There are more than 20 types of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and each one has a different starting duration of symptoms after the initial infection.
Therefore, when symptoms start largely depends on which STD you have. They may take a few days to weeks to months to even years to appear.
Many times, you may not develop the symptoms even if you have STD. The absence of symptoms may not necessarily mean that you cannot pass on the infection to others (asymptomatic shedding).
|Name of STD||Duration of appearance of symptoms||Symptoms|
|Chlamydia||One to three weeks and can even start later||
|Genital herpes||Four to seven days and, sometimes, months or years later||
|Genital warts||Three weeks to several months or years later||
|Syphilis||Usually, two to three weeks||
|Human immunodeficiency syndrome||Two to six weeks||
How to diagnose STDs
Your doctor will take your complete medical history, ask about your symptoms, and look for the signs while performing a physical examination.
- They will ask about your sexual history, including the last time you had sex, and if you are having multiple sexual partners.
- Additionally, they may take a history of any intravenous injections or drug abuse.
Your doctor may ask you to undergo tests such as for human papillomavirus (HPV). This test involves removing a sample of discharge or cells from the mouth, genitals, or anus and sending it for examination for analysis under a microscope.
Other tests include blood tests such as human immunodeficiency syndrome testing.
How to prevent STDs
Some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have no cure. Hence, the best way is to take precautions that steer clear of them.
Here are the important precautions to take to prevent STDs:
- Use condoms during sex and ensure they stay in place.
- Do not have multiple sexual partners and indulge in sexual activities with only one person.
- Stay away from casual sex as much as you can.
- Try to gain knowledge about how STDs spread from various reliable educational resources on sexual health.
- If you have an STD, you may have no symptoms at all initially or have mild symptoms. Do not hesitate to get tested if you feel you are at risk of STDs.
- Get vaccinated to reduce your risk of STDs.
- Share the status of your sexual health with your partner and encourage them to do the same.
- Seek early treatment if tests come out to be positive for any STD and encourage your partner as well to get tested and treated early.
Medically Reviewed on 12/29/2021
Sexually Transmitted Diseases. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/452762
Sexually Transmitted Diseases & Infections (STDs & STIs). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9138-sexually-transmitted-diseases–infections-stds–stis
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). https://www.cdc.gov/std/default.htm