepatitis B won’t display symptoms at all. Those who do, often mistake symptoms for a cold or flu.

    Even if a person has no symptoms, the virus can continue to damage the liver if it’s left untreated.

    This is why it’s important to see a healthcare provider on a regular basis (such as an annual wellness visit) to check for signs and get tested.

    When symptoms of hepatitis B are present, they commonly include:

    Herpes is a viral condition that’s caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Herpes may affect the mouth (oral herpes or HSV type 1) or the genitals (genital herpes or HSV type 2). Either can also cause blisters on the fingers.

    The virus is transmitted through direct contact with the mouth or genitals of a person who has acquired the virus through sexual intercourse or oral sex and kissing.

    While types of HSV prefer certain locations, either type can be found in either location.

    The symptoms of herpes can be difficult to spot. Many people won’t have any symptoms at all. Those who do will develop blisters that are often mistaken for other skin conditions like pimples or small water blisters.

    Symptoms often occur between 2 days and 2 weeks after transmission. The initial outbreak can be severe.

    Common symptoms of herpes in those with a penis are:

    • tingling, itching, or burning of the skin in the area where the blisters will appear
    • blisters on the penis or testicles, or on and around the anus, buttocks, or thighs
    • blisters on the lips, tongue, gums, and other parts of the body
    • aching muscles in the lower back, buttocks, thighs, or knees
    • swollen and sometimes tender lymph nodes in the groin
    • loss of appetite
    • fever
    • feeling unwell

    HPV is a term used to refer to a group of viruses that comprises more than 150 strains.

    While most of these strains are quite harmless, 40 are considered potentially harmful. These are classified as being either low-risk or high-risk strains.

    HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases today. Most people will eventually acquire one strain of the virus during their lifetime.

    According to the CDCTrusted Source, there are approximately 14 million new cases of HPV every year in the United States. Currently, there are at least 79 million Americans living with HPV.

    The low-risk strains may result in genital warts in some people, while in those with a penis, the high-risk strains could lead to cancers of the anusthroat, and penis.

    HPV can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact with a person who has acquired the virus and is most commonly transmitted through anal, oral, or vaginal sex.


    Most commonly, people with a penis living with HPV won’t have any symptoms at all. For those who do, symptoms can include:

    • genital warts (flat and flesh-colored or clusters of tiny bumps described as having a cauliflower appearance)
    • warts in the mouth or throat (spread through oral sex)

    Preventing HPV

    Unlike other STIs, which can only be prevented through the use of condoms, other barrier methods, or by abstinence, HPV can now be prevented with vaccines.

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two HPV vaccines: Gardasil and Cervarix.

    They’re both effective in the prevention of HPV types 16 and 18, which are high risk and responsible for causing most cervical cancers (70 percentTrusted Source), and types 6 and 11, which cause over 90 percentTrusted Source of genital warts.

    A new version of Gardasil, called Gardasil 9, protects against five more strains of the virus. The FDA approved Gardasil 9 in December 2014.

    Though originally recommended only for ages 11 to 26 years, in 2018, the FDA expanded its approvalTrusted Source of Gardasil to adults up to age 45 years.

    Syphilis is a bacterial STI that can be transmitted through anal, oral, or vaginal sex. This ancient disease is still quite prevalent today and increasing in prevalence.

    Syphilis is considered one of the more serious STIs in people with a penis because of its link to HIV and the increased risk of developing HIV after contracting syphilis.

    Common symptoms of syphilis

    Syphilis has four different phases:

    • primary
    • secondary
    • latent
    • tertiary

    Each phase has its own set of symptoms. The symptoms of primary syphilis in men and people with a penis may include:

    • a very small, firm, and painless sore where the bacteria entered the body, usually on the penis, anus, or lips that can be easily missed
    • swollen lymph nodes in the area near the sore

    Symptoms of secondary syphilis may include:

    • a skin rash that doesn’t itch, commonly found over the body that includes the palms of the hands or soles of the feet
    • tiredness
    • sore throat
    • headache
    • swollen lymph nodes

    Less common symptoms of syphilis

    Latent syphilis is the stage that occurs after the symptoms of secondary syphilis have stopped, and the STD has gone untreated.

