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Frequently Asked Questions on STDs

STDs are the most common notifiable diseases in the world and continue to be a major global health concern. If not treated, sexually transmitted diseases can lead to notably cancer deaths, infertility, and birth complications including stillbirth.

Frequently asked questions:

  1. What are STDs?

STDs stand for Sexually Transmitted Diseases, which is a disease that is spread through sexual contact.

  1. What are the causes and types of STDs?

The causes of STDs are bacteria, yeast, viruses, and parasites. Certain types of STDs are Gonorrhoea, Genital Herpes, HIV/AIDS, Chlamydia, Syphilis, HPV, Trichomoniasis, etc.

  1. What is the difference between STI and STD?

A Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) is an infection whereas a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) is an infection that advanced into a disease.

  1. How are STIs spread?

Many STIs spread through contact with infected body fluids like blood, vaginal fluids or semen. It can also spread through contact with infected skin or mucous membranes. Sharing needles/ syringes for drug use, tattooing, etc. can also expose to infected fluids. Most STIs advance only through direct sexual contact with an infected individual. However, pubic lice or scabies can transmit through close personal contact or with infested clothes, towels or sheets of the infected person.

  1. What are the symptoms of STD?

Many affected individuals may not experience any symptoms. However, consult your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  1. Uncommon/unusual discharge/fluid from the vagina or penis, which may be white/yellow in colour

  2. Burning sensation while urinating

  3. Pelvic pain

  4. Unexplained rash

  5. Bumps, sores, blisters, or warts on the genital area

  6. How do I know if I have an STD?

By several tests done for STD such as:

  1. Blood tests- Blood tests can confirm the diagnosis of HIV or later stages of syphilis.

  2. Urine test-Some STIs can be confirmed with a urine sample

  3. Fluid Test- If there are active genital sores, testing fluid and samples from the sores may be done

  4. HPV test- for women over 30 years of age

  5. Pap test- for HPV (cervical cancer)

  6. Should one get tested for STD, even if there are no symptoms?

Many STDs do not show symptoms. If one is sexually active, the only way to be sure is to get tested.

  1. Is there a cure for STDs?

Yes, some STDs have a cure, while others do not.

  1. Vaccinations prevent hepatitis A, B and strains of HPV

  2. Bacterial STDs are curable, especially when treated at an early stage

  3. All Viral STDs are currently not curable and are treated symptomatically

  4. When pregnant, will an STD affect the baby?

If pregnant, some STDs can seriously affect the foetus or the baby during childbirth.

  1. After unprotected sex, when should one get tested for STD?

It can take days or weeks after exposure for the virus or bacteria to reach a level in the body that would be noticeable by testing. In case initially, one gets tested too soon, they should consider retesting to confirm the disease condition.

  1. How can one prevent getting STDs?

  2. Know your status and your partner’s status by getting tested before being sexually active

  3. Use condoms while having sex

  4. Avoid sex with multiple partners

  5. Avoid sharing needles

  6. Can an individual get an STD more than once?

Yes, one can get bacterial infections like chlamydia, syphilis, or gonorrhoea more than once even if treated before. It is thus necessary for both partners to test and treat.

  1. What should one do if they are infected with STI?

  2. Inform the partner who may have been exposed

  3. Both partners need to be treated

  4. Complete the therapy, even if one feels better

  5. Avoid unprotected sexual contact

  6. When to visit your doctor?

Consult your doctor if you have any of the following:

  1. Aches, fever, and chills

  2. Sore throat for long

  3. Painful or difficult urination or bowel moments

  4. Painful blisters in genital or rectal area

  5. Rash over trunk, hands or feet

  6. Abnormal discharge/ odour from genital area

  7. Weight loss

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