Sexually transmitted diseases are commonly called STDs. They are infectious conditions that can be spread between people in a variety of ways. Sexual intercourse, oral and anal sex and contact between openly infected areas are the most frequently seen ways that STDs are transmitted from one person to another. Many STDs display few, if any, early symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose them in a prompt manner.
Chlamydia trachomatis is the name of the bacteria that causes chlamydia, an STD that results in an infection with the potential to lead to sterility in men and in women. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that chlamydia is the most frequently diagnosed STD, with some 2.8 million people in the U.S. each year infected with the condition. Nicknamed the silent disease, chlamydia often will produce no symptoms. Women especially experience a lack of symptoms, but one may be an abnormal discharge or a burning sensation when she urinates. Males may have a discharge from the penis, which may also become itchy and have a burning feeling. When symptoms do appear, they manifest themselves no earlier than a week after the individual has been exposed to the infection.
Gonorrhea is another bacterial STD that, in many cases, will come with no recognizable symptoms. Gonorrhea can leave a person infertile and has also been known to spread to other organs such as the brain and eyes. Females with gonorrhea may find that it hurts to urinate, with a burning feeling present when they do so. A greenish-yellow discharge is also a sign of gonorrhea in women. Males will have a discharge coming from the penis that is more yellowish and have a burning sensation as they urinate. Symptoms won't show up for at least 2 days after infection and in some instances it takes a week for them to appear.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is an STD that is a viral disease that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome--AIDS. These STDs come with many symptoms. Early signs of HIV, which can occur 2 to 6 weeks after the initial infection, include headaches, fever, tiredness, a rash, an swelling in the lymph glands. However these signs can easily be mistaken for the flu, and HIV may then lie dormant for as long as 10 years before causing more severe symptoms and leading to AIDS. Fatigue, night sweats, swollen glands, frequent minor infections and a persistent cough are some of the early symptoms that come with AIDS.
Syphilis is the result of a bacterial infection and, if left untreated, it can be fatal, attacking the genital area, mucous membranes and organs such as the heart and brain. It is the result of an infection from corkscrew shaped bacteria called spirochetes. The early stage of syphilis brings painless sores that are firm, red and, in some cases, wet. They break out on the penis in males and the vagina in women and can occur on the mouth and rectum in both sexes. Swollen lymph glands also can be a sign of syphilis early on. These symptoms can take as long as 3 months before finally showing up, but the average length of time is 3 weeks. While these early problems can clear up on their own, this STD still remains in the system and will reappear if not treated.
Genital herpes is viral in nature, precipitated by the herpes simplex virus. It is an STD that results in sores in the region of the genitals and anus. An infection from this virus can go without causing any symptoms, but when an outbreak of the disease does happen, there will be pain and itchiness with sores following as quickly as hours afterward. These red bumps will rapidly develop into red blisters filled with watery fluid that make it hurt just to urinate for both men and women. The sores can break open and bleed or discharge fluid and take 2 to 4 weeks to heal over. These early symptoms can take 3 weeks to show themselves but most of the time this STD will be evident in a few days after the initial infection. Genital herpes remains in the body after symptoms have gone away and can break out at any time when the virus reactivates itself.