    Tertiary syphilis is the fourth stage. It’s rare, as few people actually enter the fourth stage even when syphilis is left untreated. It can cause serious complications, including:

    • damage to the heart
    • damage to the nervous system, including the brain
    • joint damage
    • damage to other parts of the body

    Syphilis can cause serious medical issues and death if it reaches this stage, even several years after transmission.

    Many people can contract an STI without experiencing any visible symptoms. This means that practicing safer sex is crucial if you want to prevent transmission.

    The only way to completely prevent an STI is abstinence from any type of sexual contact or contact with open sores and bodily fluids of a person who contracted it. But there are other ways to prevent STIs, too.

    Condoms during intercourse and dental dams or barriers during oral sex are proven effective when used correctly. Refraining from sex with multiple partners and instead opting for a monogamous sexual relationship can also help to prevent STIs.

    Some STIs, such as HPV and hepatitis A and B, have vaccines available. It’s important to talk to a healthcare provider about vaccines available to you.

    It’s also very important to be tested for HIV regularly if there’s a risk for any STI. Early diagnosis of HIV allows for early intervention of effective antivirals.

    The risk of HIV transmission can be lessened by the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is a combination of medications that can reduce the risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV prior to potential exposure with consistent use.

    Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is a medication that can be taken after potential exposure to prevent transmission. It needs to be taken as soon as possible after the potential exposure and no later than 72 hours after.

    Everything You Need to Know About Chlamydia Infection

    Chlamydia is an STI that’s not always accompanied by symptoms. However, if left untreated, chlamydia can lead to serious complications.

    Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria. People who have chlamydia often don’t have outward symptoms in the early stages.

    In fact, it’s estimated that 40 to 96 percentTrusted Source of people with chlamydia have no symptoms. But chlamydia can still cause health problems later.

    Untreated chlamydia can cause serious complications, so it’s important to get regular screenings and talk with your doctor or another healthcare professional if you have any concerns.

    Symptoms of chlamydia may be similar to symptoms of other STIs. 

    How is chlamydia transmitted?

    Sex without a condom or other barrier method and oral sex without a barrier method are the main ways a chlamydia infection can be transmitted.

    Penetration doesn’t have to occur to contract it. Touching genitals together may transmit the bacteria. It can also be contracted during anal sex.

    Newborn babies can acquire chlamydia from their mother during birth. Most prenatal testing includes a chlamydia test, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check with an OB-GYN during the first prenatal checkup.

    chlamydia infection in the eye can occur through oral or genital contact with the eyes, but this isn’t common.

    Chlamydia can also be contracted even in someone who’s had the infection once before and successfully treated it. 

    Chlamydia is often referred to as a “silent infection” because most people with a chlamydia infection don’t experience any symptoms.

    However, it can causeTrusted Source several symptoms in others, including:

    • pain
    • a burning sensation while urinating
    • abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina

    Some symptoms of chlamydia may also differ slightly for men and women.

    Chlamydia symptoms in men

    Many men don’t notice the symptoms of chlamydia. Most men have no symptoms at all.

    Some of the most common symptoms of chlamydia in men include:

    It’s also possible to get a chlamydia infection in the anus. In this case, the main symptoms are often:

    • discharge
    • pain
    • bleeding from this area

    Having oral sex with someone who has the infection raises the risk of getting chlamydia in the throat. Symptoms can include a sore throatcough, or fever. It’s also possible to carry bacteria in the throat and not know it.

    Chlamydia symptoms in women

    Chlamydia is often known as the “silent infection.” That’s because people with chlamydia may not experience symptoms at all.

    If a woman contracts the STI, it may take several weeks before any symptoms appear.

    Some of the most common symptoms of chlamydia in women include:

    In some women, the infection can spread to the fallopian tubes, which may cause a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is a medical emergency.

    The symptoms of PID are:

    • fever
    • severe pelvic pain
    • nausea
    • abnormal vaginal bleeding between periods

    Chlamydia can also infect the rectum. Women may not experience symptoms if they have a chlamydia infection in the rectum. If symptoms of a rectal infection do occur, however, they may include rectal pain, discharge, and bleeding.

    Additionally, women can develop a throat infection if they have oral sex with someone with the infection. Though it’s possible to contract it without knowing it, symptoms of a chlamydia infection in your throat include cough, fever, and sore throat.

