Physical Health

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs or STIs)


Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are typically spread through sexual contact. Blood, semen, vaginal and other bodily fluids may carry bacteria, viruses, or parasites that cause sexually transmitted diseases.


There are times when these infections are transmitted nonsexually, such as when mothers pass on these infections to their children during pregnancy or childbirth or when blood is exchanged between blood donors or when needles are shared between people.


In some cases, STIs do not cause symptoms. Sexually transmitted infections can even be contracted from healthy people who don’t even know they have them.

Signs and symptoms

It is possible for STDs or STIs to be symptomless even if they are present. Until complications arise or a partner is diagnosed, they may go unnoticed.


An STI might show these signs and symptoms:

  • A sore or bump on the genitals, or in the mouth or rectal area
  • A burning or painful sensation when urinating
  • Penis discharge
  • Intense vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor
  • Bloody vaginal discharge
  • Sexual pain
  • Lymph nodes that are sore and swollen, usually in the groin, but sometimes more widely distributed
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Fever
  • Hands, feet, or trunk rash


The first signs and symptoms can appear a few days after transmission. In some cases, it may take years before you develop any noticeable symptoms, depending on the organism responsible for the infection.


Seek medical attention if you suffer from:

  • Having been exposed to an STI as a result of sexual activity
  • Your symptoms indicate that you have an STI


Consult a doctor:

  • Whenever you decide to become sexually active or when you reach 21
  • Before you start having sex with a new partner


To discuss diagnosis and treatment options, please book an appointment with our specialist.


To learn more about STDs, please click on


Dr Ibrahim Yahli MD MRCPsych

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