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    Aug 11, 2023
    How To Know If I Have an STI

    Written by: Lauren Haines, APRN

    Most Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are asymptomatic, meaning that a person can be infected with the STI and not show any noticeable symptoms. This is one of the reasons why STIs can spread easily, as people may not realize they are infected and can unknowingly spread the infection to others. The best way to know if you have an STI is to get screened for STIs. STI screening may involve a urine sample, blood sample, and/or genital swab.

    Take Our STI Test Quiz_**

    Despite most infections being asymptomatic, there are certain symptoms you can watch out for. Keep in mind that while these symptoms can be due to an STI, they can also be due to other medical problems. These symptoms may include:

    · Unusual discharge from the genitals (vagina, penis, anus) · Pain or burning sensation during urination · Itching or irritation around the genital area · Sores, bumps, or rashes on or around the genitals, anus or mouth · Pain during sexual intercourse · Flu-like symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and body aches

    Before we breakdown possible symptoms of each STI, remember that STIs are not anything to be ashamed about. At least half of adults will get some type of STI in their lifetime. Most STIs can be cured and all STIs can be treated.


            Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs. Chlamydia is often asymptomatic, meaning that people may not experience any noticeable symptoms. If you do have symptoms, you may notice a white, cloudy or yellowish discharge from the penis or vagina. You may feel pain or discomfort during urination or during sexual intercourse. You may feel pain or notice swelling in the testicles. 


            Gonorrhea is another common STI. If you have gonorrhea you may have symptoms, but you also may be asymptomatic. Symptoms can include white, yellow or greenish discharge from the penis or vagina. You may experience painful urination, painful or swollen testicles, as well as lower abdominal pain. Some people may also experience irregular bleeding or spotting between periods.

    Product We Recommend: 5-Panel STD Test


            Trichomoniasis or “trich” is a parasitic STI. Many people do not have any symptoms however those assigned female at birth are more likely to experience symptoms. Symptoms can include frothy, yellow, green or grayish vaginal discharge, or thin, clear or white penile discharge. You may experience vaginal or penile itching or irritation, lower abdominal pain, painful urination or painful intercourse. 


    Syphilis is a bacterial STI. It may be asymptomatic in the early stages. Symptoms of syphilis may include a painless sore or ulcer (also known as a chancre). The chancre often appears at the site of the infection such as the genitals, anus or mouth. As syphilis progresses, it may cause a skin rash, often affecting the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Other symptoms may include fever, fatigue, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, muscle aches, joint pain and weight loss.


            Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that weakens the immune system, making you more susceptible to infections and certain cancers. HIV is primarily transmitted through unprotected sexual contact or from sharing needles or syringes. Symptoms of HIV can include flu-like symptoms including chills, fever, night-sweats, headache, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, and fatigue. HIV may also cause a skin rash, sore throat or mouth sores.


            Herpes is a very common virus that is thought to affect anywhere from 50% to 80% of the US population. Oral herpes (cold sores or fever blisters) is the most common form of herpes. Genital herpes is also common and is often spread through sexual contact. Symptoms of genital herpes include painful sores or ulcers on or around the genitals. You may experience itching, burning, or tingling right before the sores appear or while they are present. Your first outbreak of genital herpes may also cause flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes. 

    Product We Recommend: 9-Panel STD Test

    If you have any of these symptoms or suspect you may have an STI, it is crucial to seek advice from a qualified healthcare provider. TBD Health offers consultations with medical providers to help determine what types of STI testing you may need. You can also consider taking our quiz to help determine which tests might be right for you. Remember, many STIs do not show symptoms. Even if you are feeling well, it is important to get screened for STIs regularly.

    You can also take our TBD quiz to determine which STI kit is best for your unique sexual health needs or set up a virtual consultation with one of our amazing, sex-positive clinicions!

    Reviewed by Adrienne Ton, FNP-BC on Aug 9, 2023

    This article provides information about sexual health, healthcare and/or related subjects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be construed as a substitute for, medical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or person with a medical concern should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of TBD Health Inc.

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