    The symptoms of STIs in men and women can be different, so it’s important to talk with a healthcare professional if you experience any of the above symptoms.

    Chlamydia is an STI caused by a specific strain of bacteria known as Chlamydia trachomatis.

    It is transmitted through vaginal discharge or semen, and can be transmitted through genital contact or oral, vaginal, or anal sex without a barrier method, like a condom.

    Chlamydia is more common in women than in men. In fact, it’s estimated that the overall rate of infection is two times higherTrusted Source for women than men in the United States.

    Some of the other risk factors for infection include:

    • not using barrier methods like condoms consistently with new sexual partners
    • having a sexual partner who is having sex with other people
    • having a history of chlamydia or other STIs

    How common is chlamydia?

    In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that there were approximately 4 millionTrusted Source cases of chlamydia in the United States.

    Men and women can both get the infection, but more cases in women are reported.

    Infection rates are highest among younger women, with the highest rates of infection occurring in women between ages 15 and 24.

    The CDCTrusted Source recommends that all sexually active women ages 25 and younger get screened for chlamydia every year, as well as women ages 25 and older with risk factors for chlamydia.

    Statistically, a person is more likely to get an STI if they’ve had sex with more than one person. Other risk factors includeTrusted Source having had an STI in the past, or currently have an infection, because this could lower resistance.

    How can I reduce my risk of getting chlamydia?

    Abstaining from sexual activity is the only guaranteed way to prevent chlamydia.

    However, if you are sexually active, there are several simple steps you can take to decrease your risk of contracting chlamydia, as well as many other STIs.

    Here are a few ways to reduce your risk:

    • Use barrier methods. Using a condom, dental dam, or other barrier method each time you have oral, vaginal, or anal sex can help significantly decrease the risk of infection.
    • Get tested. Getting screened regularly for STIs can help prevent the transmission of chlamydia and ensure that you get treatment if needed. A doctor can help determine how often you should get tested, depending on your risk level.
    • Communicate with your sexual partners. Having multiple sexual partners can increase your risk of chlamydia and other STIs. But you can decrease this risk by openly discussing STI prevention and using barrier methods every time you have sex.
    • Avoid sharing sex toys. If you do decide to share any sex toys, wash them thoroughly between each use and cover with a condom.

    Chlamydia is easy to treat and can be cured. Since it’s bacterial in nature, antibiotics treat it.

    Azithromycin is an antibiotic usually prescribed in a single, large dose. Doxycycline is an antibiotic that must be taken twice per day for about 1 week.

    A healthcare professional may also prescribe other antibiotics. No matter which antibiotic is prescribed, dosage instructions should be followed carefully to make sure the infection clears up fully. This can take up to 2 weeks, even with the single-dose medications.

    During the treatment time, it’s important not to have sex. It’s still possible to transmit and contract chlamydia if exposed again, even if you’ve treated a previous infection.

    STIs can also be transmitted and contracted during oral sex. Contact with the mouth, lips, or tongue may be enough to transmitTrusted Source chlamydia.

    If you contract chlamydia from oral sex, you may experience no symptoms. Like vaginal or anal chlamydia infections, symptoms don’t always appear.

    If symptoms are present with chlamydia in the throat, they can include:

    Other STIs can develop in the throat. Each type of STI in the throat causes unique symptoms and concerns.

    Although chlamydia is curable, it’s still important to stay protected and prevent recurrence.

    Chlamydia is caused by a bacterial infection. The only true cure for this type of infection is antibiotics.

    Some alternative treatments may help easeTrusted Source symptoms. It’s important to remember that untreated chlamydia can lead to long-term complications, including fertility problems and chronic inflammation.

    Home remedies for chlamydia that may be effective (for symptoms, not the infection itself) include:

    • Goldenseal. This medicinal plant may limit symptoms during an infection by reducing inflammation.
    • Echinacea. This plant has been widely used to boostTrusted Source the immune system to help people overcome infections of many types, from the common cold to skin wounds. It may help reduce symptoms of chlamydia.

    Although compounds in these plants might help ease inflammation and infection in general, there aren’t any quality studies that showTrusted Source they’re effective specifically for chlamydia symptoms.

    When seeing a healthcare professional about chlamydia, they’ll likely ask about symptoms. If there are none, they may ask why you have concerns.

