Certain symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), now commonly referred to as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), show up sooner than others while some people experience no symptoms at all. The incubation period of STIs, which is the period of time between when you are exposed to an infection and the first symptoms may appear, can vary depending on the type of infection.
- Chlamydia: 14-21 days
- Gonorrhea: 2-30 days
- Syphilis: 10-90 days
- HIV: 14+ days (for some, symptoms don’t show up for years)
- Scabies: 30-60 days
- Trichomoniasis: 5-28 days
Common STI Symptoms
Some of the most common symptoms of STIs include a change in genital discharge, pain, burning, or itching in the genital area, and pain or burning during urination and/or sexual intercourse.
Many people who have STIs don’t show any symptoms, so you shouldn’t assume that a lack of symptoms means you don’t have any of these common infections. You could experience no symptoms and still spread the STI to other sexual partners. If you engage in risky sexual behaviors, such as sex with multiple partners and without condoms, your risk of contracting an STI is higher. Other lifestyle factors can also increase your risk, such as using injectable drugs and sharing needles or if you’re a man who has sex with other men.
Get Tested Regularly
Even those who practice safe sex can still contract STIs, so it’s ideal to be tested regularly for the most common infections. Testing is the only way to know for sure whether you have contracted an STI. Companies like Nurx offer convenient at-home testing for common STIs such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia, syphilis, trichomoniasis, HPV, HIV and Hepatitis C, without having to go to a doctor’s office.
If you do have an STI, you should begin treatment as soon as possible. Some infections can have long-term health consequences if they aren’t properly treated, such as infertility and certain types of cancer.
Since you could potentially spread an STI through any sexual contact with another person, it’s important to undergo regular testing to protect yourself and others.