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Are there any STDs with no symptoms?

There are a number of STDs that never present with symptoms, meaning that you could unknowingly have an STD, and be unwillingly passing it on to partners.

In this article we take you through a few STDs with no symptoms, and how you can prevent contracting STDs without symptoms. 

What STDs show no symptoms?

Some STDs are more obvious than others, as they will often present with uncomfortable, irritating, and abnormal symptoms.

However, some STDs commonly don’t present with any symptoms, therefore going undetected. This can lead to complications further down the line, and you risk unknowingly passing on the disease.

5 STDs that commonly show no symptoms:

The STDs below commonly do not show any symptoms, however symptoms can present for some people, on occasion. In some cases, not knowing that you have an STD can lead to symptoms developing later due to lack of treatment. 

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is one of the most common STDs in the UK, yet can often go undetected as it doesn’t always present with symptoms. 

For those that do develop symptoms, they will usually appear 1-3 weeks after infection, but some don’t develop symptoms until months later. 

Whilst 70% of women and 50% of men don’t experience symptoms of Chlamydia, the most common symptoms of Chlamydia include:

  • Pain when urinating
  • Abnormal discharge (abnormal for you)
  • Pain in the stomach , pelvis, or testicles
  • Pain during sex
  • Bleeding after sex
  • Abnormal bleeding between periods
  • Burning or itching in the urethraGonorrhoea

Genital Herpes

Most people with Genital Herpes have very mild symptoms or none at all. Some will also mistake symptoms of Genital Herpes for another condition.

Because of this, most people with the disease don’t know that they have it, and risk passing it on to their partner(s).

For the those that do present with symptoms, these may include:

  • Small blisters that rupture, leaving open red sores around the genitals and surrounding areas.
  • Itching, burning, or tingling sensations around the genitals. 
  • Pain when urinating.
  • Abnormal discharge (abnormal for you)

Gonorrhoea

Like Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea is a very common STD in the UK, and usually does not present with any symptoms in women.

The NHS estimates that 1 in 10 men, and 5 in 10 women with Gonorrhoea will not show symptoms. 

For those that do develop symptoms of Gonorrhoea, they will usually present within 2 weeks of infection, but in some cases can take months to appear. These symptoms can include:

  • Abnormal discharge (abnormal for you)
  • Pain when urinating
  • Inflammation of the foreskin
  • Pain in the abdominal area
  • Pain in the testicles
  • Change to periods

Trichomoniasis

According to the CDC, 70% of Trichomoniasis cases do not present with any symptoms. Some people will develop symptoms within 28 days, whilst others will develop symptoms months, or even years, down the line, never knowing that they had the disease. 

Should symptoms develop, they may include:

  • Abnormal discharge (abnormal for you) or producing more discharge than usual.
  • Soreness, swelling, or itching around the genitals.
  • An unpleasant, fishy smell.
  • Pain when urinating , having sex, or ejaculating.
  • Needing to urinate more frequently.

HPV

There are over 100 different types of the HPV virus, and most people will get at least one of the strains throughout their lives, never knowing.

Some of these will not present with any symptoms, whilst others can cause Genital Warts, and some can lead to various types of cancer. 

9 out of 10 cases of HPV go away on their own over a period of about 2 years, never developing symptoms, however the HPV virus can persist in some cases, and symptoms can develop.

Where symptoms of HPV do develop, these can include:

  • Genital warts
  • Common warts
  • Plantar warts
  • Flat warts

Learn more about HPV and it’s symptoms in our recent blog

Preventing STDs that don’t show symptoms

Preventing an STD will always be easier than curing one, especially if you don’t know that you have one. 

Regular STD testing

Since many STDs can be asymptomatic, it can be difficult to diagnose. Mild symptoms can even be mistaken for other conditions.

The only way to know if you have an STD for definite is to regularly take STD tests. 

Use protection

Always use protection with new sexual partners, regardless of whether you, or they, are on birth control. It is not a 100% foolproof method of preventing STDs, however it is better than not using protection. This includes male condoms, female condoms, and dental dams. 

Vaccination

Vaccines are available to help prevent STDs such as Hepatitis B and HPV, for those aged 11 or 12 through to around age 26.

Many schools in the UK offer the HPV vaccine for children aged 12-13, with a follow up dose 6-24 months later. 

As standard, all babies should be vaccinated against Hepatitis B as part of their vaccination schedule. 

Abstinence & Monogamy

The only way to completely avoid catching an STD that shows no symptoms is to abstain from any kind of sexual activity.

Similarly, long-term, monogamous relationships with an uninfected partner should prevent STDs, however this relies on honest conversations with your partner. 

Treatment for STDs with no symptoms

If regular STD testing catches an STD that you did not know you had, treatment options will be presented to you when you receive your results.

This could be a course of antibiotics or antiviral drugs, as well as abstinence for a period of time, until you are no longer contagious. Further to this, topical creams and ointments may be recommended to help relieve symptoms. 

Private STD testing at Your Sexual Health

To ensure that you don’t unknowingly pass on an STD with no symptoms, it’s important to regularly test for STDs.

Your Sexual Health offers private STD testing at clinics across the UK, as well as via STD home testing kits. We also offer STD profile tests that check for a number of common STDs using the same sample. 

Book your STD test with us today, or get in touch with our friendly team for advice.