    If symptoms are present, the healthcare professional may perform a physical exam. This lets them observe any discharge, sores, or unusual spots that may be related to a possible infection.

    The most effective diagnostic test for chlamydia is to swab the vagina in women and to test urine in men. If there’s a chance the infection is in the anus or throat, these areas may be swabbed as well.

    Results may take several days. The doctor’s office should call to discuss results. If the test returns positive, a follow-up appointment and treatment options will be discussed.

    STI testing can be done in several ways. 

    If you need help finding a primary care doctor, then check out our FindCare tool here.

    If a healthcare professional is seen as soon as chlamydia is suspected, the infection will likely clear up with no lasting problems.

    However, people may experience serious medical issues if they wait too long to treat it.

    Female complications of untreated chlamydia

    Some women develop PID, an infection that can damage the uteruscervix, and ovaries. PID is a painful disease that often requires hospital treatment.

    Infertility is also possible if chlamydia is left untreated because the fallopian tubes may become scarred.

    During pregnancy, the infection can passTrusted Source to babies during birth, which can cause eye infections and pneumonia in newborns.

    Male complications of untreated chlamydia

    Men can also experience complications when chlamydia is left untreated. The epididymis — the tube that holds the testicles in place — may become inflamed, causing pain. This is known as epididymitis.

    The infection can also spread to the prostate gland, causing a fever, painful intercourse, and discomfort in the lower back. Another possible complication is male chlamydial urethritis.

    These are just some of the most common complications of untreated chlamydia, which is why it’s important to get medical attention right away. Most people who get treatment quickly have no long-term medical problems.

    A chlamydia infection is most common in the genital area, but it can occur in less common places like the anus, throat, and the eyes. It can occur in the eyes through direct or indirect contact with the bacteria.

    For example, the infection can go from the genitals to the eye if you touch your eye without washing your hands.

    If you have a chlamydia eye infection, also known as chlamydial conjunctivitis, the following symptoms may occur:

    If left untreated, chlamydia in the eye can leadTrusted Source to blindness. But it’s easily treated, and early treatment will help cure the infection and prevent complications.

    Chlamydia in the eye may be confused with more common eye infections. 

    Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two common STIs. Both are caused by bacteria that can be transmitted during vaginal, oral, or anal sex without a barrier method.

    Both STIs are unlikely to cause symptoms. If symptoms do occur, people with chlamydia experience their first symptoms within a few weeks of contracting the infection. With gonorrhea, it can be much longer before symptoms appear, if at all.

    Both infections share some similar symptoms. These include:

    The two infections can also lead to PID and reproductive issues if left untreated.

    Untreated gonorrhea can lead to itching, soreness, and pain in the rectum, such as during bowel movements. Women with untreated gonorrhea may also experience prolonged, heavy periods and pain during intercourse.

    Antibiotics can effectively treat both chlamydia and gonorrhea. They’re both curable and unlikely to cause long-term issues when treated quickly.

    Several other key differences help distinguish between the two STIs. 

    The surest way for a sexually active person to avoid contracting chlamydia is to use a condom or other barrier method during sexual intercourse.

    It’s recommended to:

    • Use a barrier method with every new sexual partner.
    • Get tested regularly for STIs with new partners.
    • Avoid having oral sex, or use protection during oral sex, until you and a new partner have been screened for STIs.

    Following these steps can help people avoid infections, unintended pregnancy, and other complications. STI prevention is incredibly successful if done correctly.

    When can I have sex again?

    If you were diagnosed with chlamydia, wait to have sex again until you have finishedTrusted Source your treatment.

    For some antibiotics, such as doxycycline, this means may need to wait 1 week to have sex, or until you have completed your prescribed course of treatment.

    If you were prescribed a single dose of medication, like azithromycin, wait 7 days after taking the medication before having sex.

    Can I test myself for chlamydia at home?

    Home testing kits for chlamydia are widely available and can be purchased at many pharmacies or online.

    These kits typically require a urine sample or tissue swab, which you can collect at home and securely ship back to the lab to receive your results.

    Some companies also include a free medical consultation with a doctor if your test results are positive to review your treatment options.

    Does chlamydia have a smell?

    In some cases, chlamydia can causeTrusted Source unusual vaginal discharge, which could have a strong or pungent smell.

