7 Common STDs You Should Be Aware Of

Some Common STDs You Should Be Aware Of

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a growing concern from the adolescent years. These can be spread through any kind of sexual contact – oral, anal, or vaginal. In the United States, at least one in four teenagers lives with an STD.1 Sometimes, they don’t even know about it until the signs and symptoms become severe.

Here’s a list of the most common sexually transmitted diseases and their signs and symptoms. Knowing the different kinds and their effects on the body may help you reach out to your parents or doctor at an early stage of the disease.


Sexually transmitted infections or diseases can be caused by viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and ectoparasites.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Caused By Viruses

1. Genital Warts (HPV)

Genital Warts Is Caused Is A Viral STD


Genital warts are soft growths that appear on the genitals. This STD is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). This is the most common viral sexually transmitted infection.

Signs And Symptoms

  • Genital warts are usually painless but they may occasionally itch and cause inflammation.
  • In females, genital warts appear on the vulva, vagina, cervix, and groin.
  • In males, genital warts appear on the penis, scrotum, thigh, and groin.
  • It can also appear around the mouth and throat after having oral sex with an infected person. This is common to both men and women.
  • It can also appear in or around the anus after anal sex with an infected person. This can occur in both men and women.


  • It is always important to visit the dermatologist if you feel you have similar symptoms. Sometimes, warts clear on their own while other times the dermatologist will remove them.
  • There are medications that may be prescribed by the dermatologist to apply on warts.
  • Some procedures that help remove warts include cryosurgery (freezing warts with liquid nitrogen), excision (cutting out warts), and laser treatment.

2. Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)

Herplex Simplex Virus Causes Oral And Genital Herpes


The herpes simplex virus can cause two types of STDs – oral herpes and genital herpes. It can be caused due to two types of viruses herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). HSV-1 causes oral herpes while HSV-2 causes genital herpes.

Signs And Symptoms Of Oral Herpes

  • Painful blisters or open sores around the mouth
  • Sores on the lips (cold sores)
  • Tingling, itching, or burning sensation around the mouth (before the appearance of sores)

Signs And Symptoms of Genital Herpes

  • These don’t have symptoms or have mild symptoms that are ignored.
  • One or more genital or anal blisters or open sores
  • Fever, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes
  • Shooting pain in the leg, hips, or buttocks


  • The treatments for both herpes infections are the same. Antivirals, such as acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir are the most effective medications available for people infected with HSV. These can only reduce the severity of the disease and not cure them.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Caused By Bacteria

1. Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea Is Caused By Bacteria

Gonorrhea is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. This bacterium infects the warm, moist parts of the body like the urethra, eyes, throat, vagina, and anus.


Signs And Symptoms In Men

  • Burning sensation during urination
  • A white, yellow, or greenish discharge from the penis
  • Less common symptoms include painful or swollen testicles

Signs And Symptoms In Women

  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods


  • Gonorrhea can be treated with the help of antibiotics.

2. Syphilis

Syphilis Is An STD Caused By Bacteria

Syphilis is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidium. This disease can be caught more than once, even if you have been treated earlier.

Signs And Symptoms

  • Small, painless sores or ulcers that appear on the penis, vagina, or around the anus
  • Red rashes that appear on the palm of the hand or the soles of the feet
  • Small skin growth that forms on the vulva (in women) or around the anus in both men and women
  • White patches in the mouth
  • Tiredness, headaches, joint pain, fever


  • Syphilis can be treated with antibiotics. This can be a course of tablets or an injection.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Caused By Protozoa

1. Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis Is Caused By A Protozoa

This disease is caused by a parasite and is most commonly seen in women than men.

Signs And Symptoms

  • Itching and irritation in the genital area
  • Vaginal discharge that can be clear, white, yellow, or green in color
  • Pain during sex and urination
  • Lower abdominal pain (rare symptom)


  • Trichomoniasis can be treated with antibiotics, taken orally.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Caused By Ectoparasites

1. Scabies

Scabies Is An STD Caused By Scabies Mites

Scabies is a skin condition caused by the scabies mite called Sarcoptes scabei. Apart from sexual contact, sharing clothes, towels, and bedding can spread scabies.

Signs And Symptoms

  • Pimple-like irritations
  • Itching and rash mostly affecting wrists, elbows, armpit, penis, nipple, waist, etc
  • Sores caused by scratching


  • Products used to kill scabies, commonly known as scabicides kill the scabies mite and eggs. The scabicide lotion and cream can be applied to the parts of the body that are infected.
  • Skin sores that become infected should be treated with antibiotics prescribed by the doctor.

2. Pubic Lice

Pubic Lice Are Insects That Infect Pubic Hair

Pubic lice are commonly spread during sexual activity. These are tiny insects that infect the pubic hair and lay eggs in the area. They can also be found in armpit hair and eyebrows.

Signs And Symptoms

  • Itching in the affected areas, which may worsen at night
  • Inflammation and irritation caused by scratching
  • Black powder in the underwear
  • Blue spots or spots of blood on skin


  • Pubic lice can be treated using insecticide cream, lotion, or shampoo prescribed by the doctor.
  • Some treatments require you to apply it only on the affected areas, while others require you to treat the entire body. These treatments should be repeated after three to seven days.

If you find any unusual symptoms in your genital areas or otherwise, it is important to visit the doctor as soon as possible. Wondering if you have an STD will only give more time for the disease to progress. You may also want to talk to a trusted family member about your health condition. They may be able to support you when you need someone the most.