STDs are infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual activity. That means vaginal, anal or oral sex, or even just skin-to-skin contact. Having sex without condoms, having many partners or having sex with someone who’s had many partners increases your chance of catching a STD. STD symptoms may include pain in the genital area during urination or sex; discharge from the penis or vagina; scabs or blisters around the genitals; rash, which sometimes appears on the palms and soles; flu-like symptoms; and/or joint pain. But some STDs have no symptoms, and you could infect others without ever knowing you have a STD.
Some STDs, like chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea, are bacterial infections. These STDs are treatable and curable. Other STDs, like herpes, HPV, HIV and Hepatitis B are viral infections. These can’t be cured, but they can be managed. Learning to recognize STD symptoms, undergoing regular STD testing and seeking treatment can help you manage a STD and get on with your life.