    However, this could also be a sign of several other STIs, including bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis. It could also be caused by many other factors, includingTrusted Source sweat, changes in pH, or shifts in hormone levels.

    Consider talking with a healthcare professional to address any concerns regarding abnormal discharge or odor, especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms like pain, bleeding, itching, or burning.

    Can chlamydia turn into something else?

    If left untreated for long periods of time, chlamydia can cause several complications.

    In women, untreated chlamydia can lead to PID, a condition that could causeTrusted Source permanent damage to the reproductive system as well as infertility.

    In men, chlamydia could cause multiple complications if left untreated, includingTrusted Source epididymitis, prostatitis, or male chlamydial urethritis.

    Female Chlamydia Symptoms to Watch For

    Chlamydia can cause symptoms that include foul-smelling vaginal discharge and bleeding between periods. You may have additional symptoms depending on the location of the infection.

    Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can affect both males and females.

    Up to 95 percent of females with chlamydia don’t experience any symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Trusted Source This is problematic because chlamydia can cause damage to your reproductive system if left untreated.

    But chlamydia can occasionally cause symptoms. Here’s a look at the common ones you might notice.

    Just remember, you could still have chlamydia without these symptoms. If there’s a chance you may have been exposed to the bacteria, your safest bet is to get tested as soon as possible.

    Chlamydia can cause unusual vaginal discharge. It might be:

    You’ll typically notice these changes within one to three weeks of developing chlamydia.

    Chlamydia can also affect your rectum. This can result from having unprotected anal sex or a vaginal chlamydia infection spreading to your rectum.

    You might also notice mucus-like discharge coming from your rectum.

    Chlamydia sometimes causes inflammation that leads to bleeding between your periods. This bleeding may range from light to moderately heavy.

    Chlamydia can also lead to bleeding after any type of sexual activity involving penetration.

    Chlamydia can also cause abdominal pain for some people.

    This pain is usually felt in the lower abdomen and originates in your pelvic area. The pain may be cramping, dull, or even sharp.

    In rare cases, you can develop a chlamydia infection in your eye, known as chlamydia conjunctivitis. This happens when you get the genital fluid of someone who has chlamydia in your eye.

    Eye chlamydia can cause the following symptoms in your eye:

    • irritation
    • sensitivity to light
    • redness
    • discharge

    Fevers are usually a sign that your body is fighting some kind of infection. If you have chlamydia, you may experience a mild to moderate fever.

    Chlamydia can cause a burning sensation when you urinate. It’s easy to mistake this for a symptom of a urinary tract infection.

    You might also feel like you have the urge to urinate more often than usual. And when you do go to urinate, only a little bit comes out. Your urine might also smell unusual or look cloudy.

    If you have chalmydia, you might also feel some pain during sex, especially intercourse.

    You may also some bleeding and lingering irritation after any type of sexual activity involving penetration.

    In addition to lower abdominal pain, chlamydia can also cause lower back pain. This pain may feel similar to the lower back pain that’s associated with urinary tract infections.

    If left untreated, a chlamydia infection can travel throughout your reproductive system, including your uterus and fallopian tubes. The resulting inflammation, swelling, and potential scarring can cause lasting damage.

    You can also develop a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) due to a chlamydia infection. Up to 15 percent of untreated cases of chlamydia in females turn into pelvic inflammatory disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionTrusted Source.

    Like chlamydia, PID doesn’t always cause symptoms in its earliest stages. But over time, it can cause long-term effects, including fertility problems and pregnancy complications.

    If you’re pregnant and have chlamydia, you can transmit the infection to the fetus, resulting in a range of potential health problems, including blindness or reduced lung function.

    That’s why it’s important to get screened for STIs, including chlamydia, in your first trimester. Early treatment is important. The earlier the diagnosis, the sooner treatment can start to ensure the infection won’t be transmitted to the baby or complications don’t arise.

    Chlamydia often doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms, but it can have a lasting impact on your health. An STI test is a quick, painless way to determine whether you have chlamydia.

    If you do, you’ll be prescribed antibiotics. Make sure to take the full course as directed, even if your symptoms start to clear up before the end of the course.

