Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) | Symptoms & Causes

What are the symptoms of STDs?

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can include a range of symptoms, or no symptoms at all, which is why they frequently go unnoticed . Signs and symptoms that might mean you or your child has an STD include:

  • abnormal or odd-smelling genital discharge
  • burning sensation during urination
  • open sores or bumps on the genitals or in the oral or rectal area
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding
  • pain during sex
  • sore, swollen groin
  • fever

What causes STDs?

Generally, STDs are transmitted by sexual contact, passed from person to person in blood, semen, or vaginal and other bodily fluids. However, sometimes sometimes these infections can be transmitted non-sexually — either through blood transfusions or shared needles, or during pregnancy from mother to child. 

STDs do not always cause symptoms and are often contracted from people who seem healthy, and who may not even be aware they have an infection. STDs don't always cause symptoms, which is one of the reasons experts prefer the term "sexually transmitted infections" to "sexually transmitted diseases."