    What’s This Rash? Pictures of STDs and STIs

    Signs that your rash may be a sexually transmitted infection (STI) include genital discharge or swelling, blisters, pain when peeing, and other symptoms in the anal area. See a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

    If you’re worried that you or your partner may have contracted a sexually transmitted infection (STI), read on for the information you need to recognize the symptoms.

    Some STIs have no symptoms or only mild ones. If you’re concerned but don’t see symptoms identified here, check with your doctor to discuss your STI risks and appropriate testing.


    Contains Sensitive Content

    Discharge from the vagina

    Small amounts of discharge, especially from the vagina, is often normal.

    But some sexually transmitted conditions can cause discharge from the genitals. Depending on the condition, the color, texture, and volume of the discharge may vary.

    Though many people with chlamydia don’t have symptomsTrusted Source, this condition sometimes produces a mucus- or pus-like vaginal discharge.

    With trichomoniasis, or “trich,” the vaginal discharge looks frothy or foamy and has a strong, unpleasant odor.

    A yellowish or yellow-green vaginal discharge can be a symptom of gonorrhea, although most people who contract it will have no symptoms at all.

    Discharge from the penis

    Some conditions can cause discharge or even bleeding from the penis.

    Gonorrhea produces a white, yellow, or greenish discharge from the penis.

    Chlamydia symptoms may include a pus-like discharge from the penis, or the fluid may be watery or milky-looking.

    Trichomoniasis doesn’t usually show symptoms, but it can cause discharge from the penis in some cases.

    HPV and genital warts

    With the human papillomavirus (HPV), the body often naturally clears the virus. However, the body can’t remove all strains of HPV.

    Some strains of HPV cause genital warts. The warts can vary in size and appearance. They can look:

    • flat
    • raised
    • large
    • small
    • cauliflower-shaped

    All genital warts need medical attention. Your doctor will determine whether the warts are caused by the strains of HPV that may cause anogenital cancer.

    Severe HPV may cause several warts in the genital or anal areas.


    Blisters on or around the genitals, rectum, or mouth may signal an outbreak of herpes simplex virus. These blisters break and produce painful sores, which can take several weeks to heal.

    Herpes blisters are painful. There may be pain while urinating if the herpes blisters are close to the urethra.

    It’s important to remember that herpes can still spread from one person to another, even if there are no visible blisters.

    Granuloma inguinale

    Granuloma inguinale usually starts with a nodule that erodes into an ulcer. The ulcer is usually painful.


    A single, round, firm, painless sore is the first symptom of syphilis, a bacterial STI. The sore can appear wherever the bacteria entered the body, including the:

    • external genitals
    • vagina
    • anus
    • rectum
    • lips
    • mouth

    One sore appears at first, but multiple sores may appear later. The sores are generally painless and often go unnoticed.

    Secondary stage syphilis rash and sores

    Without treatment, syphilis progresses to a secondary stage. Rashes or sores in mucous membranes of the mouth, vagina, or anus occur during this stage.

    The rash may look red or brown, and have a flat or velvety appearance. It usually doesn’t itch.

    The rash can also appear on the palms or soles of the feet, or as a general rash on the body. Large gray or white lesions may appear in moist areas in the groin, under the arms, or in the mouth.

    Epididymitis is usually caused by an STI, like gonorrhea or chlamydia, or a urinary tract infection.

    Epididymitis is the clinical term for pain and swelling in one or both testicles. People with penises who contract chlamydia or gonorrhea may experience this symptom.

    Chlamydia can spread to the rectum. In these cases, symptoms may include:

    • prolonged rectal pain
    • painful bowel movements
    • discharge
    • rectal bleeding

    Gonorrhea rectal symptoms include:

    • pain and itching in the anus
    • bleeding
    • discharge
    • painful bowel movements

    Pain, pressure, or burning during or after urination, or more frequent urination, may be a symptom of chlamydia, trichomoniasis, or gonorrhea in people with a vagina.

    Because gonorrhea in people with a vagina often produces no symptoms or only mild symptoms that can be confused with a bladder infection, it’s important not to ignore painful urination.

    In people with a penis, either trichomoniasis or gonorrhea may cause painful urination. Pain after ejaculation may also occur in those who contract trichomoniasis.

    Many STIs can be treated and cured, especially if diagnosed early.

    If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, see a healthcare provider to get a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.



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